A few more thoughts about the passing of Hugo.

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Rest in peace, Hugo (2002 – 2018).

On Sunday morning, it occurred to me that there was more to say. 

Coming home from a journey overseas hasn’t been this profoundly bittersweet since my father’s death in 2001.

Hugo — to many of you the No Tolls Kitty — died Thursday night. He was a little bitty tabby with a huge personality. There is a stillness in the house, though it’s safe to say our hearts are full with memories of a life well lived. For all intents and purposes, Hugo’s presence spanned the entirety of our lives together as a couple; conversely, we witnessed most of his life.

These were fruitful, loving times.

Speaking personally, and risking the analogy in this time of flooding, Hugo’s final act was a dam-breaker. I’d gone two or maybe three years without crying, through the passing of so many people close to me — mentors, my close friend Kevin, and even my mother. I trudged through, mourned silently, and kept control; it wasn’t really a conscious effort at being robotic, but it’s the way things went.

Well, so much for dry cheeks.

The torrent has been loosened, and these past three years of upheaval properly registered. Kleenex stocks have risen to an all-time high.

What’s more, a cosmos that adores irony has struck again; Hugo has gone, and on Tuesday at long last I’ll come to the final settlement of my NABC divorce. We went to Portugal to eat Francesinha sandwiches and grilled octopus, and to drink Super Bock and Tawny Port, and now I’ve returned to the end of multiple eras … and with the forthcoming Pints & Union pub project alongside my business partner Joe, to new beginnings.

On Friday morning I awakened to these sea changes, with a song playing in my head: Queen’s “The Show Must Go On.” Indeed it must, whether good, bad or indifferent. So it will, in this case mostly positively, though never forgetting what came before. That’s because we can’t deal with the future without understanding and honoring the past.

Thanks for the memories, Hugo. You made our world a better place. Crossroads can be confusing, but only momentarily. A flip of the coin can lead to new opportunities, or into eternity.

Our paths have diverged, but I’ll never forget you.

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