Wednesday, December 15, 2010

bennie and the jets- the tribute

dear ben,

i've been writing this letter in my head for quite some time.

i still don't know how it goes.

how do i venture to acquaint the world with you, ben?
why do i feel the need to?
what makes my story of love for my cat any different than the countless others written before i even existed?

you were mine, ben... that's the difference.

my heart is aching from the weight of itself since you have been gone. moreso than i could have ever prepared myself for. you were the kitty on my desk resting his head on my arms as i worked. we had our own playlist. you cuddled me and anything that belonged to me. you slept by my head each night. there is just no way to prepare oneself for the loss of that love.

i'll write my own poetry of your life and i'll post it here for whomever
to read...
to forget...
to cry...
to laugh...
to smile...
to surf to the next page...

i'll post it here because you treated everything in life with a grace that anyone who knew you, even if just for a short time, felt. and in that that ephemeral moment of zen that you forced even the non-believer to feel- a little piece of them was changed because they met ben.

i don't have to follow protocol and properly tell the story of how we came together and chronologically explain each and every pain you endured. the world doesnt need the details of how i was willing you to live for as long as you could, one forkful of food at a time.

that's not the point of your life. your life isn't what you came to be, but what you were during your journey. and even to the end, you were pure courage. when you looked away the last time, i knew you were courageously accepting the unknown of your next journey. i was the one falling apart, the one still falling apart as i write this.

on the last day of your life, i found this rock and i bought it to honor you. i needed you on my desk. i put it by your side and told you all the reasons you were courage...

and you cuddled it...

you changed the world, ben. and that is what makes your story different.

if only i could be as brave as you, ben, and forgive those from my past to trust those standing before me. then maybe i could be half the cat you were.

now you are part of the earth. i wake to see you each day out there among the beauty, placed gently among the trees.

im sorry this letter lacks eloquence, i know you'll forgive me. i wanted to write something beautiful for you. my family tells me i always have the words, but not this time, ben. you got me. you were the one that shut me up.

one day, ben, one day ill be able to listen to your song without tears building up...
...we shall survive, let us take ourselves along...



  1. Gentle Ben,

    As I laid in bed this morning, with my second cat laying on my chest, I thought about you as I rubbed his chin. I thought about how he doesn't know you but he's here because of you and I'm rubbing his chin the way you liked it. I wasn't expecting to hear from Shelly, let alone to hear about your passing. That's called irony.

    Before I met you, I had a magnet of a cat in a blender on my fridge. Before I met you, I never held a cat. Before I met you... I didn't like cats. When I met you, I still didn't like cats, but I liked you... and then Tubbs... and Frex is cool too. Wait a second, I liked cats!? Thank you, Ben.

    I loved every time you sneezed on my face or slept on my head or sneezed on my face while sleeping on my head. I loved your furnace singed whiskers. I wore your fur on my clothes like a badge of honor... Benny was my friend. I learned so much from you, ben. about compassion. about friendship. about brotherhood. about being a cat. Thank you, Ben.

    I haven't seen you in two years and now I guess I never will, but I still think of you often. You made me a better person and I wont ever forget you.

    We made a donation in your honor for our cat brothers still in the struggle and we'll pour a lil catnip for you, homie.

    Your cat brothers,
    Dave & chococat

  2. Michelle,

    I just posted this to Christie's facebook page, but wanted to make sure you saw it also.
    You are wrong on only one point, tho...your letter not only does NOT lack eloquence, it is the most eloquent memorial I have ever seen...Thank you for it. It really brought me back to my Muttley. He's my facebook ID icon. He was a stray when I found him, but he immediately bonded with me and lived for 17 years, which made him about 19 when he passed, but it still wasn't long enough, as you well know. Again, I just wanted to send you my condolences and thank you for this...I wish you well.
    Btw, I don't know if you remember Benny, the semi blind kitty that Christie was fostering, but we adopted him (we kept the name but just changed the spelling of his name to means "little one" in Japanese, where my wife lived when she was a child)
    This is what I posted to Christie:
    I can't even see straight thru the tears right now, and I am NOT exaggerating...this was so beautiful. Made me think back to my Muttley...the same soulmate. It doesn't get any better, I know, but the memories are precious.
    I also know that this will not help to ease the pain, but it's my own personal philosophy on the subject: "Why animals have shorter lifespans: We, as humans, know what happens when someone dies. It's over for them and they are out of any discomfort they may have been in. The animals, tho, since they can't understand the concept of death, even tho they do grieve, might be thinking that they have been abandoned by their caretaker who has passed on, and wonders why. This way, they hopefully are never left alone, theoretically, since we will most likely outlive them."

  3. oh ben. it's so true. you changed lives. human. feline. canine. you are the ultimate Buddha cat. i think of you every time i rescue a kitty and find them a new forever home. i send them out with love and tell them to love their new humans as much as ben would.

    michelle - i love you. ben changed you for the better and he loved you tremendously. go forth with courage, because he will always be with you.

    john and i cried together this morning while we remembered sweet ben.

  4. Thanks for the cry...
    well written.

  5. Aw, Michelle! I'm wiping away tears as I write this... That was so beautiful. I have two 10-year old cats(one 18-pounder and one 16-pounder)and they're such a big part of my life. My heart goes out to you.

  6. That was a most beautiful tribute......I am so sorry for your loss...

  7. I am dripping all over my computer. I can;t write anymore, my little Dodge just came over for some pets and stritches.