Mirace on 19 Myrtle Street
by mary hirsch
Mary and Sir Anthony
A MIRACLE ON 19 MYRTLE STREET
By Mary Hirsch
There's a joke about a cat that is buying life insurance and becomes annoyed when the agent tells him he has to buy nine policies! Sir Anthony, my almost 17-year-old Siamese just cashed in his 8th policy.
A few days ago, Sir Anthony was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with CRF (chronic renal failure, a fatal disease), and because of his "advanced" age and medical history, his future seemed dim, meaning no future. He hadn't been too chipper as of late, losing weight and sleeping all day in his rocking chair that sits on top of the bed, just the way he likes it. His walks became less frequent and the mood at the Hirsch household was not the usual carnival-like-replete-with-a-Merry-Go-Round jolly place.
Last night, in the middle of the night, we had "the talk." I gave him permission to go and told him he didn't have to stick around for me anymore; I'd be just fine. And I read him "Cat Heaven," a beautiful, short book that gives a glimpse of what his new life would be like. My heart was breaking and I wailed so loud I was afraid I would awaken Ellen, my next-door neighbor. Christina, his sister, was listening in as she hugged him and licked his head. It really was a very, very sad scene out of a very sad movie, devastatingly sad.
I'd been taking lessons from the Master himself (Sir Anthony), had accepted the card we were dealt and forged ahead with what had to be done. (I'm very good at that, except when it comes to My Anthony.) I've been throwing myself in the arms of friends and neighbors, crying my eyes out, seeking comfort. I have been clear from the beginning: "This is not about me" it's about My Anthony and he will suffer no more. That was "The Plan." But no one had bothered to ask Sir Anthony about his own plans for the future?
After a special Blessing, I made a follow-up appointment with Dr. Shophet-Ratner (the best Vet in the world; an Angel who walks on water.) I had talked, at length, with a Pet Grief Counselor and was resigned to let my best friend go. All I wanted was a couple of days to say goodbye to Sir Anthony and do the things he loves the most: a spin to The Common in his cat stroller to watch me feed the squirrels and the birds. The flocks of pigeons taking off and flying back, like a boomerang, mesmerize him. In the summer, we visit the swans and he attracts a lot of attention, especially from tourists who ask to take pictures with him. He also likes to walk through our lobby, on a leash, and visit with the older, lonely seniors who pet him and call him sweet names. I shall miss all this tremendously, especially during my daily walks through The Common. I hope I'll be as strong and dignified as Sir Anthony. He would want that.
The exam was not what I expected. While I was very depressed, Dr. Shophet-Ratner was cheerful. When I placed the cat on the table, he was a different cat, strutting his stuff! I was shocked. The Vet said: "Sir Anthony looks good, Mary" we will check his blood to see how his kidneys are, and place him on a special diet, etc. He can still lead a good life. The cat was putty in her hands as she examined him. He didn't look like a dying cat.
I remembered something I read someplace: "the will to live is more powerful than anything." I was witnessing a miracle! I've been prepared to bury My Anthony seven (7!) times before. But this was it, He is my hero.
The plan is to put him on a special diet and give him the proper medications. As I understand it, my friend can still live a good life with a proper diet, medication, lifestyle, and monitoring. I was speechless but My Anthony didn't look surprised - just bored. I bought the staff a huge pizza and over tipped the cab driver. Why not?
So what's the lesson here? I'm too drained to be philosophical. I'm so happy I can't stop hugging Sir Anthony's bony frame and thanking our Maker for yet another miracle: A miracle on 19 Myrtle Street! Oh yes, I learned that I wasn't lying to Sir Anthony when I said I'd be okay and he could go to Cat Heaven, for I was not alone.
Having moved 3,000 miles from Santa Monica, CA., last year (after suffering a stress heart attack) I decided to fulfill a longtime dream: to live in Boston, landing at Beacon House (a residence for over-55 seniors) on Beacon Hill. We were welcome with open arms. I found out how kind and loving my new friends and neighbors, our new family at Beacon House truly are. They really came through for us once more. We love you guys and thank you, from the bottom of our hearts and fragile kidneys. My Anthony says "Meow."