Lucas died a couple of weeks ago, in the midst of the preparations for The Acorn Contains the Tree, and “One more than four”.
Lucas was my husband’s cat, a grey American Tabby. I say “my husband’s cat” because the little sh*# never accepted me into their relationship. After eight years, we managed a fragile truce, because he realized he was dependent on me to feed him if David wasn’t home.
In the beginning, Lucas went out of his way to let me know he didn’t want me around. He’d hiss when I entered the room. On one memorable occasion, as I walked past him on my way to work, he lunged, claws drawn like tiny daggers, and drew blood from my shins, underneath the stockings he just shredded. I was late to work, after cleaning my wounds and changing stockings. I fumed about it to my coworkers, threatening to open the balcony door when I returned home, then turn on the vacuum cleaner (Lucas was afraid of it) and telling David that I didn’t know why the little beast had jumped to his death.
Of course, I never harmed Lucas. It’s a hallmark characteristic of most nurses that even when we face abusive behavior from patients, from physicians, staff in other departments, or from each other, we usually go out of our way to do what’s right. That’s why people depend on us. Even at home, I did what was right by Lucas. Not for his sake, but for my husband’s; at some point, I came to the realization Lucas and I had something in common: we both loved him.
So when Lucas began to fail, I encouraged visits to his vet to see if his symptoms could be alleviated, to make sure he wasn’t in pain. At each visit (there were several) we were told that Lucas was an old cat. There was nothing to do about it. He finally went into renal failure, and that was the end. Lucas was sixteen years old, 93 in people years.
My coworkers asked if I was relieved, knowing how much trouble Lucas had caused. Thinking it over, I realize Lucas taught me a valuable lesson. He taught me how to put aside my own feelings for the love of another. I learned to make room for Lucas in my life, because I love my husband. Lucas helped me to become a better person, and for that I am grateful.