Tuesday, August 28, 2012

No matter how you plan...

What!  We really have NO control over life?
Things have a way of changing, no matter how well you plan ahead.  There’s an old Jewish anecdote that asks “how do you make G-d laugh?”  The answer is “tell Him YOUR plans”.   The truth is you can plan and be ready for everything but life will throw a twist in your direction.

Monday I prepared to meet a friend for lunch.  In my mind I was driving the car and running a bunch of other errands afterwards.  However, Left Brain’s need for the car trumped mine and I got the scooter.  This was okay as I really do need to practice with it and become friends before my motorcycle class in two weeks.

So I braced myself for the trip and found I could not remember how to open the seat to retrieve the helmet.  After a panicky call to Left Brain he calmly talked me through it and all was fine.  I headed out for the highway, the main portion of the ride I was dreading.  The exit to our campground is long and windy and before I was even to the end of it I was cold.  Plus it was probably a good idea to have something over my arms in case of a fall anyway, so I returned to the RV for a light jacket.  Now I was ready!

As I approached the highway part of the ride the sane part of my mind gulped and reminded me that if I fell over on this thing at 55 mph I was gonna be roadkill.  The wild part of me smiled, gunned the motor and said “well then…don’t fall.”  And off I took.  The more I rode the better it felt.  This was indeed a good turn of events, I was getting the practice needed and conquering a fear.

Since I didn’t know how much time it would take to arrive at the café I ended up arriving way too early.  So, I decided to tool about on my scooter a bit longer and wound my way down to Riverside Park and into the International Gardens.  It had been quite a since visiting this creation and I was blown away by the beauty is has become.  Not having to care for gardens any more I was able to leisurely stroll through the garden and sit on a marble bench under a pear tree while gazing at the water lilies.  I experienced a sense of calm and rest on the deepest level possible.   So THIS is what it feels like to relax….I like it.

Then I proceeded to have a three hour visit with a good friend and catch up with her while enjoying some of my favorite soup.  On the way home I even felt comfortable enough to stop and pick up a couple of small items I’d needed since they would fit in the seat of the scooter.

in her younger years
When I returned home I found that Left Brain had tried to call me to tell me the vet had left a message.  I guess I really should learn to listen for the phone or at least check for messages once in a while.  He had been sitting outside with She Devil so she could enjoy the outdoors and eat some grass.  He also let me know that she had been throwing up and seemed quite uncomfortable.  I felt a little guilty as I had been rationing out her pain meds to make it until her final vet appointment on Wednesday.

I called the vet to see what was up, figuring it was just one of those calls to confirm the appointment.  Nope.  It seems that my vet was not going to be able to see her on Wednesday after all.  I knew he had use of the car all day on Tuesday and I wasn’t going to have enough meds to carry her through any later than this.  On impulse (or intuition?) I asked if they had anything yet that day.  They did – at 4:10.  Knowing I probably couldn’t make it there in time I said yes and proceeded to get the car ready for her transport to the vet.

There really wasn’t time to worry about it or get teary eyed as I had to hustle to make the appointment.  Then I recalled that my friends, Eric and Colleen, were expecting me on Wednesday for the burial.

when she was a baby
While comforting a yowling cat and driving like a maniac I punched in their number to see if they’d be home.  Thank goodness they were home but were leaving at 5:00 to go golfing.  Yikes.  This wasn’t going to work.  I asked them to tell me where I could dig and leave a shovel out for me.

No problem, Eric had already prepared the hole and they insisted on cancelling their plans to be there when I arrived.  I don’t know how I have been blessed with so many wonderful friends, but this was truly a blessing to me to hear that they would be there.

We pulled into the vet’s office at 4:13, a little late but not terrible.  I was greeted by sad smiles as I entered as everyone knew what was coming and was quickly ushered into a reserved room to wait for the vet to arrive.  As I sat holding She Devil it pleased me to see that they had my issue of “Catmopolitan” in that room.  This was the magazine that She Devil bequeathed to them when we left “the big house”. 

The vet arrived with a sad face and we talked a bit before starting the process.  First she gave She Devil an injection while I held her.  This was the first shot that would relax her to the point of unconsciousness.  Then I had the option of holding her for the fatal injection of laying her on the blanket they provided.  Being familiar with death and knowing what body fluids leak out when death occurs I opted to have her lay down.  I stroked her fur and talked to her until she was gone.

The vet lovingly stroked her body while commenting that this was something she was never able to do before.  Let’s just say She Devil lived up to her name and had a reputation for being….difficult.  I asked her check the heart one more time just to be sure and then we wrapped her up in a green towel and placed her into a cardboard box.

I settled up for the procedure and took my “package” to the car and proceeded to Eric and Colleen’s house.  I tried not to look at my former house as I drove by as there were too many losses lately to deal with.  And yet I couldn’t avoid it.  I was amazed and pleased to see the growth of some of my newer plantings but a little taken aback by how disheveled everything looked.  I feel like I let the neighbors down by substituting these new owners.  Hopefully they will get things looking better as they continue to get moved in and settled.  Anyway…it’s not my worry anymore.

 There I was greeted by Eric and Colleen with open arms and warm hugs.  They had just put their cat, Yada, to sleep about a week earlier and were still grieving themselves.

We went to her burial spot and I was pleased that you could see my former back yard from there.  I think she would have liked that. The hole was deep to prevent other critters from disturbing her and Colleen had dug up a forsythia tree to plant over her body to mark the spot.  I liked that the name forsythia has kind of a hissing sound to it…so appropriate for She Devil.

As I tried to remove her body from the box her head slipped out and flopped back and I heard Eric gasp.  I tried to get her tucked into the towel and then her feet slipped out.  I’m so sorry, but humor comes at all kinds of inappropriate times and I found myself laughing and saying “even dead she’s difficult to handle” and that seemed to help ease the tension.  I lowered her into the grave and proceeded to begin filling the hole.  The procedure was done in true Jewish custom where you take the first shovelful of dirt with the back of the shovel to show this is a job you do not wish to perform.  After making sure none of the body was visible I returned the shovel to the dirt pile.  Then Colleen turn her turn adding some dirt and after returning the shovel, Eric finished up the burying and planting of the tree.  Colleen is an amazing gardener and it felt good knowing she would water the plant after I left and will keep it thriving.

We walked back up the hill to the house and went inside for some water and eventually some wine and snacks.  The sharing of cat stories and the mixed feelings of missing them and yet enjoying not having to deal with the sickness and mess anymore went on for a good two hours.  Having good friends to share this experience with made all the difference.  They are the kindest, most loving couple you could ever have the honor of calling friends.  I wish Left Brain could have been part of this with me, but he just wasn’t able to deal with it.  I felt back knowing he was back at the RV dealing with this loss alone, but I took the love and words that I needed to help me through the process.

As I left the valley I again gazed upon my former gardens and left with a very heavy heart. 

But with loss come new beginnings and I will be busy with friends and family for the next two weeks and then off to the rally, so the activity will help both of us to heal, time really is the best healer. 

Long Live the Queen


  1. Farewell Baxter. Even though you had your querks you will be missed.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. Take comfort knowing that you gave Baxter a wonderful life. Now she can run free on Rainbow Bridge. Maybe she'll even get to meet Tootsie.

    I love the photos of your young Baxter. Gosh, such a cutie! Cherish your wonderful memories.
    Hugs, Edna B.