Nature verses the local grocery...

Friday, May 2, 2014



I walk in and out of this overwhelmingly immense space in my heart this past week.  A space filled with echoes; echoes of soft, silky fur, piercing blue eyes with gold centers, a little pinkish-white nose, a white face and white, delicate paws. Echoes of that well-known soft vibration under my hand – always and every  night, against my cheek, in the dark, that reassured my fears from a nightmare or the early AM anxiety knots in my stomach before a stressful day ahead.  Echoes of her different tones of kitty-speak, a special communication shared with only that small bundle of Love and uniqueness I knew as my precious LILYLOU, Snowshoe kitty-friend of 18 years.

How does one define or articulate a Love so deep and abiding that it was/is threaded, deeply woven into the fabric I call my life?  How do I cope with that space, that void, that nothingness that demands recognition each and every time I look at her pictures, now?  That unbearable incessant echo that pierces my soul as I fluff my pillow for the night ahead…without her.


We bought a wood stove in 1996.  In that barn where it stood, a tiny Siamese-type kitten screamed from a far corner the entire time it took to decide on our purchase. When we asked about the kitten, we were told she wasn't going to live long due to a medical problem.  She rode home completely encased and relaxed in the palm of my hand, mouth engaged the entire trip!  That mouth never quit over the years; I recall her trip to the emergency hospital in Denver, a 4 hr trip, during which she continued to share her opinion...the entire time!  The medical condition, by the way, was minor/easily fixed; the kitten...quickly crawled into our hearts and locked the door behind her, forever.

Lilylou was brave through her first major illness which began shortly before her above-mentioned trip to an emergency hospital, and ended a week later with a feeding tube into her little belly.  She learned how to jump into my lap 4 times a day for the process that made her burp and feel satiated, even as unfamiliar and different as it was for her, at her 5 years of age.  After 3 months, her so-dearly-loved ice-cream, finally convinced her to eat normally again, and the tube went away.

Four years ago, an antibiotic resistant bacterium attacked her sinuses and again – brought her to her little, delicate, Snowshoe-kitty knees.  Almost dying on the operating table, she fought the good fight, again reared her life-energy and continued her path back to health.

Soon after, Arthritis crept into her legs, paws and shoulders and her struggle began.  I watched her begin to limp – once in awhile at first.  At first, she cried a little if we forgot to leave a night-light on between her kitty-pan and our bed. 

Two years ago, after taking her on a day-long trip with a few nights stay over in a strange place, she stopped eating and drinking till after returning home.  I later realized she was too old, too scared in her dimming sight and waning hearing, to cope with the unfamiliarity and strangeness of new surroundings.  It culminated in a near Mega-colon attack which included several days of stress for her and a few trips to the vet. It was a wake-up call to my psyche; I began to 'prepare' in  my mind, though my heart avoided all and any attempts to connect with my intelligent and reasoned awareness of the nearing horror in the wings of her life...and ours.

A year or so ago, we found a Precious little pup; from the moment she walked in the door, she adopted Lily as her long lost friend.  She jumped on her, rubbed against her, did everything in her power to lavish Love on Lily - which Lily accepted in like manner; I have never seen anything like this behavior in my life.  Precious behaved coldly to the other 2 cats in the house at that time.

A few months ago, she began to leave me at night in favor of her own bed; I’d awake alone, my cheek cool against the night air, where her warm body used to lean into me throughout the night.

Then a few weeks ago, even the height of the bed frightened her as her vision and hearing worsened, as her weakening ability to withstand the pressure of even a few, small steps down to the floor, without pain, increased. 

A week ago, her digestive system balked – at both ends.  Though she continued to drink, any food ingested went right through her – even after days of antibiotics and special food.

The final straw, for my intelligence, was the distress she endured through a necessary bath to clean the results of her ill attempts to coordinate her kitty-pan with her uncooperative and worsening bowels. After 18 years of communication, my intelligence could no longer ignore her distress sounds; no longer not hear the pain in her cries, the tiredness in her energy, the weariness in her movements.  My intelligence finally over-ruled my heart’s need to continue to bury my nose in her beautiful fur, to smell, touch, hear and embrace her unmistakable Lily-love through all my senses, physical and intuitive.

My intelligence understands all the reams of reasoning that preempted her ‘demise’ – at my hand.  It understands the reasoning that supported – and still does, the purpose of preventing any further suffering, distress, waning bodily functions, arthritic pain that made her constantly move her little twisted paws as she attempted to find an elusive pain-less position. Her screams every night for the past 3 years as she attempted to find her way back to our bed at night – even with the lights on, as she dealt with her increasingly limited sight and hearing; alone in her increasingly scary kitty-world. My intelligence and all it’s mighty, fearless, feeling-less ego-centric knowing-ness…understands that this part of the life-journey - is a walk through time and space, an embodiment of constant change that must embrace loss and death...and all that life shows us, each and every moment we are physically aware. I understand…that I understand.

Lily lies at rest in our garden, in a sunny spot.  She so loved to solarize, particularly in her latter years. As my grieving allows, I will eventually plant bulbs, flowers and a small Amur Maple over her grave.  

As my grieving allows.

When and if…the echoes subside to distant shadows. 

When and if…my intelligence wins the final argument. 


Summer 1996 - April, 2014

Hasty, Colorado

NATURE prevails...


  1. Lilylou was an intermittant part of my life also on those rare occassions when her "mommy" was forced to leave her at home for out of town appointmants. Then it was my pleasure to spend some quiet relaxing time petting a rumbling cat that miricle of miricles I was not sensitive to allergy wise. I enjoyed her company her willingness to play before nature took away her sight. hearing and mobility. Her 'Mommy" has been my best friend for many years even through idiotic actions on my part that stressed that friendship but always there was LilyLou I could count on to help me enter a safe conversation as a prelude to an apoligy. A dog person by preference Lily Lou was one of only 3 cats in 67 years, that I have taken into my heart with love and joy. She on her part allowed me the gift of her rumbling presence the occassional head rub or paw pat. In my own way I too, greive her passing, I can only guess at the size of the emotional hole of lost that my dear friend is traversing.
    To my friend I wish peace and the knowledge that she will see her beloved LILYLOU again in all her active healthy youth again with endless days of love to hold and share but until then pictures and memories will have to bandage over the empty hole where fur enclosed love once resided. She maybe gone from sight but she will always live in your heart and mind a friend forever.

    1. Thank you, Karen, for your touching comment, AND for your care of our little girl throughout her 18 years. You were 1 of 3 people to which we entrusted Lily's care. She Loved you, too. As time permits, we will add your Lovingly donated bulbs to her resting area; thank you!

  2. A very warm beautiful account. Memories in our heart grow and become more beautiful each day.

    1. Thank you, Oris, for your kind words.

      So true that my little girl's memories grow warmer and deeper each day. She lives forever on my nightstand, through her beautiful picture...and her spirit-memory shares my heart.


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