Last month I had to cancel a planned trip to Scotland because of the sudden decline and death of our beloved cat Mumbai. He was a rare, sunny-natured, empathetic being, sensitive to our least physical or mental anguish, and always generous with his comfort. He was with us fourteen and a half years, a stretch of time I now recognize as akin to living with a guardian angel. I do not say this lightly. His compassion was palpable, warm as his fur.
Had the journey to Scotland gone ahead, I would have been visiting the gravesite of one of the kindest persons I have ever encountered – my grandmother Jessie MacIntyre. She is buried in Glasgow’s Lambhill Cemetery with her parents. I last saw my grandmother when I was five, the year my parents immigrated to Canada. She doted on me, her only grandchild. I was aware, even at that young age, of her tender concern for others’ well-being and her always gentle nature.