Monday, November 16, 2009

For Creamsicle

He wasn’t my cat. He had spent the last 6 years with a family who lived around the corner from me, but I didn’t know that when he showed up in my yard earlier this year.

He was awfully thin – his bones poked out of his orange striped body. I began feeding him, which made him a regular visitor to my yard. I didn’t know his name, so I started calling him Orange Cat – or OC for short.

One day I saw him sprawled out in front of my neighbor’s home, and I learned he was THEIR cat, and his name was Creamsicle.

It would have been hard not to love him. He was very affectionate, and could purr and chatter with the best of them. So he became my 6th cat, joining my 4 inside kitties and Sammy, the outside feral cat I’ve fed for over 6 years.

Creamsicle made his last appearance in my yard about two weeks ago. I wanted to believe everything was fine, but a visit to his home the other day confirmed that he was missing, with evidence suggesting he was taken by a coyote.

When I wrote For Every Cat An Angel I chose an orange striped kitty for the story so my kitties (none of whom are orange) wouldn’t have any issues with me. We all know what it’s like when your feline gets an attitude – MAJOR CATTITUDE!

Whenever I pick up For Every Cat An Angel I'll always think of Creamsicle, who touched my life and found a forever place in my heart.

Farewell, OC – I’m sure going to miss you.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Losing my forever dog

“And there will be times when your world will fall apart, when a beloved animal becomes lost, ill or has simply come to the end of their journey with you.”

Those were the words I wrote in my very first blog entry, back on June 5, 2006. I had no idea that 9 days later I would lose my own beloved forever dog, Jake. I can’t begin to tell you how devastating this loss was to me, but if you’re reading these words, chances are you understand.

Losing Jake – it wasn’t what I had planned on. Oh, I knew we were coming to the end of journey together – Jake’s old and achy joints were having a hard time. But I had hoped that MAYBE we might have the rest of the year together.

There’s a beautiful book by Sue Bender, called Everyday Sacred. The cover shows a simple bowl. The author says that bowl represents the “begging bowls” used by monks, who accept whatever is put into their bowls.

Losing Jake was NOT what I had wanted, but it’s what was put into my bowl, and I had to accept it.

I began writing about my grief in my blog. I wrote about how “deafening” the overwhelming quiet was in my home. I wrote about letting go with a loving heart, even if that heart was broken. I learned that grieving is a journey...a personal, private process.

Yesterday, there was a terrible fire in one of our schools here in Portland. The children all got out safely, but the devastation and horror of the experience was seen on the faces of all those kids as they left the building.

This morning a therapist was interviewed on TV about the fire. She said the best thing a person who has been through a trauma can do is to talk and talk and talk about the experience, until they are almost bored with the telling of the story.

The grief and terror pour out of them until, eventually, they begin to separate from the story. That’s all part of the healing process.

Maybe that’s what I was doing in my blog…telling my story…telling Jake’s story.

Next: Knowing when it’s time to say goodbye.

Lighthearted Press

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Pet Loss Comfort

It’s been about a year since I added the Pet Loss Comfort section to my website. Since then, many people have gotten in touch to tell me how visiting those pages brought them a little comfort as they coped with the heartbreaking loss of one of their critters.

Any animal lover understands those feeling of loss. They are deep, and they are real. And although time may soften the edges of the pain, and warm memories may begin to take the place of the tears that come from saying goodbye, it's still easy to find yourself back in that moment when your world fell apart as a beloved animal friend left your life.

It’s been almost 3 ½ years since I lost Jake. Not a day goes by without my thinking of him, wishing I could hold that beautiful head in my hands and “nuzzle the muzzle.”
When I read the Pet Loss Comfort section I feel Jake leaping out from the pages. Going through all the photos, and recalling all our adventures together, brings me a deep sense of peace.

In the next few blogs I’d like to share some of my thoughts from those pet loss pages, with the hope that they may provide comfort...or at least a soft and safe place to rest...for anyone who is struggling with the pain of losing an animal.
Next: Losing my forever dog