Love isn't something you see with your eyes. I first wrote that sentence almost exactly five years ago. It was part of the cover letter I sent to literary agents, hoping one of them would agree to represent a book I'd written -- a memoir called Homer's Odyssey
about my blind cat, Homer. Homer was then 11 years old, a healthy five-pound dynamo of a cat -- friendly, courageous and fiercely loyal. Of all the things I'd learned from him since he'd first entered my life as an abandoned three-week-old kitten, fresh from the surgery that would save his life but forever rob him of his vision, this one, simple idea seemed to say everything.
From Homer I'd learned that even the most "imperfect" of creatures is capable of loving with a deep and perfect love. All they need is someone to give them a chance.
Now Homer is gone. He died a week ago today, in his own home, in his own bed, held in my arms. Homer was always a courageous fighter and a passionate lover. He even risked his own life to save mine
, one terrifying Miami night, when he flung himself at a man who'd broken into my apartment while I slept, chasing the intruder out of my bedroom and all the way out the front door as I fumbled with the phone to call 911. As affectionate and delighted to meet new people as he'd always been, Homer -- lacking vision and therefore highly attuned to the varying sounds of my voice -- knew something was horribly wrong the moment he heard my gasp of terror. He didn't hesitate in that moment to fight -- as he always had, as he always would -- for the things and the human he loved.
But, in the end and after a prolonged illness, Homer was too tired to fight anymore. And I had to love him enough to let him go to sleep.