Mr. Rogers has Been Gone for a Year

At 3:22 PM on March 25,th 2022, my beloved Mr. Rogers took his last breath in my lap. A year later, I still think of and miss him so often.

After rereading the letter I wrote Mr. Rogers three days after his death, I can honestly say everything I wrote to him and more is true about our love and what a wonderful impact he made in my life.

As I tried to say in my letter to Mr. Rogers, I know he made me a better man. His calm, consistent self (even as his health was failing) is something I will remember for the rest of my life. The way he always made sure to let me and everyone who loved him know he loved us too is a lesson so many could use to learn.

I wish I could say I found a neglected cat with a serious eye condition and that I did everything I could from our first meeting to help. But that would be a lie. The truth is I didn’t want a cat when we first met. I’m ashamed to admit that I often paid him little attention after our first meeting.

Somehow, Mr. Rogers knew we were meant to be together. He simply wouldn’t take no for an answer.

As the months went by, he kept sitting in my lap and rubbing against my leg. Eventually, I started looking for him outside and paying attention to him. When the weather turned bad and he was left outside, I started bringing him into my room.

In the early days of our relationship, I was foolish enough to believe I was doing a good thing for him.

As the years went by, it became clear that I was getting at least as much from my beloved little buddy as I was giving him.

A year ago to the minute, I was holding him and contemplating a life without the little guy who did so much to soften my heart and who helped me realize even more of the value and need for unconditional, true love.

Today, I can’t believe how well my life is going. Amazingly, I’m going to be married. Desiree, her youngest kids, and I will soon have a home of our own. Sadly, Mr. Rogers won’t be there. Desiree’s girls never got to meet him. But I know, as I knew last year, the wonderful life I’m now living and the dream come true life I will have in a few months would not be possible without the lessons Mr. Rogers shared with me.

Mr. Rogers was my animal soulmate. In his way, he was always there for me. He really made me feel loved. He loved lots of people, but I was his person. I love all kinds of animals, but Mr. Rogers was my animal soulmate. Thanks to him, I was better prepared when I found my true soulmate than I would have ever been without his love.

Tonight, I will pay tribute to Mr. Rogers. At the weekly ACB karaoke, I will play Won’t you be my Neighbor. Being me, I didn’t sing it very well. But I sure sung it from the heart. I know that’s the only part of it that would have mattered to Mr. Rogers.

Word to Mr. Rogers

You have been gone a year, Mr. Rogers. But as long as I’m alive, you will never be forgotten. Every March 25th, as is the case this year, I will think of you even more than usual. My mind will flood with memories of all the time we spent together, especially the times I know you didn’t go outside because you knew I needed you. Every March 25th, as is happening now, my eyes will fill with tears as I remember all you gave me and I let myself feel your loss more fundamentally than I usually allow myself to feel your loss.

But every March 25th will not be all sad. I know you wouldn’t want that for me. Every March 25th I will reflect on how so much of what thrills me about life now was made more possible because of what you gave to me during our almost four years together.

I love you Mr. Rogers. You will always be my animal soulmate. I will do my best to live up to your example of kindness and love. I won’t be as good as you were, but thanks to you I will be better than I ever was before you.

Rest in piece, Mr. Rogers. You were a miracle in my life. I only hope you knew how much you will always mean to me.

Won’t you be my Neighbor

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