2022 was looking like it was going to be my best year in a while.
Then Larry died November 26, the last of our four cats. He was 18. The end came without warning and we were not expecting it. Even if I told you how close Larry and I had become, you wouldn’t get it. You just wouldn’t. You’re probably not a cat person. Maybe you’re the kind of cool cat who makes fun of cat ladies in a mean way, who knows.
The thing about Larry, our cat of 18 years who I adopted first in Montreal, is that his voice is on the demo voice recording for each song that came out as the Your First Blockade record. He sang with me. He was SO happy when I sang. The last of my three boys. I spent more time with him, and experienced more joy, than with any of the so-called friends I’ve endured over the years. Like, it wasn’t even close. Larry, I think, was the only friend I’ve had who actually accepted me for who I was. He was the only friend I had who actually made me feel like he enjoyed spending time with me. Grief gets to a point where words don’t help at all, and so I’ve found myself, at long last, with nothing to say, and very little desire to try.
I want to write about Larry in depth and at length, but no words seem like they would do justice to the relationship we shared. And no words will ever describe how empty it is to have raised four cat children to the respective ages of: 21, 20, 18 and 16, and then wake up the day after and for all of that to be gone forever.
The inevitability of death is no consolation. Knowing the mortal coil is there to be shuffled off offers no relief. Feeling a greater sense of loss over Larry than I ever did over my mom and dad and grandma’s death combined just makes my continued existence even more comically confusing. I identify with the felines more than the humans. From Ecuador to Calgary, From Montreal to Kelowna, the natural property of people seems to be to gossip, judge and backstab those closest to them. It’s like our species’ true talent and existential purpose.
There’s an old metaphor or saying or something that I came across recently and it says that the empty tin can makes the most noise. I knew when I heard it that the cosmos was telling me to shut my pie hole until I had something important or wise to share. Still not there. I am increasingly of the opinion that I may never get there.
But Larry was, and always will be, my best friend. And I feel like I owed it to him to write this.
I’ll be back, I hope, once my emptiness has stopped making such a clanging sound all over the place.
Ok, but in the spirit of laughter is the best medicine, I offer you a list of the twenty dream records I found scribbled in a notebook from earlier days when I was still entertaining mirth. I recommend these albums for your own spiritual healing.
1) Randolph Buttolph – I Remember Salad
2) Upra Ona and the Lettermen Underground – Weather or Not
3) Percival – 24-Carat Solid Percival
4) Oläf Pünterdahl – The Mayhem of My Harmonica
5) Faruk and Felicia – Salt of My Eye
6) Steady Greg – Stuck on Steady
7) The Kathy Experience – Neverending Kathy
8) Wrangler Jeans – Peel Those Denim Belles
9) L’il Jurgen and the Jasons – Be My Droop
10) Phil – Only My Greatest Greatest
11) The 89th Royal Regimental Commissionaires Parkade Band – Stand By, You Punks
12) Bruce Galore – No Such Thing as Too Much Bruce
13) Hardhat Neville – Harder Than You Remember
14) Everyone Ever Named Daniel – Names Are No One’s Fault
15) The Joan Collins Quintet – Yes, I’m Joan
16) David Eby – Live Sellout!
17) The National Cultural Studies Virtue Choir – Hymns of the Intersection
18) The Nolan Family – There Is Power in That Old Tyrone
19) Supervisor Graham – Sings the Songs That Made Him Supervisor
20) Soul Train Wagon Wheel Round-up – Disco Hits of the Oregon Trail
I'm sorry to hear of your loss. Know you're not alone in your feelings of unfitness of the human world. I took a class from you in Kelowna and you inspired me a lot. Even if you're lost, know that you impacted others in a very meaningwell way. They stay with us and you gave him a wonderful life.
I know of your sadness! Our cat Phil was 22 or 23 when he passed on. Our son Austin, who was 9 at the time, picked him out at the shelter. He accompanied us on our move to the US and put up with two annoying Basenjis. Rest in Peace, Larry!