Monday, July 26, 2010

Visits from my Angel Cat, Dickens

It started a week ago.

I was sitting at the desk when I felt the familiar brush of a cat walking beneath my chair, rubbing against my legs. As always, I reached down to playfully grab the tail – something I’ve done for years whenever one of the kitties came into my office.

I grabbed onto…nothing. No one was there. My three cats were spending time in the upstairs bathroom as a carpet cleaner made his way through my home.

Definitely beloved cat who had earned his angel wings on 7/10/10.

Yesterday, for the first time since Dickens has been gone, I experienced a perfect moment. Everything shifted, and suddenly I felt completely at peace with the world. I knew all was as it should be. I was even laughing!

The feeling continued until I went to bed. I was nodding off when I slipped into some type of dream state. It happened so fast I’m not sure it was a dream. I was looking out the window at the bird feeders in the backyard, when suddenly Dickens came flying out of nowhere and landed on one large feeder and threw out his paws like an actor who had just run into the spotlight.

“I’m HERE!” he seemed to say. I could describe his beautiful face
in one word...JOY.

I immediately woke up and saw that only a minute had passed since I last looked at the clock. Then I went blissfully back to sleep, knowing that Dickens had found a way to let me know he was well and happy.

Just lovely…

Lighthearted Press

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Grief is a Journey

“You think he’s going to die.”

That’s what my good friend, Judy, said a few weeks ago when Dickens first showed signs of illness.

“Yes, I do,” I replied, not because I had reason to believe my beloved cat was terminally ill, but because I was scared the way all parents get when one of their kids is ailing.

I wanted Dickens to get better quickly, so I would feel better, too.

And then a word EXPLODED in my brain – PATIENCE!!!

I wanted to ignore it, but I couldn't. I knew exactly what I was being told. This was Dickens’ journey, and it wasn’t my place to move things along just so I could find some peace. My part in his journey was to be there by his side, as I had been for the last twelve years, offering love and reassurance, letting him know that whatever unfolded I would be there for him.

And now Dickens is gone.

When you write books for animal lovers who have suffered a loss you know very well that grief, too, is a journey, and it can’t be hurried, either. I’m only just discovering that Dickens’ journey with illness and my journey with grieving are very much the same. They are both about healing…and healing takes time.

I’m flooded with all the memories of my sweet boy. Dickens was a talkative cat. When he wanted anything he would speak VERY loudly, just to be certain I got the message. His three sisters were never as vocal.

So my home is awfully quiet now…very, very quiet.

Except for something odd that happened the other day...

To be continued.

Lighthearted Press

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Please bring these black kitties home

I don’t believe in coincidences.
So when I learned about four black kitties who were looking for a home, just as I said goodbye to my beloved black cat, Dickens, I knew I wanted to do something.

The kitties- Merlin, Sharky, Frasier and Gallagher - are in the care of Mary Anne Miller, who provides online resources for cat lovers at her fabulous website Feline Express. This site was awarded the 2006 and 2009 Muse Medalion for Online Magazine by The Cat Writers’ Association in their annual Communication Contest.

It’s hard for me to understand why black cats and dogs have a hard time finding a home. The thought that Dickens might NOT have been in my life these past 12 years brings me to tears. He and his three sisters, one of whom is also black, were a constant source of love, mischief and joy. And on those days when things felt a bit shaky, Dickens always knew how to be a guiding light and keep me going…usually toward the whipped cream can!

Mary Anne, who is located in Sweet Home, Oregon, tells me these 8 month old kitties, all spayed or neutered, are absolutely delightful. To learn more about them you can contact her via email at or by calling 541-367-4927.

If you are looking for some feline love please consider making a place in your home and heart for Merlin, Sharky, Frasier or Gallagher.

Or just make it simple and bring them ALL home – it’s what Dickens would want.


Monday, July 12, 2010

The heartbreaking loss of my beloved cat, Dickens

No matter how many times I look back at the events of the last few days I still can’t make any sense of it.

All I know is that my dearest cat, Dickens, is gone.

How could I have been in a veterinarian’s office just three days ago, thinking all Dickens needed was a change in his thyroid meds, and by the following evening he would be gone?

How could he have had cancer throughout his body and no one knew?

Dickens had been on a weight loss plan for several years, as I slowly brought him down from 23 pounds to 14 pounds. A visit to the vet 6 weeks ago confirmed he was ok and could even lose another pound.

A month later I was back at the vet's office because Dickens didn’t look well and I knew something was wrong. Blood tests showed he had a high thyroid and two weeks ago he was started on meds for that.

He didn't tolerate the meds well, even after switching to the gel form. Within a few days he was depressed and lethargic.

Still thinking it was the meds, I went to speak with a cat specialist three days ago about the radioactive iodine therapy for high thyroid.
Instead, I was sent to an emergency hospital where Dickens was immediately put on IVs and oxygen.

Tests showed he had cancer throughout his abdomen and organs. There was nothing that could be done.

I brought him home for a few hours to say goodbye to his three sisters and the only home he had ever known. Then I brought him back to the hospital and said my own goodbye to this dearest and most wonderful friend.

Dickens had a large presence. He filled our home with his mischievous nature and dedication to living a curious and joyous life. His loss has left a huge hole in my world. I don’t know if I should walk around that hole or jump into it. Perhaps I’ll just sit at the edge and dangle my feet in the void, and pray that I feel some whiskers on my toes.

I am lost without you, my sweet boy. Not seeing your black paws sticking out from under my clothes in the closet last night reduced me to a flood of tears. Not seeing you on the hamper this morning while I dried my hair left me shaking. Not having you join me at the table for breakfast told me this was all really happening.

You truly are gone.

Your impish spirit and magical heart will be with me forever. I promise to watch over your three sisters, although no one could take care of us as well as you did. We are lost without you, sweetie, and the road ahead looks awfully dark and lonely.

I will be forever grateful that Jake found you and your sisters under the deck, and that I had the privilege of sharing my life with you for the last 12 years. I know Jake was waiting for you, and you are now flying through the heavens together.

Never forget how much I loved you, Dickens. And if you're ever in the neighborhood, please stop by...there will always be a can of whipped cream in the fridge, just for you.

With all my love and many, many tears,
Your Earthly Mama,

Monday, July 05, 2010

Could you use a little hope?

Every so often we all need a little hope.
I needed some myself recently, and within a few days something special arrived in my mailbox.

Meet HOPE, the delightful pink elephant who came into my life exactly when I needed her. Hope is one of three Perfect World Pets from Pet Flys, a company that specializes in pet carriers for people who travel with their critters.

Hope, along with fellow Perfect World Pets Faith and Peace, are adorable squeaky toys in vibrant fabrics that just make you feel good....really, really good.

But here’s the best part – a portion of each sale goes to support, an organization that provides food, shelter and veterinary care to pets of the homeless.
The idea that purchasing something so uplifting can benefit the animal companions of those in need just makes me smile all over. And Pet Flys has made these comforting gifts very affordable, whether purchased individually or as a set of three.

If you, or someone you know, could benefit from a little HOPE…or FAITH…or PEACE…I hope you’ll stop by the Pet Flys website and take a peek at these Perfect World Pets.

They really are…perfect!