Friday, December 4, 2009

“Tell us a Dolby story!”

I’m not certain when it became a family tradition, but over the past years, my children have loved to hear stories about our cat, Dolby. Especially the stories of his kittenhood escapades. There are times when requests for these stories are frequent and then periods where it doesn’t come up for months.

In the summer of 2008 when the kids and I were at the cabin in Michigan, Eiledon and Gavin suddenly started asking to hear Dolby stories again. I dredged up as many as I could and we sat around the table at bedtime snack laughing at each recounting, the kids yelling “Tell another one! Tell another one!” through their giggles. At one point one of my parents walked through the kitchen and said, “You really need to write these down.” Though I had long planned to do just that, it still hadn’t happened.

Just a few days later, Dan called from home to let me know that Dolby was very ill. Within a week, our wonderful Dolby died in Dan’s arms.

I wondered at the fact that the kids had started requesting Dolby stories again after a very long period just a few days before he died. It was as if we subconsciously knew it was time to remember what a joy he was to all of us, so that those memories might stay us through our grief.

Gavin took it the hardest. The only time I actually cried was when I was comforting him through a bout of tears. Being so far from home, the event hardly seemed real, and yet the sense of loss was acute. I knew it would be a while before the kids asked to hear a Dolby story again. It would just be too painful.

When we got home from the cabin, Gavin looked up to the top of the kitchen cabinet where Dolby often napped. His big eyes filled with tears again and he said, “Mama, every time I look up there I really miss Dolby.” I hugged him. “It’s okay to be sad,” I said. “I miss him, too.”

Shortly afterward, school started and we all got back into the rhythm of fall. We remembered Dolby at a brief family memorial on All Saints Day. We still missed him, but life went on. Eventually, one of the kids took up the old cry: “Tell us a Dolby story!” and we began to reminisce all over again.

It’s been more than a year and I still have not put pen to paper to record these anecdotes. Now that I’m committed to 90 blog entries in 90 days, I will, at last, write them down. Not necessarily consecutively, but I expect a good 20 of these entries will be tales of a turkey-obsessed, clarion-voiced, food-stealing black-and-white rascal with a heart of gold.

Every time we share the stories, Dolby is with us, still.


  1. What a great use of your "90 in 90" - to document some of those terrific stories and memories! Perhaps some of your remaining 65 (20 for Dolby plus ~5 already done from the 90 total = ~65) can be other memories you have wanted to capture, but haven't yet? Stories of your children, your parents, etc.? I sense from yesterday's comments that Dan really appreciated his story; I have little doubt others who ARE right here, right now, may appreciate their stories from your unique perspective, too. :)

    Just my two cents.


  2. The last words I said to Dolby were "Dolby, you will always be a part of this family." He looked at me, stiffened, shook and died within seconds of my telling him this. Dolby will always be a part of our family. That is as true then, today, as it will be tomorrow and all the days afterwards. He was a true blessing.