I guess I have been incredibly blessed in my life. I haven't had to say goodbye to many loved ones. That is good, because I am not good at it. Truth to tell - I NEVER really have said goodbye to any of them. I keep them with me.
My parents collected Oriental art. I grew up surrounded by wonderful museum-quality pieces. Dad would rather have a piece of art than food if given the choice. As we were growing up, Dad would tell me over and over about each piece. If Chinese, the dynasty it was created in and what else was done during that historical time. If Japanese, the area it came from. He told me where he bought each piece, what was going on in his life at the time, and why that particular piece appealed to him. I am now surrounded in my own home by many of these pieces. I hear Dad's voice every day as I sit in front of the Chinese screen, as I pass by and pat my Foo Dogs on the head, as I look up to see the old old Ginger jars. More than anything I treasure a needlepoint piece hanging on my dining room wall that he did not too many years before he died. We would sit for hours in Florida and needlepoint together. He is still with me.
The two women I loved DEARLY who have died were my grandmother ( she was already the subject of a blog I wrote) and my best friend for 46 years- Donna. Both women couldn't have been more different, but they both had the same obsession - jewelry. My grandmother was the strongest woman I have ever known, and Donna the weakest. When my grandfather went off with other women, my grandmother bought diamonds. Donna had a sad life from start to finish. She made herself feel better by buying jewelry. I have been the unwitting recipient of their purchases and I treasure each piece. I wear them according to my needs of the moment. If I need strength ( and lately fighting the frivolous and expensive lawsuit from the other Two's Company I need it a lot) I wear a little or mass quantities of my grandmother's jewelry. I have been piling it on lately to gain strength from it and from her. I feel close to her with it on. In dealing with my daughters, I wear Donna's jewelry to commemorate what she went through with her daughter. I know they are both close by.
And so it was with incredible sadness that I had to face the end of Doodle's life. Doodles was bought by my daughter many years ago. Jennifer had 2 other cats. Doodles wasn't a social cat at that time. However, I always felt she was mine. She would come out of hiding whenever I went over there. I would sneak over when no one was home to groom her and help with the huge knots she would get in her long silky hair. After a while, Doodles retreated to a closet and refused to come out. Jennifer, at her wits end, was going to either put her down or bring her to me. So - to the shop she came. From the first day, she was the epitome of the perfect shop cat. She was at the door to greet each and every customer. She never tried to run away. She never got into the thousands of skeins of threads readily available. She was by the door waiting when I got there and went to the door with me in the evenings. Last year, she started limping and losing weight. We tried cortisone shots, and they worked for a while. Later tests showed cancer was the problem. I could keep the pain at bay for her with drops of painkillers. They worked for the past few months. I brought her home to be by my side more. She never left my side when I was here - watching me all the time.
On Wednesday, Doodles couldn't stand up. I called the Vet to see if I could up her pain medication and was told that that would make her violently ill. I knew the time had come to make the decision I did not want to make - so I made the appointment. I ran out of the house to buy a camellia bush. I have never had one - and I wanted one so that every time I looked off my back porch I would see Doodles. Enter my husband. I am amazed men and women are from the same planet. I told him of my decision. His first question "How much will they charge?" Did it matter? He told me he would put her down for me quickly and painlessly - and for free. We have no gun. I was picturing him bashing out her brains or wringing her neck. He was not my favorite person at that moment. I told him to dig the hole and I'd be back.Only when he saw the tears did he give up his quest to go to the Y and work out and he dug my hole. I needed everything in place. I took Doodles. As usual, her eyes never left my face, and it was that way until I saw the life totally go out of them. She was watching me and I was watching her- my hand on her paw. I brought her home, put her in her bed, and put it in the hole. Over her went bags of miracle grow. It has only been 3 days, but there are flower buds breaking out all over that plant. I still cry every time I look at it, but I will always see Doodles hopefully for as long as I am here.
Now I have to be a big girl. Megan and Deb were at the shop yesterday for the last time. For 9 years, Megan, Deb, Doodles and I were at the shop. Megan and Deb are thankfully alive and well, but Megan is moving to Shreveport and deb to Dallas - both going to exciting new jobs. I wish them well -but again, they will be gone but not forgotten. Saturdays will be hard for a while.