SaltyBug's Splashes


posted by 02/12/2015 4 Comments


Dear Raddison,

I have been wanting to do this for the longest time, write to you I mean. Write about you.

It has been about three years since you left me. I don’t remember the exact date as I don’t like to dwell on that moment in time. I prefer to remember life. I remember though, that FB was a baby in the pram, and BB was a toddler who loved you, but did not understand. Thankfully my niece had come to visit that day so she could take care of the children while my heart shattered into a million shards, spread out into the stratosphere to never be pieced back together.

I remember when we found each other. I was working as a waitress in that fancy place, trying to figure out my life (not much has changed there I’m afraid). Pippa came in and said her uncle’s farm cat had a litter, they came down on the ute the day before and she was giving kittens away. Describing them, she talked about you with your dark splodges and I knew you were mine. I drove to her house to get you. You were huddled on her beige sofa and you were so tiny. Your little pitiful mews made my heart fill and I picked you up, pressed you against my heart so you could hear it beat and I whispered into your ear, my pledge to protect and love you. Driving you home you tried to cling to my face which made the drive a little difficult. I had to go straight to work and I felt so terrible leaving you all alone in this new strange place, without the comfort of your siblings. When I got home that night you were nowhere to be found, until you were discovered underneath the kitchen stove. After that it was the refrigerator.

Gradually you became braver. I wanted to keep you indoors, you had other ideas so over time I would let you go out and discover the world of our backyard. You loved the adventure and you loved doing what you knew I disapproved of. I adored and deeply respected your independence and feistiness.

For some reason you never enjoyed climbing trees. I remember that day I forced you up into our giant peppermint tree against your will. I said ‘you are a cat; cat’s climb trees so climb!’ You got stuck up on that branch, and your little body clung helplessly as I cried and apologized profusely for my insensitivity. My housemate who really did love you, climbed up for the rescue.

You brought me light during very dark days. You gave me companionship when I felt so lonely I wondered if I actually existed. Over the years nothing gave me greater joy than sitting in the backyard drinking coffee and reading, while you lay in the sun, playing. I remember the crows in the tree, and how they would taunt you. They would lure you up into the branches knowing you were not a good climber. How many times did I have to shout and wave my fists at those birds to stop bullying you. The little honey eater birds started it too. They would swoop at you and sit on the clothes line and say mean things in their voice. I will always remember that time I heard an enormous commotion outside, with you crying loudly and a bird chirping like the sky was falling. I found you cowering on the back porch, with this bird puffed up leaning towards you from the clothes line abusing you for some reason. You ran and hid behind my ankles when I came out, looking up at me with giant sad, frightened eyes. I looked that bird square in the eye and told him off. ‘Do NOT speak to Raddison in that tone of voice’. The bird just started squawking at me, and while I do not speak tweety-bird, I understand the universal language of swearing. I shook my finger and told him not to use that language with me and he piped down after that but carried an air of superiority, like he was the victor in that fight. I carried you inside whispering love into your ears.

I taught you it is not ok to catch birds, they are our friends and much to your ire you learned to leave them be. That must have been hard, especially as they would taunt you so badly. There was that one day you brought me your gift of a fresh kill, I was so moved with emotion. I knew what a meaningful gift it was and as your mum, I could not have been happier. Deep down though my heart broke for that poor little bird whose life you took. I showed you how I cherished that gift. You sat next to me watching me dig that hole, bury that warm little body and say a blessing. You looked confused yet I somehow knew you and I understood one another.

You were my familiar. My life revolved around your happiness. When you became ill that time I sat by your side for days. I cried for you, and for my breaking heart.

You loved ham, you loved to drink my cup of tea, you ate cut flowers in my vase. You had your seat in the loungeroom and you loved to hang off the front door getting your claws stuck in the fly-wire. I would lift you off. Your purr was loud, strong and when I was sick, or when I was laying on my bed unable to move through the darkness and the tears you would lay over me and your whole body would purr to heal my wounds. And they did. Did I ever tell you enough how much you healed my soul?

When I met SB you were not happy. Who was this giant hairy creature taking up space in your bed, in your home. Then we moved in with him and you began your love affair. Suddenly jealous of my relationship, you tried to take SB for your own. Jumping between us as we cuddled, glaring at me and slinking your tail across his chest. Eventually you understood, and you became the one we planned our lives around. ‘How would Raddison feel/cope with that?’ You loved your adopted brother Ra and soon established alpha status. He missed you so badly you know…when you left. We laughed at how you ran our house, how you ruled over us. We loved that you would anticipate our arrival home and we’d see your silhouette in the window of the front door as we pulled into the drive. We loved that you knew the sound of the packaging around the ham we brought. We loved your vibrant debates with us. We loved getting chastised by you when we went away and left you, if we were late home, if we didn’t bring you treats, if we disturbed your sleep by our kicking feet under the covers.

Then you became sick. Just as our next phase was starting. You gave a great fight and I got to love you, hold you and bury my head in your fur for two more years. I got to hear your purr, hear your voice and stroke that little spot on your inner arm where the fur felt so soft, like the softest velvet.

Then you were gone

Not a day goes by that I do not think about you. Not a day goes by that my heart does not ache. Not a day goes by that I do not wish with all of my heart and soul that my children had gotten to know you as they grew. You loved BB. When he was growing in my belly you would lay close and purr into him. As he slept in his bassinet by our bed you lay close watching over him. You just did not like him crying. It hurt your delicate ears. You were not so happy about FB, you thought one was enough. Then again, you were an old lady by then and you struggled with life.

Now, I hold you close. In my locket with my favourite quote by Poo. The one I cannot read without crying, like I am crying now. Loud sobs, rolling tears. A feeling of desperation for you, just one more time, one more cuddle, one more touch. To just feel and hear, one more time, your loud and strong purr.

The quote starts ‘If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together…’ Well tomorrow is here, and I still hurt, I still grieve.

Every day I feel that empty space you once filled.

This post was written for the Write or Die Wednesday linkup.


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Mia @ The Chronicles of Chaos 06/12/2015 at 3:39 am

What an absolutely beautiful, moving tribute to Raddison. I'm so sorry for your loss, but at the same time, glad that you were able to experience such love and memories together! Hugs! Thank you for sharing your story. xo

Salty Bug 06/12/2015 at 10:33 am

Thanks Mia, I think it is important not to let the pain scare you from loving again. It is just so worth it.

V. Nino 07/12/2015 at 10:37 pm

Salty, this brought tears to my eyes. Your words are so poignant and descriptive that I can truly FEEL the love you felt for Raddison and the heartbreak you felt upon losing her. The story about the birds, the way you protected her, as well as the way you received her gift of a fresh kill…you guys were (scratch that –are!) kindred spirits.

You have such a beautiful soul, and I am truly an admirer. <3


Salty Bug 08/12/2015 at 10:43 am

Thanks Shelly


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