This is going to be a pretty personal post and it’s also going to be a pretty sad one. It’s been a little while since I’ve posted and I apologize for that but I hope you’ll understand things have been a bit difficult. On Monday, October 13th, my dear friend Rosa Tufts, passed away at 35 after a five year battle with cancer. I was lucky enough to get to see her the Friday before she passed and I’ll hold that memory with me for the rest of my life. She was laughing and smiling, even though she had been told she only had a few weeks left at the most. I can’t imagine staying that positive in the face of such devastating news but that was Rosa – always smiling in the face of exceptional challenges.
That’s Rosa (on the left). This was taken at a combined birthday party she threw for me and her sister whose birthday is the same day as mine. I have always preferred the company of cats to the company of people but Rosa was an exception and she often did her best to force me out of my self-imposed isolation to get out in the real world. She loved having a good time and she loved making sure the people around her had a good time as well. She usually succeeded. I remember feeling incredibly uncomfortable at this particular party because I didn’t really know anyone there but Rosa went out of her way to help me feel more comfortable. Although I started the evening feeling shy and awkward, she got me talking and she made sure by the time I left that I had a good time.
So why am I choosing to share this here? Allow me to explain. That sleeping ball of fluff in the photo above? That’s Mama Steve the day she arrived in my home in May of 2009. Back then, she was just this tiny little creature that needed and wanted all the love and attention she could get. I had no idea at the time how much happiness she would bring into my life but Rosa did. That’s why she went against my husband’s strict “No Cats” rule and brought this little girl to me as a birthday present. See, my husband and Rosa go way back – back further than Rosa and I by at least a decade. Rosa absolutely knew me better than anyone else and she knew I needed a cat to make my life feel complete. She also, however, knew my husband well enough to know that there was no way he wouldn’t fall head over heels in love with Steve the moment he saw her. And he did. And life became a lot sweeter and a lot happier – and it was all thanks to Rosa.
Rosa was right about Steve. While I was happy with my husband and generally happy with my life, I did need a little something extra to give my love and affection to. Connecting with people has always been difficult for me but I’ve always felt a weird kinship with animals, cats especially. When Steve arrived, she changed a lot for me. I took her with me everywhere and refused to stay away from home for too long. When the idea of another cat came up, I shot the idea down. Steve was enough for me. It was my husband (remember him? the guy that said NO CATS!!) that felt rather convinced the cute little lady in the photo above needed a friend. Three years and two months after Steve arrived, my husband came home with…
…what appeared to be more teddy bear than kitten. That, my friends, is Morgan or, as he is now known, Mookie. We spent the first several months of his life with us quite convinced he was a girl. Turns out, that was not accurate. Steve hated his guts from the moment she saw him but that hatred cooled quite significantly when he was about eight months old because…
…this happened on May 24, 2013. That was about the time we discovered our fluffy little girl Morgan was actually our fluffy little boy and we now had more kittens to care for. While we considered finding good homes for them, we eventually decided no one could give these kittens a better life than us. We decided to keep the family together and I haven’t regretted it even for a moment. While we lost one kitten about five weeks in, the four remaining members of the family are just as close as they’ve ever been. Daddy Mook is an amazing Dad, keeping a close eye on his boys at all times. Mama Steve prefers to stay by herself but she’s always there for me if I need a good cry or even a little snuggle. When Steve went into labour, she came to me – choosing to curl up on my belly in my bed and have her babies there. Gross as it may have been at first, knowing that she trusted me to keep her safe while she gave birth to her little ones made me really understand the bond she and I actually have. When I go to the dark places in my mind and think no one in this world would miss me, I can remember back to that moment and know for certain that someone really would. My baby Steve. All of that would not be true if it hadn’t been for Rosa decided I needed a little more love in my life.
The photo above was taken late one night when Rosa showed up at my house because she hadn’t seen me in a while and was thinking about me. As you may be able to tell, I wasn’t feeling the greatest but Rosa brought me around in a hurry. There are a million things I’ll miss about Rosa every day for the rest of my life but that visit really sums it all up. She was having a good time and she was going to make sure I was too. She didn’t care what time it was. She wanted to see me so she walked all the way from town to do it.
Earlier last week, I’d heard Rosa was in the hospital and might not make it through the night. I was also told she wouldn’t live to make it out of the hospital. At that time, she was only allowed family visitors and despite the fact that she’s had me listed as her sister on Facebook for years, I was pretty sure I didn’t count as family. A few days after I was told she wouldn’t make it out of the hospital, she rallied back and was able to go home. I went to see her as soon as I could. So when I told her I’d be back to see her again, I really thought I would be. Two days later, I got the news that she had passed. The last time I saw her, Rosa and I talked about the cats quite a bit. We didn’t talk about the fact that she was dying or that we might not see each other again. I wanted her to know that her gift to me was the main source of everything right and good about my life and I think I made that clear. When I left, she asked if I was going to visit her again. I promised I would. I thought I had time. I didn’t but I’ll hold the memory of our last visit close in my heart for the rest of my days.
As ridiculous as it might seem to some, Monday night, I sat down with Steve and told her Rosa had passed away. While I know that Steve is a cat and can’t really understand what I saw, I like to think she knew I was upset because she was a little extra affectionate and stuck closer to my side than normally independent and solitary Steve would. She gave me a few kisses on my hand and gave me a few extra bumps with the chin. I treated all the cats to a little extra wet cat food (their favourite – turkey in gravy) and held them a little closer. We like to think we’ve got all the time in the world to let the people and the animals in our lives know how much we love them but the sad truth is, we don’t know. That’s life, I suppose. Just hug your loved ones a little closer tonight and make a little effort to let them know you care. Call up that friend you haven’t spoken to in a while and let them know you’re thinking about them. As for The Cute, I promise my next post will be a lot heavier on he cuteness and a lot lighter on the sad. I’m going to be taking a little more time off but I’ll be back to regular posting in the very near future. Thanks for your patience and thank you for visiting. We appreciate you taking the time to stop by!