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Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Perspective: Grief Like A Cat

Katie's Cat
Katie Andraski

Pretty quick after my horse Tessie died, the tuxedo cat showed up. We first saw him rooting around the hayfield, hunting for mice and gophers. Feral cats are welcome because we have a healthy rodent population and not many songbirds. We set out dry cat food and water.

The black mask around his eyes gives him a hard stare like he’s looking into our souls, when he’s merely sizing us up, deciding whether to stay or leave. He’s shy like a bandit, but I have named him after the cat who befriended the Godolphin Arab, a founding sire of Thoroughbreds, because he hangs around my horse’s paddock, often lounging in the warm dust.

He’s gotten less wary since Tessie died, even stepping into the barn while I’m working because Bruce and I respect his space and don’t try to make friends.

He reminds me of how my grief has been. It shows up like a surprise and the ugly tears flow. Memories well up. And then they are gone. Quiet, happy days return. I drive my other mare along roads with long views of crops and farms and cloud shadows, relieved Tessie isn’t waiting at home, neighing. I think about how hard hearted I am to be this happy.

But then like the cat, the tears show up and I’m relieved that I can remember and honor my good horse by crying. And oddly, like tears, Grimalkin’s showing up to eat our food, drink our water has been a mysterious comfort.

I’m Katie Andraski and that’s my perspective.