Mishka

(I don’t know why this didn’t “take” last night)

Mishka the Cat has very definite ideas about places she likes.

She likes the hassock by the easy chair in the living room.

She likes curling up right next to, and partly on, my right arm when I am working at my desk on the laptop. (That's where she is right now.)

But she especially likes my beloved's recliner chair.

When I come down in the morning, she is usually on the top of the chair, waking up. Sometimes, she will be in the seat. If I sit there, she will sit on my lap. I think she is soaking up what remains in that place of Zalman's vibe. When I settle into that chair, I believe I can feel traces of his imprint. I keep wishing I could feel more.

I remember, early on, crying myself to sleep in that chair and waking hours later, having slept deeply for most of the night.

Now it is the favorite place of the cat, who only a few months ago lost her dear person.

I was gifted, this afternoon, with a visit from a young woman whose mother died when she was small.

I had known her mother, though not very well and not for very long. I was able to fill in only a small part of the picture she must wish she could complete.

Mishka sat near her, played with her. I believe she recognized a kindred spirit, another who is trying to fill in blanks, to reassemble missing pieces.

"That may be hard for you," I hear Mishka thinking; "but me: I'm the only one of my species in this whole house.

"Imagine trying to make sense of a life out of that."

This evening I met a couple from the San Diego area, here visiting their grown son.

Knowing it was unlikely, I neverheless asked if they happened to know my adoptive father, rabbi Sam Penner, z'l, and his wife Sheba, my mother---

and they did. They had been members of his congregation.

The rush of warmth in my heart reminded me of what my younger friend had been doing this afternoon:

we were each confirming memory of of our loved ones; it seems to bring the fragrance of their presence close, for just a moment.

They did live.

They touched people's lives.

They made a difference.

They are not forgotten.