by Erika Zemmol
My Angel Blackberry
The stork came unexpectedly one night
So long ago, in my twenties
Mom came into my room, and smiling
Offered the tiniest, fluffiest purring boy
Whom I placed upon my chest.
Your loud, loud purr that night
Still resonates in my heart.
Long before you had claws, when I
Was young like you
You thought my eyelids were a toy
As they moved up and down
And you tried to jab them with your tiny paw
I think you were trying to protect me, even then.
Sometimes, in those days, you would kiss my eyes.
As you started to grow, I loved you more
With each passing day.
I named you “Blackberry,” because your dark little paws with the tiny pads clumped together
Looked just like blackberries.
One morning, I was crying
And you put your head under my pillow
And pummeled my face with Blackberry kisses.
Countless nights, you stayed right by my side
And sometimes, even slept on my tummy
This very soft, gray purring boy
Who grew to be so big
With a luxurious coat, and green eyes
Which looked just like a jade palace.
You were the one I looked forward to seeing
All throughout my days
Wherever I was, I worried as mamas do
And just wanted to hug and kiss you
And when at last I arrived home
You were there to greet me
And I would scoop you up and positively pummel you with kisses.
You were the blessing that would hide and play
Under the Christmas tree, my greatest gift
The love you gave me shattered all notions
that material objects can make us happy.
You were the joy in my heart, my little gray shadow that followed me everywhere.
When I would take a shower or bath,
You would cry outside the door, and I could hear the plea, “Mommy where are you?”
“It’s ok son, mama’s taking a bath. Mama be back very soon. Don’t worry, son.”
When you got real big and fluffy, we called you
Cumulonimbus - a beautiful rain cloud, with all shades of gray, and with little white, curly tufts on your tummy that looked like wisps of white clouds billowing.
I knew the sound of the shake of your collar
and I always knew when I heard it,
you wanted to come into the room and stay with me.
My sweet Blackberry, man of a thousand nicknames
who we called “Bubba,”
you brought me joy in a thousand ways, and more.
Like all mamas, I often wish I had been better, I often worry and feel guilt for the ways I let you down.
Little Bub, you were the perfect son in every way.
My angel, I was not a worthy mother to have had your love. You were so much more than I deserved.
Only days ago, you passed in my arms and are now making the journey
Across the Rainbow Bridge, to the Happy Place.
Sweet angel, your mama is now in her forties, and she can’t imagine life without you.
Sixteen years were infinitely more loving, more joyful, and more beautiful
With you at my side.
Grief is the sad tune of a mournful oboe that echoes in my heart. But your purr is louder.
Without you, I feel like a ghost of my former self.
My only consolation is that someday we will meet again at the Rainbow Bridge.
Soon we will have a memorial stone to honor you
Where we gave you back to Earth.
Little man, you were - and are - my joy, the love in my heart, and a little piece of heaven that gave me a glimpse of the beauty that awaits us. Will you wait for me, my sweet companion and my dearest friend? This I promise you honey. No other will ever take your place.
I am waiting for you, and when I next see you, I will scoop you up and hug and kiss you, and never let you go.