I was just informed of the passing of my dear little friend Merl. Although frequently referred to as "my cat", Merlin O'Connell was a Maine-coon feline that lived with my parents and he was a quirky little puzzle piece in the eccentric eclectic Massachusetts collective that I call my family. We adopted him as an abandoned kitten in the summer of 1999; shortly after he was rescued from kids a few blocks away who would chase him around throwing fireworks at him. Everyone in our house took to Merl right away (more or less) and he quickly made himself at home. Merl was a kind and silly little creature, and while anyone who reads this may question the sensibility of referring to a member of the Main-coon breed as "little", I continue to refer to him as such, just as I will always insist that my teenage niece is cute little girl.
Merl had a sense of affection and simplicity of nature made him more worthy of love and loyalty than so many of the human beings in my life. Seeing him was my favorite part of visiting my parents' home and he will be missed beyond reason. Over the past few years, I've let my over-consuming job corner me into a lifestyle where it frequently feels as if the world quickly moves past and decays around me whenever I spend more than an hour to poke my head outside the office to take a breath. This loss of a dear friend has served as a harsh sad reminder to appreciate anyone or anything that brings genuine happiness in this life, be it a human friend, a beloved parent or a little gray cat.