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By Lisa Wechtenhiser

In my daily internet travels, I bop around to a lot of different blogs.  Some political, some snarky, some belonging to friends.  Each has a distinct personality reflecting that of the blog owner.

Over at Balloon Juice (a personal/political blog of a left-leaning nature), the owner is a cantankerous sort named John Cole.  Younger than me, he often seems older and more set in his ways than I’ve been on my most stubborn of days.  One wholly redeeming  thing about the often-crotchety John, owner of two dogs and a cat, is his true love and devotion to those pets.  He adores and cares for them with a ferocity that would put most of us to shame. (And I say that as someone who calls our dogs “the kids” because to me, they are my children.)

TunchThe star of the blog has always been John’s huge 12 year old white cat named Tunch.  He’s at times sneaky and demanding (like many cats we all know and love, right?) but had John wrapped around his finger.

I love this story about how Tunch and Rosie the dog worked together to have some fun at John’s expense.

Yesterday, when I went to go to the lumber yard to get a couple dozen bags of topsoil, I couldn’t find my wallet. It drove me nuts, because I KNOW that I had placed it on the second desk in my office the night before. But when I went there, it was gone. I looked everywhere, and couldn’t find it, and then, on a hunch (since she has already chewed up one wallet and made an attempt on this wallet), I checked under the Morris chair in the spare bedroom where Rosie like to stash her (MY) stuff. And sure enough, there it was. I couldn’t figure out how she was doing it, until now.

As I was sitting here working, Tunch jumped up onto the spare desk, nonchalantly walked over and knocked my wallet onto the ground. In a flash, Rosie shot out from underneath my feet at the desk, picked up the wallet, and took off for the spare bedroom. Tunch just sat there and gave me a “WTF are you going to do about it, fat man?”

I just sat there for a minute, stunned. I think I may have actually said “You gotta be shitting me” out loud, because it dawned on me that if they really are working together, I’m screwed.

Last night, John posted that his sister’s dog came over and was hanging out in the back yard. I don’t know the history of the dog and Tunch but I gather it wasn’t good.

Somehow, this time, Tunch got out and was killed by the dog.

When I read that, I sat at my computer and cried.

And cried and cried and cried.

For someone I don’t even know.

His sadness and pain, that he rarely ever shows, was palpable on the screen.

And EIGHT HUNDRED PEOPLE over a THOUSAND PEOPLE left him comments, condolences and helped him carry his grief.  Not only because we had come to know Tunch through John’s stories on the blog but we had come to see John’s heart reflected in those same stories.

When someone shows you their heart, hold it in your hands gently. As those eight hundred people did.

Behind every single word on a screen sits someone who has loved and lost, like John has.

Behind every single comment left on a blog sits someone reaching out in the only way they can.

To comfort.

To care.

To hold close by their words.

While “We are all ONE” is a nice sentiment, it becomes real when things like this happen.

I don’t know John personally nor does he know me, I suspect.  But my sadness for his loss is no less real because of that.

RIP Tunch.  You’ll be missed.  Even if we didn’t know you.