Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Week Eight and it's Not Over Yet

 


My poor sweet Grendel. Two weeks ago, we went to my vet, sure that the cast could come off. We got a disturbing x-ray. What was that leg bone doing floating unattached to anything? What  does it mean?

So we got an appointment with Dr. Fowler, the same guy who did his surgery. Because I couldn't understand...How is Grendel able to jump and run and play with that one bone just hanging out in the middle of nowhere? 

He was doing so well...He was darting around like crazy, with not even a limp. He'd declared war on the shower curtain, and he and Freya were starting to play with each other. 

So, it turns out that the gap I saw is fine. That's actually a fifth bone, (!)  and it's okay to float there. Over the course of the year it will evolve and adapt to his body. He will grow a callus and Grendel will still walk normally. 

I was excited for Grendel. I honestly believed that once that cast came off, he'd be ripping around this house like a cat reveling in his freedom. I thought there would be no stopping him, and my biggest worry was how we'd keep him inside for another month. 

I opened the carrier on the floor, waiting for Grendel's triumphant entrance. He crawled out, shaking his leg hard. We were told he had sores. There were raw spots where the cast had chafed, we expected that. They said if he licks to put a cone on him. I figured maybe I'd put some Polysporin on the bald spots. 

Minutes later I checked on him, He'd torn skin and fur away with his teeth, and had a small pile going on the bed. His leg looked like a half raw, half eaten drumstick. On with the cone!!  But as for the Polysporin? Forget it. That leg IS raw, don't even touch it. Grendel hasn't hissed or growled at me in months. I was saddened to hear his pain and anger, but don't blame him for his outburst.

I called my vet and explained the new situation, as they all know and love Grendel. I begged for pain meds and the very sympathetic vet tech  said she'd text when they were ready. I walked into the bedroom to see Freya kindly vacate her favorite bed on the dresser so Grendel could crawl in. She did it without hurry or fuss...just got up and stepped out, as if to say, "Yes, of course. You look like you need it more."





He's resting there now. I noticed he was awake, so I put a couple of  Tuna Squeeze-Ups on a plate and mixed a dose of painkiller in. Then I held it up to his face, inside his cone so he didn't have to move. Freya got some too, not just because Grendel got treats, but because she willingly gave her spot to her brother. 

He'll be okay. We know. As soon as the skin scabs over, Grendel will feel better. It's only a couple more days. It's almost over and Grendel can have a happy, pain-free life again. Soon. Sigh. Also: Thank you Guardian Veterinary Hospital and Mayfield Veterinary Hospital. We can't wait until this is over.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Sad Day/Good Memory

 

I was in a productive mood this morning. I've spent months on edits for 'Elaina's Fate' and today all I have left is the Epilogue. 

This particular novel has been grueling. It's written in first person and present tense, which is completely different for me. Why did I do that? Because Elaina herself insisted. I tried my usual way, and it was clumsy and somehow felt wrong. No problem. It's good to try new things. 

It seems to have taken me forever to get here, and I wondered why. How long has it been, anyway? About four years. 

Oh God...Four years. Four years ago, I lost my father to congestive heart failure. Suddenly, I realized what day it is. Make that four years ago TODAY, that we lost my father. 

I remember the date, because I made a half-assed joke about Dad waiting a day to die so we could be sure it wasn't a prank. (He had a weird sense of humor.) 

I remember shortly after dad died, I found it nearly impossible to write. Every time I did, I'd wind up crying, knowing I was writing a book he'd never read. Now here we are today. I'm finishing the last edits on a book he'll never read, and it hurts all over again. 

But I am determined. I'm going to get things done today, even if If have to take a little break from the Epilogue. I'll get it done. But first I have to purge my heart, here. 

As some know, my father was a recreational pilot, and had his own plane. This photo came from a Fly-in Breakfast he attended. Drayton Valley, I think, with his Piper Cherokee 140. Her name was 'Emy', because her call letters were CF-EMY.

A friend saw this photo and asked if I'd ever considered getting a pilots license. The short answer is yes, but I couldn't afford it and I'd never pass a hearing test anyway. 

But the longer answer is: I never loved flying as much as my father did. My love was for airplanes themselves. I can't tell the different from one vehicle to the next on the road, but more often than not I can tell you what kind of plane just flew overhead. 

Dad taught me the basics. I could, technically take off and land. (I've never actually landed a plane.) And I can steer a plane just fine. However, I find being in control of a chunk of metal hurtling through the air to be a stressful experience. I don't enjoy it. Sure as Hell don't want to spend big gobs of money on it. 

Oh, and I also HATE turbulence. I also don't want to be in control of a hunk of metal speeding through random, unpredictable pockets of air. 

So how about a story about turbulence with a dash of TMI? 


It was the eighties. Dad had Emy, and she was a small, four seater low wing aircraft. I liked Emy, but her low wing design didn't handle turbulence well, and I often found riding with her often got bumpy. 

I was a teenager at the time, knee deep in my Duran Duran phase. I wore a lot of black and white, and was rarely seen without my black Fedora. (The band wore them.) I also had terrible acne, which I was on medication to control. This medication could cause mild nausea. Yeah. 

But it was a great day for a flight, so we were going up for a short jaunt to Whitecourt. Too bad the air was so rough. Ohhhhh, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy. And I'm starting to sweat. My father sees this, and no doubt he mistook my nausea for fear. He knew I didn't like turbulence. 

So we go higher, so high the land looks like a green and yellow checkerboard. The air is so clear, we can see the Rocky Mountains off to the west. Dad tells me he figured the air would be smoother higher up, and he was right. Then he tells me how many thousands of feet up we are. I look down and count the ants on the highway. Ohhhh, my stomach. 

The rest of the trip is uneventful. I hold it together, not wanting to freak out my dad or cause him to cut the trip short due to me not feeling well. Everything was fine until it was time to descend. 

The turbulence had become worse as the day warmed up. Coming down made my guts feel like a Roadrunner cartoon. I could almost visualize my stomach hanging in midair before slamming back into place. Repeatedly.

I still thought I could hold it together. But as my father turned on final and throttled down, I knew I wasn't going to make it. I placed one hand over my mouth, and the other on Dad's shoulder. I watched his face transform from Happy Pilot enjoying himself to 'Óh shit, she's gonna blow.'

And chunks were blown. Hard. My father bursts into hysterical laughter. He's laughing so hard, I'm worried, as I'm spewing, if he can land the plane. But we make it on the ground, and my stomach is blissfully empty. My father is still laughing. He taxies down the runway, catching his breath long enough to yell, "You should of used your hat!" And he's off and running again. 

Where was my Fedora, you ask? It was sitting on the back seat, right in front of the airsick bags I had no idea we had. 

We get parked and Dad goes to look for some paper towel in the truck. He never stopped laughing. Not even a little bit. I stayed behind to assess the mess. 

Here's the funny part. I didn't get any on Emy. There was no vomit on the dash, the seats, the steering column, not even on the seatbelt. I wore all my own barf. Yeah, Dad really appreciated that. So considerate of me. 

The airport was only about a kilometer from home, thank God. Because Fox Creek airport had no amenities. I rode all the way home with a clean hat and vomit from my chin to my lap. 

Dad snickered over that one for years. We'd go flying and he'd ask me if I needed a hat. 



* For those wondering, Grendel is fine, but he needs to be in the cast for at least another two weeks. I do plan to write another blog for him. 

Friday, February 19, 2021

Day One and We're Exhausted

                 



If you follow this blog or my personal Facebook, then you've met Grendel. Grendel is the stray cat we've been feeding since late July. We've welcomed him into our home and let him stay as long as he likes. We've encouraged him to stay overnight, giving him treats and toys, with moderate success. We'd hoped that with the arrival of winter, he would just stay in.

He didn't want to. He likes us and trusts us, but he didn't want to be our cat. That became clear when the closer we tried to get to him, the more he resisted. If we kept him in against his wishes, he punished us with absences. We tried to give him space.

But he always came back eventually, if it got too cold, or he got too hungry, or if he'd been injured from a cat fight. We took him to the vet twice. He comes to us when he hurts. 

Then THIS happened: 


He came home three days ago, clearly in pain. We thought it was another sprain perhaps, but he couldn't put any weight on his foot. We kept him in, despite his protests, and watched it overnight. In the morning, it seemed to be worse, so we called our vet. (Mayfield Veterinary Animal Clinic)

They were exceptionally busy. Is it urgent? Describe his injury. They made the time to see him. Vet said it looked pretty bad and she recommended an x-ray. This is that x-ray. She only took one because the problem was obvious, no need to cause him more pain by repositioning him. 

The next two hours were a flurry of phone calls to Guardian, trying to find the best course of action. We had a make him fast the rest of the night, in case he could get in a morning appointment that required sedation. Long story short- after many more phone calls Guardian had a cancellation and could take him in for surgery. THANK GOD. And yes, they could neuter him as well. We'd been meaning to do that anyway, and we felt that without neutering his recovery would take longer, due to his wandering, somewhat feral nature. 

As you can imagine, the surgery was expensive. He now has two plates in that leg. I'm not going to tell you how much. Partly because the price was the decision of the vets involved (It was a bit less than expected. Maybe they cut us a break.) ) and partly because I'm a little bit embarrassed. Why would we pay so much for a cat that isn't ours? Some might think it was a dumb idea. It's just a cat, right? I know pet owners and animal lovers would understand.

Number One, it's a cat we love. Number two, he's a creature in need. He came to us, because he trusted us to help him. What else could we do? Like what? Abandon him? Hell no. Put him in a splint? Not with that injury, it would lead to ...Amputation? God, no. That would destroy him! So, you see...no other options. 

The trip home from the south end of Edmonton to the west was hard. Grendel yowled, cried and thrashed violently all the way home. I was terrified he would further injure himself. He was angry coming out of the carrier, struggling to stand and walk, not that he's supposed to...Two medications were due, we had to remove the bandage on his front leg where the intravenous was, and put his cone back on. Dan went out and purchased a fabric cone for his comfort. We had it on him for less than an hour before it completely disappeared. Twenty-two dollars gone with no trace. More medication tonight after he has a good solid sleep and more food. As I write this, he's stretched out on the basement futon, out like a light. 


This is day one and we're pooped, and he will remain indoors with us for a minimum of six weeks.  (For good, if we can convince him.) More splint changes, new newspaper pellet litter, blocked off passageways, closed doors and keep him separated from Freya.


Dan and I often thought he had a couple of families looking after him. A neighbor told me that he lives in a green house across the avenue. I'm prepared for someone to come to my door, demanding to take him back. I will hand them the receipt we received from Guardian. I will ask them: "Where were you when he broke his leg? Why did he come to us, and not you?" 

We have accepted that he may never be our cat, he might actually belong to someone else. He might not stay after all this is over. 

But the more Dan and I talk about it, the less embarrassed I feel about our choices. Why shouldn't we do this? We have no mortgage and a clean VISA. Animal shelters and organizations all over this city, all over this continent do more with less. And there's no shame in helping defenseless animals. It's the RIGHT thing to do. Dan and I promised each other when Spartacus Jones died that we would help homeless animals to the best of our ability. 

We're keeping that promise now. 





Saturday, December 12, 2020

Dear K


 

Dear K,

You asked me for a blog, since I haven’t written one in a long time. The truth is, I haven’t found a suitable subject. I wanted to write about the things I’ve been doing this year in the pandemic, how I’m grateful to be working, grateful to have my husband working from home, grateful for a mild winter, and happy to have Grendel in my life. 


But 2020 has been a shitty year for so many worldwide, I don’t want to sound glib or insensitive, especially since death has touched everyone, including me.  I thought maybe, if I write it as a letter to a good friend, it won’t sound that way, and you are often a favorite muse for ‘Earth to Thoeba.’

Being isolated didn’t affect our lives as badly. Dan adjusted to working at home, and I’m sure he prefers it. He makes jokes about ‘the commute’, which means shutting his computer off, walking across the living room, and pouring himself another coffee. For him, this is a kind of relief. He prefers not to leave the house if he doesn't have to.

I continued to work, but the hours weren’t crazy. I looked forward to more writing time. That didn’t happen as well as I hoped. I found myself engaging in non-writing projects. I did my usual spring cleaning, yard work and gardening, and later fall-cleaning. In between, I painted a few kitchen areas in a beautiful color named ‘Enchanted Flute.’ It’s a muted blue-grey that magically works with everything around it. It took longer than anticipated. First I had to remove the wallpaper. (You were right. Fabric softener helped) That is when I learned that the previous owners of this house used wallpaper to cover about a thousand holes and badly placed nails and screws. We decided that they did what they could—Google wasn’t around back then to look up How-To home repairs. That’s how I learned how to re-caulk the tub this year too, as well as patching way too many holes.

Oh! And I made both Dandelion and Pear Wine from scratch. Can’t taste any of it until March.


Grendel was an unexpected and delightful bonus, especially after losing Spartacus Jones. (After ten months, I still ache for him, and I’m crying as I write. I loved that boy more than anyone or anything.) It began with Dan leaving wet cat food leftovers outside for birds, stray cats...anything that needed the food. If Freya wouldn’t eat it, why waste it? (By the way, Freya is as perfect as ever. Even my Mom adores her. She’s ten years old now, and still a sweetie.) We noticed it was always a black cat that came after dusk for it. He began to come earlier and earlier until one day he showed up at the door to ask for it.  We let him inside, and he’s been coming in ever since.

He hasn’t chosen us—not really. As I type this, he’s been sleeping in the basement for six hours. Sooner or later, he’ll come upstairs and howl to be let out. Dan reminds me that he’s feral and he’s not our prisoner, so we let him out. We want to get him fixed, but he stresses out when we try to keep him in, and he’s always so hungry, we don’t dare starve him for 12 hours to get it done, not right now. We’ve brought him to the vet. Vet says he’s ‘fighting fit’., and she’s right. He’s a muscular, scabby little guy, and he’s finally gaining some weight on his skinny butt. He’s about two years old, and I want to get his hearing checked. Maybe he’s just fearless, and doesn’t respond to loud sounds. Hmm.

This is another reason why I’m grateful for such a mild winter. Not just because I hate being cold. I can’t bear the thought of him being out there and not being able to find shelter. I find it funny how I can sleep like the dead, but still hear him meow at the door and wake to let him in. But what if he comes when I’m at work on graveyards? Dan doesn’t hear him as well as I do. We’ve been so lucky this winter. The temperature hasn’t gone below -10 Celsius. (14 Fahrenheit)

In October we lost my friend T, who is our friend A’s mother, to a heart attack. I was sitting here at my desk when 911 came. She lived across the street from me, and I stared out the window and counted family members, sent A a text...You know it’s bad when the ambulance arrives and the paramedics aren’t in any hurry.

I miss her voice and her boisterous cackle. I miss the way she called me ‘Doh-nah’. I’m really going to miss her rice pudding and her curried chicken livers that she made just for me because those were the bomb! I never did get the recipe, and mine just aren’t as good. T was a social animal and a giver. I made more friends through her.

On the day of T’s funeral—Halloween-- an ambulance arrived next door. Everyone watched as they took J away, and days later, we learned that she’d lost her long battle with cancer. J was just such a lovely person, and she fought hard against cancer, for over a decade. The last time I spoke to her and her husband it was in March, and we raised our voices from way across the sidewalk as to not get too close. She had given up on chemo, didn’t have the strength for it anymore, and was trying something else I can’t remember now. I can’t pretend that I knew her well, but I genuinely liked her. Such a good person with such strength and character, and I’d been hoping to see her more often after the pandemic was over.

 

Days ago, we lost TC. I met him through friends and he was awesome. He was a member of Mensa Canada, but so down to earth. He had a horrific car accident eight years ago that left him with a brain injury that confined him to hospital. I should have visited more, but I was afraid he wouldn’t remember me. He did, but I still didn’t visit more. No time, no energy, excuses. I should have, but I didn’t expect him to leave. His system gave out, and I should have expected that would happen eventually. That feels pretty shitty. Everyone feels that death. I wish I had better words. 

I’m still writing and editing. ‘Elaina’s Fate’ is actually in the second edit, but it requires so much work. There were so many missing details and wonky ones. I had to re-write several passages and erase and re-vamp entire pages. It’s okay. It’s going to be a much better book. I’m still writing ‘Her True Name: Volume Three', but I need to do a bit more research. T was going to help with that, but she’s gone. I will research the Hindi gods I need on my own. I’m going to dedicate it to her when I’m finished. I just wish she’d be here to read it.

It’s been a strange year. I wasn’t sure what to write, what to blog. I'm crying for all the loss. Sometimes I can't keep track of all the battles. There's no many reasons to be angry and so many causes to fight for. I'm hoping that when Trump is FINALLY out of office, things will work better.  It was never just feminism, I know, I've always known--but I've had to check my privilege.  It was hard, and it has to continue being hard. Otherwise, how else am I going to learn? This year has been so enlightening in scary ways.

I think of you too, more than you know. We may have met on Farmville, but I consider you a close friend. Haven’t we shared so much? And not just recipes for Beef Stroganoff.

I may have had a better 2020 than most, but it doesn’t mean I don’t think of you, and of the people I lost. I know so many people out there are having the worst year of their lives, and I feel somewhat guilty for my good fortune. So this is my new blog post, written for you my cherished friend. Drop me a note soon, and let me know how you’re doing <3. I love you. Please take care of yourself.

 





Friday, October 2, 2020

Carry On Our Wayward Cat

 

If you've read the previous post, you'll know we're trying to bring a stray cat we've named 'Grendel' into our household. A lot has happened since my last blog. 
He got a bad infection in his leg. He came to our house very much later than usual, and when he did, he could not walk  He looked like a three-legged cat, and we made a decision. 
We shut him in, and made him an appointment for the vet. He was so tired and so sick, he didn't bother fighting us.  He just hobbled downstairs to sleep. 
As the night wore on, he growled, he pleaded, he lost the energy to argue. We did not let him out. The next day, I picked him up, intimidated by his terrible, monster growl-it's truly scary-But....He's all bark, no scratching or biting. I spent less than thirty seconds tucking him into a cat carrier. He didn't know what it was. He knew it seemed bad, but he didn't know how to fight it. Plus one leg didn't work right.
The vet gave him a shot of antibiotics, and he spent the next four days indoors with us. (Apparently, he's about two years old, and they gave him the birthdate of September 15, 2018.) That meant lots of love, lots of food and nip. Still he yowled and scratched at the door. Not wanting to stress him out, we released him after he stopped limping. 


He didn't show up for a day and a half. I was relieved it was only that long. I expected him to disappear for three or four days and it felt like it. But he returned, and now we have a new half established routine.

I feel like I live with a teenager. Grendel stays out all night, coming home to eat like a horse before passing out in the basement. He wakes in the afternoon, wolfs his breakfast/lunch/whatever and disappears. I told my Mom about it and she was blunt. "Donna--That's payback." I cracked the hell up, but wow...I suddenly feel mighty bad for my mother. He stresses me out a bit.

But as I sit typing this, my heart sings. Grendel rests on the floor by my side. It gives me so much pleasure to watch him play with a honeysuckle stick. It makes me so happy to make him feel safe. It feels like love. And maybe he loves us enough to stay. 

He just left to sleep the morning away downstairs. Typical teenager.

Edit: Yes, we still plan to get him fixed. He seems to know it too. His appearances have become random and unpredictable.

Friday, August 14, 2020

The Cat Who Devours


It's an odd thing courting a stray cat. Spartacus was so easy. I asked him to come inside and he did. This time I'm learning patience. Here's the story so far. This is the short version.

My husband likes to leave Freya's leftovers outside for any creature who needs it--birds, cats, whatever. He just leaves the dish under the patio table and in the morning, it's always gone. 

In the last week of July, we began to notice a black cat always came. As he became bolder, Dan got a good look at him. He was thin and had no collar, and was always hungry, so we made it a nightly thing to leave food out. 

I talked to our neighbors. Ladonna said he lived at the end of her street. Joyce said he lived across the street from us, in the green house three doors down. Hmmmm...Still we left food out. He seemed to need it.

One day, I was about to water the garden and when I opened the door, the black cat was standing on the porch. He looked eager and gave me a quiet little meow. So of course I went back inside and filled a plate for him. He must have been a bit desperate, because he had to pass Freya to get to our door. For her part, Freya didn't pay him much mind. Later that night, we had the screen door open, and he jumped right inside and asked again. 

If this cat belongs to someone, they can't be feeding him very well. He's skinny and devours everything we give him. He started searching around the house for more, so we gave him seconds. Now we leave the screen door open, and he just comes inside and explores the house while we fix him a dish of kibble and wet food mixed. 

We try not to get our hopes up. Maybe he DOES belong to someone. But like I said, he's skinny, scruffy,  dirty, scratched up,always super hungry and when he lifted his tail, we discovered he's an unfixed male. 

So we've named him. At first, I wanted to name him Hades. My husband wanted to name him Imhotep, or maybe Apophis. (Huge Stargate fan.) We had a small list going. I thought about his appetite, and watched him skulk out of our house in the dark, and it hit me. Grendel. Yes! He's the devourer who hunts in the dark and only comes inside to EAT. Dan reminds me that Grendel was an ugly beast. I remind him that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and Grendel had a mother who loved him. (I'd like to be his Mom. I'm beast enough.)

I worried out loud on Facebook. My yard doesn't have many good places for a cat to hide from the weather. Someone suggested I make one from a Rubbermaid bin. I can tell you from experience, that doesn't work. After you cut any part of the plastic, it begins to rip, creating jagged edges, and it continues to rip, even after you tape it back up. Cold weather makes it snap into shards at the slightest touch. It's not that important to the story, but yeah, don't use a Rubbermaid bin for a homemade cat shelter. Anyway, we improvised. 

We have a shed. There's nothing valuable in it, just tomato cages, old pots and bits and pieces that should be tossed. We left the doors slightly ajar--just wide enough for a cat to sneak into. It's good because it retains warmth and it's a good wind break.

It worked! Dan told me yesterday that he saw Grendel peeking at him from the shed doors and Grendel came out to greet him. I checked for myself today, and sure enough, Grendel came out to greet me too. He lay down on the sidewalk and let me pet him a little bit. Then he followed me inside the house for a snack. 

I'm excited for the weirdest reason. After this last feeding, he roamed the house again, BUT this time, he used the upstairs litter box. Yay! What a wacky thing to be excited about. Now I understand what the big deal is for parents.

We're trying to give him space. He's already made it clear he's not ready to stay inside with us. We think that might change once it gets cold, there's still time. He and Freya seem to be okay. There's no growling or hissing. Once we can get him inside, and once he's comfortable, we'll get him to a vet and check for a microchip. He'll need shots. Eventually he'll have to get fixed. My worry now is that he'll get a cat pregnant, and we'll be on the hook for it even though he's not our cat yet. 

So, wish us luck. We promised ourselves that we would help a cat in need if ever another one came to us, and so we have. Whatever happens, we'll do what is best for Grendel. Not just in memory of Spartacus Jones, but because it's the right thing to do. We promise.

Sorry for the odd photo placement. I'm learning how to use Google Photos and Blogger changed too.

While you're here, check out Donna Milward, Author on Facebook and look for my contest.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Happy Birthday Spartacus

A good friend has asked when I would write another blog. What would I blog about? I already did one about the Pandemic and isolation. Nothing interesting about that, really. I'm doing some renovations. Nothing fancy.

Black Lives Matter? You know I'm onboard. You also know that I'm a white female, and my opinion is not required. I'm quietly relearning history and opening my eyes to some ugly truths that have been going on for hundreds of years. I'm pissed off, but now is not the time to vent. Now is the time to listen and read up.

Still writing and editing. Nothing is new.

But on the first of July, I got triggered somehow. I realized that on August first, Spartacus Jones would have been 8 years old.  I cried for three days. That's tomorrow now, and it still hurts. We lost him six months ago.

I'm reluctant to talk about my pain, especially in times like these. People everywhere are scared. They're losing loved ones and life seems a little crueler than usual. One of my friends asked for prayers for her mother in surgery. Another fears for her terminally ill father, and we pray for her son, who keeps running away. Another of my hometown friends is planning her son's funeral.

This year has been particularly ugly, and I don't want to make light of the pain of others.
But today, I'd like to write about Spartacus Jones. We still love him, and miss him everyday. If he were alive, I would be planning his tuna breakfast. I would give him new toys. I'd give him a new bag of catnip, and a half roll of paper towel to destroy. Then I'd get it on video.

As many know, I believe in the paranormal. I've seen and experienced some very strange things in my lifetime.

Here's a secret: Weeks after Spartacus' death, I was sitting on my couch, crying. I held his box of ashes in the crook of my arm, wishing desperately that I could hug his soft fur instead of sharp cardboard corners. I remember thinking, God, I miss you, Sweet Boy.


I felt a presence. I was overwhelmed by a feeling of pure love and gratitude. It enveloped me. I asked out loud, "Is that you, Baby?" and the feeling grew stronger. I told him we missed him, and we would always love him. I cried and kissed the box. I worried that I would never feel his presence ever again, and I think I'm right. Because although I heard no words, the feeling I got was 'goodbye'. So much love and happiness, so thankful for the life he had with us, but he wanted to rest. Spartacus Jones just wanted to sleep. Then the presence faded away.

I don't feel him, I don't dream about him, and I've never had another experience. But I won't ever forget him, or stop loving him. I know I have to get over him, but it's not that easy. He had a profound effect on our lives.

So tomorrow, Freya will get tuna for breakfast in honor of her brothers. (We lost Sully on this day about seven years ago.) We will continue putting cat food out at night for any strays who need it. We will continue to keep our eyes open for animals who need help. We will wait and see if the universe delivers us another soul in need of a home.

We want another cat in our house, but we wait.  We wait because some day another cat might need to come in from the weather again. And we'll be here with open arms.