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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Doggy Bucket List

Photo Credit: Lauren Fern Watt as seen in:

I am not a dog owner, but I am a cat owner. However, when I saw this on Yahoo! when checking my e-mail, I wanted to read it because I know even with cats I have had in the past (and a chinchilla), losing them is very hard. Oh man, water works!

I have to say 6/11 is my favorite:
Cuddle as much as possible
Sure Gizelle was bigger than me, but she never knew it. After I discovered she was dying, dog hair on my once-forbidden bed and slobber on my face didn’t seem to matter as much as spending time cuddling with Gizelle. She helped teach me that love is the most wonderful gift I can receive, and it is the best thing I have to give. My lap became her desired seat, and it was awesome. 

Though, 11/11 is where the water works really took off:

Sit on the beach in the winter
I was told Gizelle wouldn’t make it until Christmas, but in January we sat by the ocean in Maine as it snowed the day before she died. Part of me wondered if this was her plan all along, to take me on an adventure, knowing we’d end up on a deserted beach alone. The sky was white, the trees were bare, and even the birds were hiding. The whole world felt lifeless, and it was hard to believe this beach was once filled with rainbow-colored umbrellas and cute boys lathered in SPF. It was then I realized that I was okay with letting Gizelle go. Just like I had faith that the trees would sprout lime green leaves again and kids with yellow buckets would splash in the water once more, I had faith I’d carry Gizelle with me. Even in the emptiness of that beach that day, I could see Gizelle running free long the shore, rolling in the sand, awkwardly spooked by approaching waves. I knew she would live on through my experiences, and that I gave her the best life I could. And that to me was infinitely healing.

I actually feel like writing a poem about this because the image is so beautiful. I do think letting go of an animal as well as a human we love so much is painful, but when we realize that our loved ones live on through our experiences, memories and everything else, there is a sort of healing to it.

Follow me to the beaches with the white sparkling sand,
in the crystal blue waters and in the shining sun, take my hand--
remnants of umbrellas, suntan bottles, volleyballs and cute boys,
waves, canoes, cars that traveled miles and miles to bring you toys.
Your slobbery kisses that comforted me to sleep every night,
cuddles on my small couch, knowing end is near, I hold you tight.
Yet, as an angel extends her hand toward you,
she welcomes with open arms; I move past blue--
that angel will walk with me through my life as you
and the memories we have shared over the years is healing too.

Here's a poem I wrote about my cat Olivia's death in April 2012. I wrote it in April 2014 for National Poetry Write Month:

For My Baby Tuxedo (Cat) Girl: Olivia

Oh, Olivia! my Olivia! Although you spent years in squalid conditions and neglect,
your struggle was overcome once you were placed at the Kitty Cottage, you warmed up quickly.
The elderly volunteers just doted over you and thus put you on my lap to hold!
We welcomed you into our house, along with Mimi, and instantly filled our hearts with joy!
Oh Olivia! my Olivia! wipe your tears and rise; Rise for the heavens are filled with warm blankets
Party Mix and now nan's gentle hands that you loved so,

Olivia, your tuxedo coat shines in the glistening sun,
For you everyone called you, their faces lighting up as you licked;
playing with catnip or belly rubs! dear Olivia, we all loved you!
Nan especially, her hand rubbing under chin!
That night she heard of your demise, she cried,
and it seems like this cold year death surely did win.

My Olivia does not answer, her eyes are closed and still,
my Olivia does not feel my tears, she has no cuddles nor will,
for thirteen years she struggled, the last four safe and sound,
we were her refuge from abuse; her journey now done,
from a turbulent and calm sail, it was her heart that won;
Praise! May she bring others hope!
But, as dad and I drive home awash with dread,
in a white Styrofoam container, my Olivia
lies soggy, limp, cold and dead.

I want to extend my condolences to Lauren and all of my readers who have lost fur kids and close humans in the past few months.