Homer

  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Print

b2ap3_thumbnail_homer-bunny-ears.jpg

If you’ve come here from Homer’s Facebook page, then you already know this is the blog post I’ve dreaded writing since I first started this blog four years ago. And yet, ultimately I’m here not to mourn a loss, but rather to celebrate a life lived in full—a life that was lived beyond what even I could ever have imagined for him.

He was the kitten nobody wanted. After years of love and ardent admiration from those who knew him best, after tens of thousands of fan letters and gifts from those who loved him through his book, and millions of readers in more than 22 languages and countries all over the world, it’s hard to believe that this was how he came to me—because dozens of other people who’d had the chance to adopt him turned him down. It was unquestionably my great good fortune that none of them thought it was even worth meeting him. Fate may have taken Homer’s eyes, but he had my heart from the moment I first held him as a tiny kitten in a box in my vet’s office, 16 years ago.

He was just one cat. One tiny, big-hearted, irrepressible, brave and loyal little cat. Who could possibly have foreseen that he would come to mean so much to so many? Those of us who work in animal rescue believe that every animal matters. We believe that every life—no matter how small, or how steep the odds are against it—can make a difference. Every animal who’s given the chance to love and be loved can make someone else’s life better, can fill up empty places in our hearts we didn’t even know were there until they were full. And, once in a great while, one tiny creature can have a spirit so big that it spills over and makes the whole world just a little bit better, and happier, and more inspired, than it was before. Even in the darkest places are small lights that can grow and grow until they warm us all.

If I’ve been speaking in generalities, it’s because my specific loss—the loss not just of “Homer the Blind Wonder Cat,” but of my Homer, my cat—is almost more than I can bear. I’ve lost two cats before I lost Homer, and both of those losses were among the most painful times in my life. But losing Homer has been something beyond pain, something I still can’t quite push into enough to work through it. I feel like I’ve lost a part of myself, some essential part of my body that I keep expecting to be there—and my mind simply won’t accept that it isn’t. Doctors talk about “phantom pain” when a person loses a limb, but their brain hasn’t understood that yet and keeps trying to send nerve impulses to the place where that arm or leg used to be. That’s how I feel now. How can I learn to walk again without a leg that my mind keeps insisting is still there? How can I grieve for a loss that I still haven’t come close to accepting is real and permanent?

The thought that keeps coming to me is that nobody will ever love me again like Homer did.  I know how self-pitying that sounds, and I should clarify that I don’t mean to say that nobody will ever love as much as Homer did. I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to have known a great deal of love—love that has gone on four legs and two—in my life. But Homer, even at his most rambunctious and curious and engaged with the world around him, lived to love me. He lived to love me. And even after all the writing about Homer, and worrying about him, and building the person I grew into around him, I still feel that it’s only now—now that the knowledge is sinking in that I’ll never, never see him again in this life—that I’m realizing fully how much of my own life was lived for the sake of loving him back.

As many of you know, I donate 10% of my royalties from Homer’s Odyssey to organizations that serve abused, abandoned, and disabled animals. To keep Homer’s memory alive—and to give chances to other animals like Homer, who are so frequently overlooked simply because they aren’t “perfect”—I’m creating the Homer’s Heroes Fund. Every year, I will make a donation in Homer’s name to a shelter or rescue group that does outstanding work with “special needs” animals.  My newest book, Love Saves the Day, will come out in paperback on October 22nd. For every copy of the paperback that is pre-ordered or bought in-store or online between now and Sunday, October 27th, I will donate 100% of my royalties to a shelter/rescue group through the Homer’s Heroes Fund. (I will be announcing which shelter that will be next week.) I always say that Love Saves the Day is narrated by a rescue cat, but ultimately it isn’t a novel about cat rescue. Still, love did save the day when I got a call from my vet about an abandoned blind kitten, and the two of us—this little scrap of a kitten and I—decided to rescue each other.

Homer was the world’s cat. I know how many others will mourn his loss with me, and the knowledge that he was so loved by so many is a greater balm to my spirit right now than I can fully express. As is the knowledge that Homer will live on in the memories of so many that a piece of him will always be here. A spirit as big as his can never die entirely.

I celebrate Homer and the life that he lived, the love that he gave, the odds he overcame to grow into a housecat with a lion’s heart who touched so many people and saved the lives of so many other cats like him.

And I grieve for the loss of my boy, my little, little boy, the heart of my heart and the very best part of the person I always wanted to be. I do try to take comfort in the knowledge that Homer is whole now, and at peace—and that he will always, always be loved.

Vaya con dios, my love. My great love,  You were the one who taught me that love truly isn’t something you see with your eyes. Eras much gato.

Comments

  • Cheryl Hogeland Sunday, 25 August 2013

    Dear Gwen, my deepest condolences to you and your family on Homer's passing. He was only one small black cat - but he had a heart and a zest for life that was as big as all outdoors. He touched everyone who read his story and "knew" him through that story and your blog. I too have lost much loved cats - my thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of mourning. Homer will never truly be gone - he will live on in the hearts and memories of all those who knew and loved him - and in your heart most of all.

  • Ryan Childress Sunday, 25 August 2013

    My Condolences

    Please accept my condolences for your loss. Homer was indeed very special, and his story has inspired so many. Thank you for sharing him with us all.

  • Jan's Funny Farm Sunday, 25 August 2013

    Homer

    I, too, am in tears. What a beautiful tribute to Homer. They do take a piece of our heart with them when they leave, just as they make our life richer while they are with us. You and Homer were a blessing to each other, and you shared him with the world. Thank you.

  • Shannon McDaniel Sunday, 25 August 2013

    Wow

    I am crying right now, reading your post. Thank you so much for being his mom and giving him such a wonderful life. He'll live forever through you..

  • John Shields Sunday, 25 August 2013

    Came here from Homer's Facebook page after posting my condolences, and I'm still having trouble holding back the tears, and all for a little cat I never met, except through your beautiful, graceful prose. I was so glad I had the opportunity to meet you in person when I visited New York in May and to express my admiration for your superbly-written story of Homer's life. How fortunate Homer was to be adopted by someone as loving and generous as you, and what a great life you were able to give him. Have just finished reading your eulogy to Homer and I don't think I've ever read a more eloquent and moving tribute to a beloved pet. You can take a great deal of comfort in knowing that, through your gift as a writer, you have ensured that Homer will live on and that his remarkable story will continue to inspire.

    All best wishes to you, Laurence, Clayton, and Fanny at this sad time.

  • Janet Blume Sunday, 25 August 2013

    Fly free, land softly at Rainbow Bridge Little Homer Bear

    Oh Gwen I just read your blog on homer. My hear sunk when I saw your facebook post and my tear fell as I read your blog.

    I tried to post there but the server in unavailable. So I left to type this so I can try again once your blog reloads. I think All of Homer's world wide fans are crashing the server just to make sure we all get our condolences to you and Laurence and our last goodbye to Homer.

    For all of us animal lovers and rescuers, we love each and every one that pass through our lives. Our hearts are full of love for sure. But there are certain ones, if we are Super Lucky, that touch us beyond any capacity we could have thought we could experience or could imagine. We call those our "Heart" pets.

    Homer was your "Heart Cat". There is something extraordinary between us and our heart animal that only someone who has had one can understand. We don't love the other less....is just that the "heart" pet has some higher connection that defies explanation.

    In reading Homer's Odyssey I could see that in your writings. When you started your blog and the facebook, that became even more apparent. Your love for Vashti, Scarlet, Clayton and Fannie are always there and up front, yet Homer with few words always stood out. Heart pets defy words :)

    I'm so sorry it was time for Homer to say farewell. He was and still is beyond special. He should have gained his wings before your book tour, yet he know if did your book tour would not have gone the way it should. That connection again. He knew he needed to stay as long as he could to make sure your tour would be happy, joyous period. I think he did quite well.

    Clearly if he was ok with the in-home veterinarian, he was certain it was time. It he was ok with the veterinarian (even at home 'cause they know), then he was ready to join Vashit and Scarlett.

    I shed many a tears as I write this, my farewell to Homer Bear and my condolences to you an Laurence. Homer was my cat, the world's cat and a one of kind heart cat.

    Fly free, land softly at Rainbow Bridge Little Homer Bear. You are healthy, and whole and a whole new world of experience await you in the Elysian Fields of the Bridge. So many new things to SEE :)

    Have fun and wait patiently for you mom to see you again.

  • Shadows mom Sunday, 25 August 2013

    Rena

    Homer and my little girl Shadow became ill at the same time. My little girl had renal failure and only lived for 3 months. I so understand the hollow empty feeling, I still to this day have my moments. I found his story when I was looking for books for my kindle and since he was a black cat like my Shadow I had to read it. I looked so forward to seeing how he was doing since I lost Shadow. Please now that you and your little man will always be in my heart.

  • Valorie mall Sunday, 25 August 2013

    May Homers memory always be a blessing

    There are no words to reduce the pain of loss. Homer brought so much to so many. He helped all of us see the shining worth of one tiny life even with imperfection. We see time and time again the absolute worth of each and every life. Rest at thr rainbow bridge sweet Homer. You will live on in everyone's heart
    With love
    Valorie and fur babies Jordan and Jeremiah

  • Dee Muller Sunday, 25 August 2013

    Oh Gwen, my heart cries for you. I know that words cannot heal the pain but perhaps just know that you are in our hearts right now. Thank you for sharing your story and your beautiful boy with all of us. All my love.

  • Nancy Jacobs Sunday, 25 August 2013

    Rest easy, sweet Homer

    I can't express my sorrow for your loss. Losing Homer is a huge loss for all of us, but for you even more so. I know that sorrow and pain from those I have lost, yet they always direct me towards another that I need and that needs me.

    Nancy Jacobs
    Shadow Cats Rescue
    Round Rock, Texas

  • Dee Sunday, 25 August 2013

    Gwen My heart breaks for you. Homer touched so many lives and made so many people stop and think about the love shared by a blind cat that thought he was a regular guy. Sharing him as you did made so many lives better. We lost our 18 1/2 and 22 1/2 Feb 19 and Mar 6 2013;I only say this because I got a tattoo with their names a heart and the date 2013 above my heart. The pain is still with me but I feel closer to them with it. Much love to you

  • Rachel McGuire Sunday, 25 August 2013

    Thank you

    Gwen, thank you for sharing Homer with all of us. He was truly a kind and beautiful soul. Although, I, along with many of Homer's fans never got to meet him personally, I always felt like he was part of my family.

    His life and his story inspired people who may have not necessarily adopted a special needs animal to give them a chance. And, he inspired me to embrace my imperfections and take on the world.

    Thanks again, Gwen, for sharing Homer and the rest of your family with us over the years.

  • Anne Sunday, 25 August 2013

    I am sooooo sorry. It hurts to see that Homer is no longer with you. He seemed like the sweetest cat that there was. I am going to be hugging my cat, Darth, which is also black. I have read both Homer's Odyssey and Love Saves the Day. I have also checked on the website just to hear about Homer had his brother and sister. Hope you and Laurence, Clayton and Fannie take care of each other and try to stay strong. I know that you will miss Homer a lot but always be in your heart. Homer was a true blessing to you and also thank you for sharing him with the rest of us.

  • Kimberly Sunday, 25 August 2013

    Homer will be missed

    I'm so very sorry for your loss. Even though I never met Homer personally, I felt as if I "knew" him through his story. He burrowed into my heart and I loved him for it.

  • Sandy cencelewski Sunday, 25 August 2013

    I am so sorry for your loss Gwen. Homer had the best life he could ever wish for.

  • Ross Cat Sunday, 25 August 2013

    Gwen, My cat Ross was to me what Homer was to you. Ross was all white with beautiful blue eyes and he was deaf. He was rescued from a horrible situation and brought to me by someone who knew that I would know how to care for him as he was not my first deaf cat. He was 15 when we had to put him down, and thinking about it still makes my heart ache to this day. After reading your post about Homer's passing it was as if I was going through it again. Ross lived for me and I for him. He was at the door when I came home and often he would follow me to the door and peer out the curtain as if asking me not to leave. He would sit on no other lap but mine. It took Ross years to accept my husband to the point where he was comfortable with Steve holding him. We had our own way of communicating and even developed a bit of sign language. My heart breaks for you. But know that these guys were put into our care not by accident, but by very careful placement so that both us and them would be greatly blessed and loved in a way that many people never experience. Your Homer was a little cat in the physical, but a huge cat in reality. I am so very glad that you shared him with all of us.

  • Carol Melton Sunday, 25 August 2013

    Gwen, I too had a cat who hated vets. Not quite as strongly as Homer, but nevertheless, she had quite a reputation at my vet's office. I dreaded the day I knew would eventually come, not knowing how we could possibly manage it with her hatred of the vet. When the day came, she was so calm and did not struggle at all; she knew it was time. I believe Homer knew also, from your description. I'm so glad you were able to find a vet to come to your home. Your description of losing a limb describes so well the feelings I was unable to put into words with each pet I've lost. In your heart you know you gave Homer the best possible life and that is what I kept concentrating on through my own grief; may it bring you the peace I have found, though it does take awhile.

  • Annabel Sunday, 25 August 2013

    RIP Homer

    I've been dreading this post too. As soon as I finished reading the book to Googled to see whether Homer was still with us. That was a couple of months ago when he was quite poorly and ever since then I have been checking back on this site, fearing what I might find each time.

    I am so sorry. You are right that many people are grieving with her. I hope each of us can take a little bit of your pain away from you to make it just a fraction easier.

    Thinking of you and the wonderful Homer

  • Linda Travers Sunday, 25 August 2013

    So very sorry for your loss. To know that Homer lived the life of Riley for his time on earth gives me great joy, as I hope it does you. Remember that. Thanks for giving him his chance. Peace.

  • Luisa Fuselli Sunday, 25 August 2013

    per ricordare un meraviglioso micino

    Ciao Piccolo grande Omero, non ti dimenticheremo mai! Grazie per tutto l'amore che hai saputo dare, a Gwen ed anche a tutti quelli che, grazie a lei, hanno letto di te. Resterai nel cuore di tutti noi!

Leave your comment

Guest Saturday, 18 November 2017