Kitty Chung

There’s nothing more difficult than losing a loved one. Some Beings become such a part of who you are that it seems they take a piece of your soul when they go. Death has always been very hard for me to deal with. I am getting better at making some form of peace with it. I think focusing on life is the key.

One particular life was that of Kitty Chung. I was living in London Ontario at the time. From my kitchen I heard what sounded like a baby crying in the backyard so I went to investigate. On the other side of the fence was the cutest little grey kitten. I pet him through the fence and watched him play with the spring flowers growing all around. Assuming he was living nearby and was just out wandering the neighborhood, I left so he could continue his explorations.

Later that night, guess who decided to stop in for a visit? I was cooking dinner and there he was at my kitchen window. I’m not sure how he found me. I was living on the second floor of an apartment building and he somehow managed to scramble on top of the greenhouse below and walk along a narrow ledge to find me. Maybe he didn’t have a home? It was obvious that he was hungry so I went to the corner store to get him some food. He was still there waiting for me when I got back. Both of us ate dinner, then hung out and played in the living room. After a while he wanted to head back outside so I left the window open incase he wanted to visit again. I was pleasantly surprised when he did. This became our routine. The window was always left open enough for him to come and go as he pleased, and I always had food and water waiting for him.

One of the cutest memories I have of him in London was when he would follow me to school in the morning. He thought he was being sneaky but this was impossible (I ended up buying him a collar with some bells on it because he kept leaving me tiny half-living presents in the apartment). What I heard was, ‘jingle, jingle, jingle’, until I’d turn around, and then he would hide. He would pick the funniest places too. One spot was a light post. I burst out laughing. There he was, tail sticking out one side of the post, and his nose and whiskers out the other. His great hiding place ideas consisted of skinny trees and small rocks. He thought he was being so covert too.

He was seriously afraid of travel; it made him anxious and ill. So when I decided to make the move out west, as much as it broke my heart, I knew it was best for him to remain in Ontario. His grandma and grandpa (my parents) took him in. They loved him to pieces so I knew he was going to be happy. I visited a lot too but it was always so hard to say goodbye.

He ended up getting really sick in the last year of his life. One morning I was getting ready for work and I said to Paul, “Something doesn’t feel right”. I had this horrible knot in my gut. My parents called me that night. At the exact time I had that awful feeling, just before 11am, Kitty Chung was rushed to the emergency. He stabilized and seemed to be doing fine when I saw him shortly after his hospital visit.

The following year when Paul and I were in Ontario recording our album Crow’s Funeral, I had one of those ‘feelings’ again. On my way home from the studio one night I felt I needed to call home. My parents said, “We’re glad you phoned, Kitty Chung is not doing well”. I raced home and stayed up with him through the night. He was obsessed with going outside and never left the front door. I knew what that meant but all I could do was stay by his side. After pacing around the front door for quite some time, he walked over to me and curled up in his bed. He then looked at me in a way that almost felt like he was looking into my soul. I knew he wanted to make sure I was going to be okay to let him go. He just stared at me for the longest time. I was crying and devastated but I told him I loved him so much and that he was free to go. Only then did he finally look away. Early the next morning, he passed away in my arms.

I can only hope he knew how much joy he brought to my life. He got me through some really tough times and always seemed to know when I needed to be loved. I know that he waited for me to come home to be with him in his final moments and for that, I will always be grateful. He taught me about love and letting go and how you can’t have one without the other.

Love is being free.

December 9, 2011

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