Friday, August 28, 2015

Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day - Aug 28



On our first, hopefully, annual Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day we want to honor  those beloved animals who came into our lives, changed them and left indelible marks on our souls for however short or long they were with us.  Thank you to Deb Barnes of Zee and Zoey blog fame, for hosting this special day.

I have put writing this post off until the last minute not knowing where to start.  I have lost so many cats in the past few years with more to go as they age.  This, to me, is the only drawback of rescuing animals. But with each heartache comes a special gift or lesson that each animal has for us


I had one dog Bunny, a cocker/poodle/terrier mix, when I was a teenager who died at age 11 of cancer.  She was extremely intelligent, funny and energetic.  She taught herself to alert me of any new sounds in the house if I was home alone since I was hearing impaired.  She left me her gift of exuberant joy.


My first cat didn't come into my life until Chica, who found me in Florida in 1991.  Maybe because she was my first, she was my heart and soul cat.  Yoko join us two years later and then in 1998 we moved to the North Carolina mountains and my work with feral cats began.

I worked with a local vet to trap, neuter and release the ferals living in a colony in the woods behind our farmhouse.  So many were not even named, their lives with us were so brief, as it often is with ferals. Bob and Leroy just vanished on different days when they were both about six months old.  I have to think that some wild animal got them.  The ones that survived and thrived became a part of our lives and as they aged we took them into our home. 

Momma Kitty was the first to leave us in 2003 on my birthday.  She had been ill during a really hard winter but had eluded my attempts to catch her.  When I did we took her to the vet and he said she was just days away from dying.  He body was filled with tumors.  We let her go surrounded by our love. She left behind her nurturing peaceful nature.


After two hurricanes blew through our town in early fall 2004, I noticed Big Guy, the head feral mancat was getting weaker as the days went by.  He lay limp on the second level of the feral shelter we built, unable to move.  I rushed him to the vet but there was nothing we could do - his huge benevolent heart was giving out.  He died peacefully in my arms, the only time I was ever able to hold him.  Big Guy taught me compassion and benevolence, watching him rule over his beloved colony.

Two weeks later our most recent addition Clarence, a regal stray who wandered into our yard, not part of the colony, died in his sleep under the bedroom chair with a faint glimmer of a smile on his face.  He lived with us just 18 months and had been ill for the last six.  At least he knew our love  for a short time. He showed us how to live with dignity no matter what our circumstances.

Nick, one of the few ferals still outside at this point, became ill so we took him inside and nursed him.  He had lymphoma and  left us in 2006. Nick's gift to us was his eternal goofiness and love of play. Mannie followed him a few months into 2007 after a vet badly handled a urinary blockage.  He was only two years old.  This was getting harder to lose so many but we did have a few years of health and longevity. 

My main man Joey left us for the Bridge in 2012 suffering from cancer.  He was the one cat welcome committee to all newcomers. Everything was a wonderful fun thing to him. He left us his zest for life.



Then we come to the hardest loss - my dear Chica who lived to be 22 years old.  I didn't want her to leave and I guess she didn't want to either.  She passed from heart issues on my birthday in March of 2013.  She was a part of me like no other cat could ever be.  We went through so much together.  Part of me died with her but I know she lives on in my heart.  She taught me to speak up for what I want.  She never lacked for anything - she just took it.  She made me smile.

Yoko was the quiet one and her favorite was my husband. She was our Buddha cat - doing everything very slowly, methodically and focused.  She ate deliberately, savoring and chewing every bite.  She even made biscuits slowly, with her eyes closed in a blissed out state of contentment. We lost her to oral cancer in December of 2013.  Being with her, taught us patience - to sit, and not rush around, to be still and savor each moment.

Lily was another loss that was almost too hard to bear.  She was our mother figure - giving birth to all the white cats before we could trap her.  Even while living in the house with us she was forever caring for us - sitting with us when we were not well, ever on the alert to noises and the goings on of the other cats.  We lost her at age ten to oral cancer in April of 2015.  Her gift was her love and caring.


 This day falls on the day after the month anniversary of Ivy's passing.  She left this world suddenly on July 27, 2015 after throwing a blood clot in her hind leg. It is hard to believe it is four weeks since she was with us last.  I still hear her funny quack and look for her in the TV console, expecting her to be napping on the receiver snug and warm. She was funny, silly and loved to play.  Everything about her was comical.  She left a big hole in our hearts.  Her gift was the laughter and smiles she brought to us all.

We miss you all dear ones and know that you will be there at the Rainbow Bridge to greet us when we arrive.  Until then, we will see you in our dreams.











29 comments:

Fuzzy Tales said...

Hugs and purrs to you, Cheri. You've written a beautiful post, so filled with love and respect for all who have graced your life.

Peace.

meowmeowmans said...

What a beautiful and moving post, Cheri. Thank you for opening your hearts to so many, and for loving so deeply. Purrs, prayers and hugs to you as you remember your beloved Angels.

The Swiss Cats said...

What a beautiful post ! Hugs and purrs.

da tabbies o trout towne said...

guys....we noe thiz yeer haz knot been eazee...by any meenz....manee thanx two yur mom for sharin theeze memoreez.....it waz veree nice two reed about yur hole familee....we noe they R... & all ways will be ....... missed.... & loved ~~~~~~~ ♥♥♥

{ we loves de quote by Richard Bach }

Sweet Purrfections said...

What wonderful memories of your past fur children. They all touched our hearts in their own special way and made our life the better for it.

Flynn said...

What a beautiful tribute to all your fur babies who wait at the Bridge. It is so hard when they leave, but you gave them the love they wouldn't have known if they hadn't come to you. (((hugs)))

Brian said...

Those are such great memories and we know how tough it was to write. As you know, we couldn't do it, although we did post a pic of Facebook. Love and hugs from all of us dear friends.

Summer said...

Purrs to you as you remember so many lives today. <3

Lola The Rescued Cat said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful memories.

Melissa, Mudpie and Angel Truffles (Mochas, Mysteries and Meows) said...

This has been such a special day remembering our beloved pets who live forever in our hearts.

Deb Barnes said...

This was just so very touching, beautiful, haunting, and eloquent. Thank you for sharing - I know it was not easy for you, but it was so beautiful to meet these darling babies of yours. As someone who has opened her heart and home countless times over the years to cats (and dogs) that first graphic was so, so beautiful - xoxo from Mr. Jazz, Deb, Purr Prints of the Heart and the Zee/Zoey Gang

pilch92 15andmeowing said...

This is a beautiful post. Nice to learn about all these wonderful souls you had the honor of knowing.

The Island Cats said...

What a beautiful post. Purrs....

Cathy Keisha said...

Such a nice tribute to your babies. Rest in peace to all the pets who came before. They are still very much loved. Sending some healing purrz to Minnie cos I don’t want her in next year’s collage.

Marty the Manx said...

Cheri your post was beautiful. Sending you a huge {{hug}} and soft purrs today.
Marty and Mom

The Island Cats said...

Purrs as you remember those that came before.

Eileen said...

Such a beautiful tribute to so many of the special cats you've loved and cared for over the years. Thank goodness you were there for them.

Marg said...

Sounds like lots of great memories. It is kind of fun remembering all our kitties, doggies, horses and donkey and goats.

Christy Paws said...

That was so beautiful. You have loved and helped so many kitties.

ANGEL ABBYGRACE said...

Cheri this is such a heart tugging post, seeing all that you've been through over the past few years not to mention this year alone. It is so hard to lose these beautiful animals, whose life span is far far too short,even if it spans two decades it is far too short. Thank you for sharing them with us. We mourn with you.

Purrs to you on this day of remembrance.

Timmy Tomcat said...

A wonderful post. That furst saying really grabbed Dad. He feels the losses along with the great giving our angels have tried to give each in their own way.
Love is the most powerful of all
Timmy

Anonymous said...

Special and comforting purrs as you remember your furbabies today.
Purrs Georgia and Julie,
Treasure and JJ

Karen Jo said...

Wonderful post. Hugs and purrs.

Caren Gittleman said...

(((hugs))) and purrs for an exquisite post. I envy all of you who have had so many fur babies in your past...but the only hard part, is you had to witness more of them leave. You were blessed though, to have such special beings grace your life
xoxo
catchatwithcarenandcody

Fur Everywhere said...

*hugs* Each of our fur babies definitely leave us with lessons and memories to remember them by. Thank you for taking such great care of the feral kitties in your area. They are lucky to have you. <3

Jans Funny Farm said...

Such a lot of loss and sadness, yet so much happiness and love. :)

Sweet Purrfections said...

Even though there can be some sadness as we remember those fur children from the past, there are also some fond memories of the love that was shared.

Hannah and Lucy said...

We are sending hugs to you all and know that you will remember each and everyone of them.
Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

Fuzzy Tales said...

Just popping back to see how you're all doing...continuing to send purrs, especially to Minnie.

Peace.

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