A Memoirby Joyce Carol Oates
—11 September 2001
This morning, our beautiful long-haired calico cat, Christabel, died in our arms. An elderly cat, ailing for weeks. Through the night she’d been missing, I went out to look for her in the early morning calling, “Christabel! Christabel!” In the woods beyond our pond, I heard a faint, piteous mewing. I found her lying helpless in the underbrush, unable to move.
We sat with Christabel in the sunshine as she died. Her breath came slower and more labored, her eyelids twitched, a kind of wonder or incredulity suffused her animal body that had been, until recently, a stubborn little body, guided by a powerful animal-will. Yet, that time was past. Christabel died shuddering in our arms. It was not yet ten A.M.