Farewell, Bernie

7.29.10 ~ Bernie
7.29.10 ~ Bernie ~ Storrs, Connecticut

This weekend I received the sad news that my sister’s dear cat, Bernie, passed away. We are all heartbroken, even though we knew he was very old and very sick, and even though we are relieved that his suffering is over. Bernie was a wise soul who taught me many things about life, about acceptance, and about curiosity. Over the years he and I shared many long walks in the woods around my father’s house – he was a wonderful companion.

I invite you to read my first post on this blog about him here:  Bernie

On Christmas Day, 2011, Bernie didn’t want to take a walk with me, so I sat with him at the top of the stairs for a while, petting his thin and bony body, talking to him. Then I went out for a walk in the woods by myself before it got dark. I knew then that we would no longer be walking together…

Farewell, my brave friend, and may you rest in peace. We miss you so much…

18 thoughts on “Farewell, Bernie”

  1. So Bernie must have been around 20 years of age? He looks incredibly young, most likely because he remained young at heart and as you said, in tune with his inner bobcat. It’s a beautiful tribute to a dear friend, both posts about Bernie are wonderful. I’m sure Bernie will continue to walk with you in spirit Barbara. xxx

    1. Bernie must have been about 20, Joanne – my sister was not quite sure how old he was when they adopted him from a shelter. He must have been the most athletic, fastest running, cat I’ve ever met. His blindness slowed him down in his later years, but he still wanted to be outdoors as much as possible. We were all honored to learn from him as he carefully kept on exploring the woods…

  2. That’s rough; we lost our 16 year old cat Quincy last year just after Christmas, I didn’t think it’d affect me as much as it did. Whenever I would make a sandwich and sit down to eat it, he would jump up on the arm of the chair and steal bites of it. It used to annoy me but now I miss it. He died in his comfy bed pretty quietly with us all around him, so it was a good as it could be I guess 🙁
    Bernie will stay with you believe me 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your kind thoughts, Adrian, and I sympathize with you over the loss of your Quincy. He sounds like a cat I would have enjoyed knowing. 🙂 I’m sure the next time I go up to my father’s house I will feel the sharp pangs of grief all over again, missing Bernie’s presence. But you’re right, he will stay with all of us in spirit and continue to bless us with his wisdom and love, and walk with us in the woods he loved so much. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Laurie, it is very difficult to let go and suffer the loss, but as my dad always told us, we will carry the memories of the good times in our hearts.

    1. Indeed, Sybil, Bernie could not have asked for a group of people who loved him any more than we all did! He certainly knew how to make the best of any situation he found himself in…

  3. He looks like a compact icon carved into that stone; perhaps it’s his blindness, but he seems to be looking inward – I get such a sense of wisdom from this gray elder. He’s passed on, but the next time the sky turns gray, and there is a smattering of thunder, listen more closely. It just might be some distant purring you’re listening to!

    1. Oh Aubrey, what sublime words you have found to describe Bernie’s essence. This is my favorite picture of him, taken on a very humid lazy day in July of 2010, in my sister’s succulent rock garden. The stone wall was one of his favorite spots for a sunbath, and the air was too heavy for much activity. Now I will definitely think of Bernie when the sky turns gray and the thunder rumbles softly in the distance.

    1. Thank you so much, Sheryl. Life won’t be the same without Bernie – he’s been around so long that it is hard to remember a time when he wasn’t with us.

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss. Bernie looks like a wonderful soul. He reminds me a little of my CJ the Warrioress (lost to a hawk several years ago).

    1. Thank you so much, Robin. Oh what a terrible end for CJ the Warrioress, but I suppose we all become a part of the circle of life, in one way or another. (I’m trying so hard to be philosophical about this!) Perhaps CJ and Bernie have met each other now, two wise old souls…

  5. What a beautiful photo of Bernie. Pets are an important part of our families filling very special parts of our homes and lives… my sympathy Barbara.

    1. Thank you, Rosie – I am very fond of this picture of Bernie, too. My sister came down for a visit the other day, and got to spend some time getting to know Zoë. (Olga was hiding, of course…) I’m sure it won’t be long before another shelter cat finds its way into her heart and home.

  6. I can not help crying with you as I read of your connection and reflection on Bernie, Barbara. I have bid farewell to many kitties and often think of each of them, so unique and special, such friends and teachers and soul-mates, some of the best relationships of my life. I had a friend years ago who had a blind cat who for many years continued to go out, following a particular path. I am glad your sister will consider helping another shelter cat. None of these special friends can be replaced, but there are so many others who need love and care. XO

    1. Thank you for your kind words of sympathy and encouragement, Diane. I loved hearing about your friend’s blind cat. As you say, cats are very special friends and each one we share our lives with brings us its own unique blessings and memories. I hope I get to meet one or two of your cats one day! 🙂

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