I'm trying to think of a short way to say what I've been doing all the time I wasn't blogging. One of the things is gardening. The pics at the top of the blog page are of my container garden and bird fountain on our deck.
But there's no way to say it but to just say it---one very sad sad thing happened that has changed me forever---and it's one of the reasons I threw myself into gardening.
I know many of you loved Little Baby, our elderly cat. So I have to tell you what happened. I can barely write it without tears flowing down my cheeks.
One day, Little Baby was laying by me when our landlord and Blaine were installing a new ceiling fan after they had painted the ceiling. Everything was a mess, and plastic drape cloths to protect the furniture were all over the place.
Little Baby looked so old. And she was---she was 18.
It was 18 years ago that I had picked her out of a bush in a bad neighborhood where I was seeing some patients. (I was a "Road Nurse", a home health nurse.) And my patients had told me that a stray cat had had a litter of kittens in a bush. I went immediately and looked into the bush, knowing all the time that I shouldn't.
And sure enough, there was a litter of tiny kittens---and tiny Little Baby. She was so small--- barely 2 weeks old. I put her in my pocket and took her home.
Now, 18 years later, she was laying by me that day of the painting and new ceiling fan. I looked at her. She looked like she felt so miserable. Her arthritis was so bad she limped when she walked. She couldn't see and had to put her paw in her food dishes to see which one was water and which one was food. But she couldn't eat anyway. She was a skeleton---nothing on her bones, and her few teeth had been worn down to nubs so much that she could only eat a tad bit of wet food at mealtime. She couldn't even make it up into the litterbox and so her poo or pee was just a few inches away from the litterbox.
So....I noticed she was looking at me and I began talking to her.
"Little Baby", I said softly. "You're barely holding on, dear heart. I know you're attached to us. I know you don't want to leave us. But you are suffering. You are suffering a lot. So it's alright if you want to just let go. You can let go and go to Rainbow Bridge. Your buddy Tiger will be there. My other kitten Little Bunny Foo Foo will be there. And you will all be young and healthy. And when Blaine and I come up to Heaven, we can all cross Rainbow Bridge together." She stared at me intently while I was talking to her.
So I knitted for awhile, and half an hour later I looked at her. She was not breathing. "Oh no," I said, the realization dawning. I was stricken. "Oh no....Oh no...." I continued, beginning to cry. Our landlord stopped what he was doing and looked at me, alarmed. Blaine was in the basement.
And then I felt Little Baby to see if she was breathing (which she was doing just barely) and I started screaming for Blaine. He usually ignores my dramatics but he could tell this was something awful. "BLAINE!!!" I hollered.
"What?!!" he yelled back as he rushed up the basement stairs.
"She's DYING!!!" I screamed. I screamed it over and over. I picked Little Baby up and she moved one of her legs a little. Then it seemed that she just breathed out one long breath.....
Blaine arrived and saw that I was holding Little Baby. "She's DEAD!!" I screamed again. And then I said: "But no....maybe she's just in a coma! Maybe she's not really dead? She moved her legs!"
Blaine said gently: "No, Bo, she's dead. Her legs moving were probably her last movements alive. She died in your arms---as it should have been. Now let me have her so I can go to the vet and take care of what we have to do."
"NO!!!!!" I screamed. "You can't have her! Let's keep her till tomorrow!"
But Blaine said no and started trying to take Little Baby into his arms, but I wouldn't let go of her. Finally he wrestled her out of my arms. But I was desperate. I grabbed her back out of his arms and put her on my knitting chair. I covered her up with one of the couch's arm protectors, like a blanket, tucking her in like a child in bed. I stood over her, petting her sweet little head.
Blaine grabbed her and said he was going to take her to the vet in our neighborhood. There was nothing I could do but cry. The landlord came down from the ladder and went over to his side of the duplex, embarassed at having to be a witness to this personal scene.
When Blaine returned from the vet's he told me he had arranged for her to be buried in a lovely pet cementary in Kansas City, about 15 miles from where we live. He gave me their beautiful brochure and I read it. It was an extremely lovely and peaceful looking place. And the owners, pet lovers, declared that they pray for all deceased pets brought to them. And that the property is permanently designated a cemetary and can never be sold as land for anything else.
Needless to say......I cried and cried.