Never Enough Time
Recently a major city animal hospital purchased several dozen of Lakota’s sympathy card. I told them his story and said the anniversary of his passing was coming soon, and what better remembrance of him than knowing that his image and sentiment will be sent out by veterinarians to comfort clients they know well who’ve recently lost a cat.
And what better tribute to a cat who lived to be 20 only to find himself in need of a home? Though he was here for only six weeks he made a huge impact on me, on my household, and many of you who follow me. I knew his time was limited when he arrived and was happy and indeed charmed when he turned on the charm of that big personality and one more time explored and conquered another human and another household while his quieter fur sister, Emeraude, watched from her bed in the bathroom.
I got far too much credit for my part in Lakota’s life here. Indeed, it’s not easy to take in an animal knowing that it will die in your care without leaving behind a lifetime of memories. Unless you work in animal medicine, geriatric, palliative and hospice care are something learned only through the experience of many losses of animal companions you love deeply, and you learn to do things you’d never dream of because it keeps them comfortable for one more day, until the day they tell you their time has come. One of the most common hesitations at fostering or adopting an elderly pet are that they will die soon and that will hurt. Well, yes, but in taking in a geriatric pet or one with a serious chronic or end-of-life condition it’s really not about your feelings. They hurt much more in their condition, and after living as long as they did, in dying before they are ready. I am no more compassionate than anyone else who has rescued an animal, I have only been carefully taught by a household of cats who loved me enough to show me how important it is to do this for an animal.
We lost him August 1, 2013 and I knew that his experience should be remembered, and it’s my promise to the felines who spend some measure of their life, and their death, with me that I ensure they are not forgotten.
What do you say about a cat you didn’t have enough time to get to know but will never forget? There was time enough to love him, and whether you are together just days or decades, that’s the most important thing. At the other end of the spectrum rescuers lose young kittens every day, ones they may have known for only a few hours but came to love intensely watching that little life struggle for existence and not have the strength to overcome whatever odds have come against them.
So I put all that into a card that bears Lakota’s image and carries his memory as long as the cards are around. It’s one of the things I proudly say about the things I create—they aren’t stock images, they are based on cats I know and love, and the sentiments come from my heart, not pulled from the air because they sound nice, but drawn from my experience of living with that cat. It was important that my sympathy cards be created that way, and people notice it, and are happy they have a sincere experience to share.
I actually remember Lakota a little bit each day, but in the last few days I’ve been remembering his brief life with us here, and his passing with fondness and a big smile. Who could help it looking at that face?
You can read more about Lakota here.
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10 thoughts on “Never Enough Time”
Beautiful words, Bernadette, and so true. Can you hear Lakota purring?
Wow…what a lovely tribute to be shared with so many. I love the verse, too.
Lakota continues to touch hearts through your words and pictures.
So timely, so true.
We sure do recall Lakota’s story, with much fondness and a few tears. We’re so glad his memory lives on to give others who grieve some measure of comfort through your cards.
And we’re voting for you daily!
You have gone through so much love and heartache with the kitties you have taken in..Even though I know that you do not like to take any credit for what you do..What you gave to Lakota in his last weeks was indeed priceless..I have often thought “How does she do it” but I have never ever doubted why you do it..I believe that you do it because it’s the right thing to do..just that simple..
As you were going through your goodbyes to Lakota, I was doing the same with my Abby. Today is a hard day for me because one year ago I thought she had turned a corner, only to find in retrospect it was her last hurrah, things went downhill from that point until she dies August 12, 2013. The truth is as you stated it so simply on his card. never enough time, but time to love and especially for Lakota to feel the love as he made his exit. Abby while having to meander her to me, found her heart and soul human where she was lovingly worshiped (and still is) for 8 years and 2 months exactly. I miss her. Still. Terribly. But I am so very grateful for all she gifted me with and the love we have.
I remember that time, Angel AbbyGrace–that was just after the time I met you last year. In retrospect, so sad to think you were facing another unexpected and painful loss so soon after her. If we knew what was coming, would we have done anything differently? Considering the gifts she left you and the love you still feel and always will, I think I know what your answer might be. As time carries us away from that time of loss what we remember is the love. I’m so glad they found Annabelle for you.
I love this card Bernadette…It’s a beautiful picture of Lakota. I’m glad he gets to live on in this way.
Sued51, he was really amazing and I’m so glad I had the chance to capture just a bit of him here.