Sometimes, it’s good to cry. Our story in last month’s Shorts about the death of my precious cat, Midnight, prompted a truly amazing response from our readers. We often get calls or emails about stories we run in Shorts, but the response to this one left me speechless. At last count, I’d received dozens of emails or calls from readers about “Midnight’s Requiem”—in one week! We heard from CEOs, nurses, CNAs, our friends at the Division of Health Service Regulation, and folks I don’t even know.
Some said the story reminded them of lost pets and moved them deeply. Some folks said it made them cry (my apology for that). One reader said it reminded her of her deceased husband (wow!), and my favorite was the writer who said he was going home that night and cuddle with his pets.
I do believe that my little Midnight may be the most famous cat in North Carolina—at least for a little while. A good friend of mine said she thought the story resonated with so many of you because in a world of tough surveys and wars and constant bad news, we need to be reminded of our humanity. Yep, sometimes it’s good to cry. I wanted to share with you some of my favorite emails about Midnight’s story:
“Even though I do not know you, I felt compelled to send my condolences. It was such a wonderful tribute and I’m so glad you shared it. It is really quite extraordinary how animals can change us and what they can teach us. If more people really took a chance on a stray or a rescue, I think they would be forever changed as well. Thank you for sharing your story…”
“Okay, my nose is red and stinging. Just read about Midnight. She was lucky too, as is everyone who gets to be your friend.”
“I am sure that you have been getting a lot of responses from ‘Midnight’s Requiem’ but I wanted to make sure that I added my thanks and condolences. I passed it along to my family who also appreciate the connections between people and our little furry friends. It sounds like Midnight was very blessed, and I am sure that she is very thankful for the tribute. Rest assured that our family’s pet clan will be getting extra attention as a result.”
“Tears are dripping on the keys of my computer. Just read ‘Shorts.’ Bless Midnight! I, too, am an animal lover. I dearly love my big black Belle! (lab—90 lb). That was so touching. Well, I am going home now. Yep, you have made my day. My heart is full!”
“My husband sent me your story about Midnight. Thank you for sharing this amazing tribute. Being a pet lover, I’ve experienced loss too, and you wrote exactly what I have felt. My husband is laughing “with me” as I sob…who doesn’t need a good cry on a Friday night…right?”
“Your Short on “Midnight’s Requiem” really touched me. I have been there and I am sure made better for it. I am sure that I am not the only person you touched with this story.”
“Ken, I had a really bad day at work today and then Shorts arrived on my desk. I read about Midnight and your special friendship with her. I do believe the sun is shining! Thank you.”
“And by the way, thanks for making me cry this morning. I just read your article about Midnight. As a person who believes that my two dogs are four-legged people with fur, my heart goes out to you. The article was very nice!”
We weren’t sure whether to even run “Midnight’s Requiem” in Shorts. After all, it was deeply personal and had nothing to do with long term care or law. I’m so glad we did. And I so appreciate everyone who took the time to write or call me and those who couldn’t, but still felt moved by the story. In honor of my little Midnight, and all of you who were touched by her story and who in turn have deeply touched me, I’ve started a memorial fund called “Midnight’s Requiem” that will assist the Wake County Animal Shelter in placing abandoned pets in good homes. The few minutes you took to reach out to me and to the memory of Midnight will help other abandoned pets find loving homes. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I suppose, in reflecting on this truly amazing experience, Midnight has taught me yet another lesson in her passing—that even the smallest, apparently un-extraordinary life can be truly extraordinary. I know she’s dancing at the Rainbow Bridge and she’s very, very pleased.
Please notice my “Quote of the Month” on the next page. Maybe it will inspire you to do some tiny, small thing to help some other person—or some four-legged furry bundle—who’s also waiting to become extraordinary. —Ken