My cat Javier (Javi for short) became my baby after my kids left for college. I was his person and I’ve never been loved so intensely and possessively by any other being. If he was a man, this would not have been good. But since he was a cat, I loved him back and met his every need. He was so demanding when he wanted to snuggle that most of the time I just surrendered to his purring and head butts, no matter how many other things I should have been doing. I would sit and sometimes even lie down with him for awhile because he was so insistent. He ruled my life.
One evening before I could close the window, he jumped out of it and didn’t come home. I stayed up all night, sick with worry, calling him and walking as far as I dared at 2 or 3 in the morning. The next morning, we found him on the side of the road. He had been hit by a car. Someone had wrapped him in a towel and laid him on the parking strip.
I was in a nightmare; it didn’t feel real. His body was so badly damaged I could hardly recognize him. We wrapped him up in a bigger towel and brought him home. I sat with him on the bathroom floor for hours, stroking his soft fur, crying and in shock. I needed to be with him. He had the softest fur I’ve ever felt and I kept touching him to be sure it was really Javi. It didn’t look like him anymore. Maybe it was another cat and he was still out there somewhere. Eventually, I had to accept that this body really did belong to Javi. As if still in some kind of horrible dream, we buried him in the backyard.
It was winter and the ground was hard. After many attempts, my husband finally found a place to dig deep enough for Javi. When winter turned into spring, the only thing that brought me a little bit of comfort was the idea of a beautiful rhododendron growing over him with its roots cradling him in the grave. So that spring, I created Javi’s garden. I planted 3 rhodies and found a beautiful handmade metal sculpture at Sorticulture that looked just like him in silhouette.
Javi died 4 years ago and I still miss him. I’m very protective of his garden and most of the time want to be the one taking care of it. Maybe it’s because sometimes I talk to him while I’m weeding and I don’t want anyone to hear me. When we bought the plants, they were small because bigger rhodies are expensive! It seemed like it took forever, but finally they are growing with gorgeous blossoms in light and dark pink and lavender. It is a memorial to him and every spring it gets more and more beautiful. Below is a photo of the bush that is closest to his grave. And Javi’s picture is on my contact page.