Mr. Screams: A Eulogy

I wasn’t supposed to get Mr. Fats and Mr. Screams. When I adopted pets for the first time as an adult, I set a rule for myself: no more pets than I can pet at any given time. But long story short, I ended up with two cats who didn’t like each other very much: a girl named Hero, who loved people but not other cats, and a boy named Emil, who wanted a playmate. After a year of cat bickering, I decided to break my rule and get another boy cat for Emil to play with. When I got to the shelter, I was invited to meet two most epicly cute and playful orange kittens. They were littermates–the last two left. There was no way I was separating those two boys. I threw the rules out the window and have never looked back!

We bonded immediately. The first night I brought the boys home, Mr. Screams had the sniffles. I gave him medicine and wiped his nose. At bedtime, I brought them into the bed with me and they snuggled up against my neck. It was heaven. The next morning, I woke up in a mess of kitten vomit. Mr. Screams’ and Mr. Fats’ fur was matted with it, my hair was sticky with it. And the first thing I thought was, “My poor babies!” I’ve never been bothered by the dirty part of being a cat mom.

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2016

I was crazy about this guy. I mean, look at him!

Look at that face!

He was my little cuddle bug.

Which meant I had to deal with stuff like this.

And this.

And this. Sexy, I know.

Then Chris came into my life. And one of the things that brought us to together was that he loved the boys just as much as I did.

Like, a lot.

And Mr. Screams loved him back.

Like, a lot.

Mr. Screams and Chris had a special relationship. They talked to each other.

While asleep…

While at work…

And at play.

Out of everyone in our not-so-little family, Mr. Screams resembled us the most.

He was a fabulous dresser.

He was a tolerant friend.

He liked to Netflix and chill.

Especially nature films.

He was clever.

He was curious.

He was a homebody.

He was a slut for the belly pets. (Aren’t we all?)

He loved hugs.

Like, a lot.

He was a beautiful, brilliant, bright-eyed weirdo.

And he loved his brother most of all.

He was our baby.

He was present for our most special moments. When Chris somehow made a meteorite fall from the sky into our backyard, I found a data crystal from the future detailing our love and our union. And Mr. Screams made sure to join the party.

On Christmas morning, we buried him in the backyard, in the same spot where the meteorite fell. We built him a pyramid. I still haven’t forgiven myself for allowing this to happen. He deserved so much better. He deserved so much more. I feel helpless, and not yet ready to say goodbye. But we have to.

So here it goes… Goodbye, Mr. Screams, our baby, our love. We will always miss you.

Ode to Mr. Screams

The first night I slept at her house

you were there, leaning against my toes.

When you saw her love unfolding,

you opened your soft belly to my touch.

In our new house, you screamed

at the cue of my sneezing

and taught us how to speak

a private language.

You brought us close, and poked

your nose into our theatrical engagement.

You were always in our business,

infinite and everywhere, commanding

attention like a 10-pound,

co-dependent Pharoah. How

could you be dead? How

could we have failed you?

This common human feeling I’m feeling.

Trying to recreate your box-inhabiting,

shoulder-sleeping, knuckle-gnawing,

feather-chasing energy–what’s the point?

Instagram records your charms better

than I can here. The way you’d swat

arugula from the salad bowl

or burst through the cat door like Kramer.

The rain cloud over my head

is endless, as I hold my sobbing lover,

the two of us stroking Mr. Fats, your genuine

and lumbering brother, who now has no one

to bathe him back, Mr. Fats who was out in the road

at your side, trying to help you, while we

were so casually zonked from fire-wine,

dreaming of sugar-plums. The endless

rain will leave us someday, and float

over other heads, and you, or your skeleton,

or the atoms that moved with you for a time,

will vibrate under the pyramid of mossy bricks

we built in the backyard at dawn

on Christmas morning

in the very spot I proposed

over a smoking meteorite.

And it’s not that I won’t be sad then,

it’s not that I’ll be finished grieving.

My grief will be quiet, curled up on my chest,

heavier than a brick pyramid, purring.

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18 Responses to Mr. Screams: A Eulogy

  1. Nancy Dines says:

    Amanda and Chris, I’m so sorry for the loss of your beloved Mr Screams. I’m sitting here crying my eyes out after reading the eulogy. I’m feeling your pain and my own pain at having lost 2 cats in the past 2 years. I’m never done grieving that loss. You 2 must hold on to each other, you’ve got each other now. Very happy and terribly sad news for you 2 coming so close together- I wish you peace in the new year. Love, Nancy

  2. Tom Zupancic says:

    My Dino was hit by a car too. September 18, 1961. I will never forget that day. I was devastated. It was devastating to me. When my mom told me what had happened I went down into the basement and cried. I was 8. It was the worst day of my life. I understand Amanda.

    I remember going to school the next day where Mrs O’Brien played the piano and sang ‘Good morning Good morning the sun is up high, and no one on earth is as happy as I. The robins are singing up high in the trees, and out in the garden are busy brown bees…’

    But mostly I remember being devastated. I understand.

  3. kim says:

    oh, my heart… what a beautiful boy xo ‘bless you darlings, I am so sorry for your loss

  4. jerry pdx says:

    Amanda
    I think it’s a 50/50 shot with the ECHR. Your case is such an emotional and polarizing one I don’t think you can count on a ruling based on the facts. You’d have to have been living under a rock not to have been exposed to the lurid sensationalism of the case and judges are only human with all the biases and prejudices that come with humanity, as so many of those Italian judges proved to be. Whatever opinions they formed initially about innocence or guilt will be in the back of their minds and may play in their decision. It really won’t change anything legally if they rule against but it will add grist to the mill of the many guilters who still maintain active hate sites smearing both you and Raffaele on a daily basis. There are people who are so psychologically disturbed they have devoted their lives to persecuting you. This ECHR is the final straw they are hanging on to as something they can use in their never ending campaign against you. They won’t be happy if it is snatched away from them.

    There is a certain train wreck fascination reading what those loons write about you online and the amount of unreasoning vitriol and hatred is surreal. I have read what they write and sometimes have even argued with them and I can tell you that they are utterly illogical and completely devoid of rationality (maybe even humanity IMHO). I couldn’t blame you if you just want to ignore them but some have directed both open and veiled threats at you (though never at Raffaele for some reason).
    I would advise you to be careful.

  5. Gilbert Baumgartner says:

    Sorry for OT, but an important date is announced in Strasbourg (76577/13):
    http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng-press?i=003-6303169-8227707
    I am confident to assert: If “they” hadn’t violeted the laws, NO ONE would ever heard of Lumumba, Sollecito and Knox.

    • Klaus, Germany, Stuttgart area says:

      Thanks for the notification. I hope for a favorable outcome, a wise reasoning and peace of mind for Amanda.

  6. Stephane G says:

    Sad news. I really feel sorry for you and Chris. This touching eulogy now reminds me of the losses of my three cats, Laurie, Jon and Vangelis (yes, they enjoyed running on the synthesizers keyboards and make terrible sounds, hence their names), years ago. I share your grief and whish you comfort and peace.

  7. Very sad … but totally understand. Mr Screams will leave a big hole in your lives but you will have the memories forever. We have just lost our beautiful Phoebe. She was almost 23 and blind and deaf for the last year … and so loved.

  8. Merciful Lee Dickens says:

    Great photos. Sorry for you guys’ heartache. I know that feeling, too, having also been blessed by four-legged angel overseers.

  9. Tom Mininger says:

    If it’s magic, then why can’t it be everlasting
    If it’s pleasing, then why can’t it be never leaving
    -Stevie Wonder

    A bittersweet eulogy. I’m so sorry for your loss

  10. Brian Robinson says:

    Very, very touching tribute. My deepest sympathy.

  11. justme says:

    My deepest condolences. I lost my little buddy a few years ago. All I can say is after a while, looking at the photos made me smile more than be sad.

  12. Tom Mininger says:

    If it’s magic, then why can’t it be everlasting… if it’s pleasing, then why can’t it be never leaving.
    The eulogy is bittersweet. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  13. Klaus, Germany, Stuttgart area says:

    In my opinion this eulogy makes the memories of this special cat unforgettable.
    Honestly, really, really well done. It truly lets adumbrate what you are going through.
    I get the slight impression that besides the huge amount of smpathy
    some commentators on Instagram tried to instill some kind of
    remorse on why not having kept the cats always inside. But one just cannot
    expect to be a helicopter cat mom all the time. Besides that the general
    question arises if one really wants this. For a kitten it might be ok, but if they
    become juvenile cats or even grown up ? Granted, he might be still alive having
    been always locked-in, but surely he would have led a much more confined life with considerably
    less freedom. Freedom always comprises a fair amount of risk combined with challenges,
    but when mastered contribute to confidence and personal growth (at least for humans)
    When being in a position to define the framework of freedom for others from my point of view
    this is a task to be better done in mutual exchange with peers/partners or even better when
    possible also with those affected by the projected limits of that freedom.

    • Graceland says:

      I am so sorry for your loss, Amanda. I understand where Klaus is coming from here…I have 3 cats of my own. While I keep them inside, I’ve always had to admit to myself that I do this really to protect me more than to protect them. To protect me from the pain of possibly losing them to anything other than old-age illness. I’m sure that, if I could ask them, they’d say they want to go outside and experience freedom even with its inherent risks. Just like I do. Again, my deepest sympathies for your loss of Mr. Screams and thank you for posting this eulogy.

  14. Caroline says:

    RIP Mr Screams. You were clearly a lovely cat and companion, and you will be sorely missed!

  15. Tom Zupancic says:

    My condolences. I’ve been there too. With Buster (the Bubby one), and with Cheetah (Cheetah Sue, Hoosier cat)… 34 years together… But I would be remiss not to remember Arthur, and especially Tippy! But also, my 3 Dino’s (the first, second and third). Especially Dino the 1st. As well as Midnight, Twinkle, and Sparky… I get it. But no words can express it. Sorry for your loss.

    • Angie says:

      I’m sorry about your loss, and I’m so sorry he had to go this way. Mr.Screams gave and received so much love throughout his life, and it was all because of you. He will always be with you. Beautiful eulogy & beautiful photos <3

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