Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Buffy is an old cat who lives in my house. She's tanish-orange, 19 years old, and normally unaffectionate. She has a howl that would raise the dead. Her fur is matted in places and she no longer cleans herself. She spends most of her time sleeping on one of our heaters to warm herself. But, as Willow said in a BtVS episode, she just won't die! She's got a tenacious spirit that holds on despite every indication that she should be on her last legs. She goes days without eating and then bounces back to her normal, howling self.

In some ways she reminds me of my grandmother (grandfather's second wife), a tough, tough lady who was born in 1900 and lived through the joys and pains of a century. She didn't want to make a big deal of it when she turned 100 but her relatives wanted a big party so they threw her one, everyone trekked out to the small town she lives in and she made her obligatory appearance at the party, saying thanks, accepting good wishes, and eating a piece of cake. And then two days after, after all of the guests had left her little desert town, she passed away. She hadn't been sick but she was clearly done with this world and she had the willpower to continue living because she didn't want to disappoint her family. But after she fulfilled her obligation and everyone had been able to gather and celebrate together, she said, "Okay, now I'm out of here!"

I wish I had a bit more of this survivor mentality, not enough to make me as tough as these two are/were, but enough to weather the unfairness and injustices of life without getting so bruised. Maybe I should reconsider one of my grandmother's favorite expressions that she use to say in the last couple of decades of her life: "I never thought I'd be content with so little". I use to think that this was a sign of having overly low expectations but now I think maybe it reflects an attitude of gratitude for what you do have instead of being preoccupied with what you think you are entitled to.