There is a beautiful dark green bedroom in the barn that is called ‘Cid’s Room’. It is filled with furniture that belonged to my beloved friend. Cid’s large bed is covered with his own bedspread and the matching curtains hover beside a view that Cid loved. This was his room when he came to stay for 3 months as his health slipped from his grasp. Now it held his ‘lawyer’s library’ – a beautiful piece of furniture with glass doors. All his books are neatly on the shelves and his wallet and shaving brush and other paraphernalia are displayed. His favourite hats are perched up against his collection of vases and the hats look like they are waiting for him to snatch one of them up and pop it onto his silvery hair.
Another of Cid’s cupboards holds more of his personal treasures like his shaving kit and binoculars. Warm pictures of Italy hang on the walls and there’s a dreamy picture of two kids fishing off a dock. It hangs over the bed – a reminder to me of Cid’s dreams.
It’s Cid’s room. That’s all there is to it. And it was here that we tried to make Cid’s two beloved cats feel at home. I had hoped that Cid’s smell would calm them and remind them of the man who had taken them everywhere he went. If only they could hear his voice on the three phone messages I had unknowingly saved. And even though I listened to those messages over and over – they couldn’t hear the voice that they longed for.
What we didn’t know was that both of his cats would feel the same way I did. His male cat – Rigel – pined away for Cid. He grew thinner by the day and hardly ate at all. Within 3 months D had to take him to the vet and have him put to sleep. I thought at the time that I should go with Rigel and asked to be put to sleep so I could be with Cid as well. I rocked precariously on the boundary of insanity with the pain of losing Cid.
His female cat – Sarah – was the meanest cat I have ever come across. She would rather claw your eyes out than have you look at her. It was so obvious how much she missed Cid but her claws and temper kept her isolated and there was no way to console her. Six months later she was gone too and I felt like such a failure. I felt I had let Cid down.
Once more my mother came to the rescue. She got me out of the house and away from the endless crying and back into the family business. She didn’t care if I sat in the backroom and cried my eyes out – just as long as I wasn’t doing it at home by myself. I started to take an interest again in the retail part of the business and managing the staff. I even started to go out on the sales floor and sell a few coats. I tried to save my tears for Cid’s room where I could go and smell him and feel him around me. So many times D came and joined me and we sat with our arms around each other and missed our friend.
Eventually we were able to talk about him once more. The memories started to come out and every time we saw a hawk we said it was Cid. He had loved them so much because they were big enough for him to be able to see with his poor eyesight. I thought that now he glided on the wind and saw the world through hawk’s eyes and reveled in it. When they flew over the car I waved and said ‘Hi Cid’. It is now just something we do. Back in Cid’s room a hawk sits on one of the cupboards. If you squeeze it just right you hear that high cry they give and I can envision Cid – flying over the mountains and coulees – and grinning from ear to ear.
Cid’s room. My haven in the storm of life.