For the Love of Figaro


By Heidi Hess



Not happening. 

My stance was open, polite but guarded. Conversation with my neighbors isn’t usually like this but they were trying to sell me on a cat they found. “He’s so cute. You should see him…” I love cats (dogs too) but now was not the time. 

My daughter’s cat Figaro Newton Hess passed away in January. He was a good boy. We all still tear up when we think about losing him. Losing your pets is like losing a piece of you. They wiggle their way into our lives and when they are gone, there’s an emptiness, a vacancy.



Our other cat, Buddy, seemed alright but I suspect he was feeling lonely. Deep down, I knew we would get another cat but not now, right? I mean if we got another cat it would be for him and certainly wouldn’t have anything to do with the sadness we all were feeling, right? 

We went to meet this little rascal. Our neighbor found him in a median off of Palm Beach Lakes Blvd in the middle of the day. He put him in his car and the little bugger proceeded to climb up under the dashboard. Ha. 

And now there he was, curled up in the corner of a pet carrier. He was smaller than I expected, just a tiny fuzzy little dot with the most precious mug. 

Lately, if I’m being honest, things have been hard. The kids are under an intense amount of pressure and let’s face it – high school is no picnic, but we cope. We have just been getting through things. 

And it’s wasn’t until I saw my daughter cradling this kitten and the huge smile on her face that reminded me of how hard things have been for all of us. This was the first time in awhile that I saw her light up. It warmed my heart and at the same time I felt terrible. Isn’t it my job to make life great for my kids? 

A part of me wanted to take him home right then but then doubt kicked in. He’s a kitten, it’s going to be a lot of work, what if he turns out to be a psycho cat. We had to have a family meeting. 

Everyone chimed in. “He was so cute…”, “I don’t think this is a good idea”, “I don’t care either way”, “What’s the worst that could happen?” 

Out of all of our comments came something I think we all were thinking but my daughter was brave enough to put it to words “But what about Figaro? I still love him.” It was an honest reaction. Which got me thinking… is the space in our hearts limited sacred real estate? No. It goes on and on.. an infinite amount of space and an infinite supply of love. Do we love Figaro less because we are thinking of bringing this little guy into our home? No. It turned into a beautiful heartfelt conversation about love and grief and how pets and people curl up in our hearts and stay there forever. 

And yet… there I was, sitting in my recliner at 11:32pm, glasses slid down the bridge of my nose staring at the precious little face of this kitten that needed a home. 

Sigh. Okay, okay…

I’m happy to tell you that the precious floof is home with us. Now if I could just tell if it’s a boy or a girl AND what are we going to name them. All I know is that we will love him like Figaro. That’s what Figaro would want.