the Senior Cat's closest friend told him yesterday.
It did not surprise me. I have been expecting this news. The signs were there some time ago. He would "forget" things. He would go off to do something on their small hills property and come back without having done it. He gets confused over something simple like making a phone call. When he talks to the Senior Cat there are silences - as if he has wandered off into a different place.
A man who has always been able to use words with great skill he has now lost the ability to tell a joke and sometimes forgets a word.
The Senior Cat has known him for more than sixty years. They taught in the same school early on and then supported each other through their similar careers.
He is the godfather of my youngest sister.
Many years ago I babysat every Tuesday evening so that he could go to a lecture and his wife could go to orchestra practice. Like the Senior Cat and many others of that era they had to finish their degrees the hard way - part time and at their own expense. Over the years I have also remained close to them.
They came here as migrants so their friends are their extended "family".
They live just a little too far away for us to get to them easily. He has stopped driving. His wife only likes to drive locally. They also live outside the closest town. It's time to move and they know it but they can't afford to move to the sort of accommodation they really need - where they would get the support they need.
It is times like this I would like to be "rich" - rich in the sense that I had enough disposable income to be able to quietly buy the sort of accommodation they need and anonymously offer them the chance to move. I'd like to be able to afford the taxi fares so that the Senior Cat could go and visit his friend.
It's not going to happen of course so I will do the next best thing - if his wife needs to phone me and just talk, I'll try to be there. And I'll try to listen to her and the Senior Cat as they remember what it was like when the Senior Cat's friend cannot remember.