“Break It To Me Gently”

There were two brothers, John and Richard, who lived in the same town. John lived with his twelve-year-old cat. Richard lived with their eighty-eight year old mother. John’s whole life was his cat. He never went anywhere without her. One day he was faced with a terrible decision. He had to go to England on business for his company and he couldn’t take the cat into England without having to quarantine her for fourteen days. He wouldn’t do that so he was faced with either losing his job or leaving his cat. Finally he decided to trust his brother with the cat for the week he would be gone. He gave Richard detailed instructions, schedules, food, etc. He flew to London and called Richard every day to make sure Gracie the cat was OK.

On the fifth day when he called, John asked Richard how Gracie was and Richard told him. “Gracie is dead.”

Well, as you can imagine, John nearly had a heart attack. When he recovered, he said to Richard, “That was the most cruel thing I ever heard. You know how much I loved that cat. Why couldn’t you have broken it to me gently? You could have said something like, ‘Well, she’s OK, but she’s up on the roof.’ And then when I called the next time, tell me, ‘Oh oh, bad news, she fell off the roof and she’s at the vet’s.’ And then the next time break the news that she passed away. At least, I would have been a little prepared for the bad news.”

“Yes, you are right John. I apologize for being so heartless.” John accepted Richard’s apology for being so uncaring, and then said, “Oh, by the way, how’s Mother?”

Richard said, “Well John, she’s OK, but she’s on the roof!”