I received an email from a friend a few weeks ago.
You know the kind.
A happy spot in the inbox, one that garners an instant smile and makes your heart glad just knowing you are thought about and loved. I clicked on it instantly, bypassing all the others, and began to read, still with that silly grin all over my face.
You know the one.
It was a just checking in, thought of you, catching up kind of email. I had been rather quiet of late...
As I began to reply and write the happenings at Dogwood Manor, Ruth Hulbert Hamilton's verse came to mind:
"The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
For children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."
I suppose "kitten" could adequately replace "baby" in this verse since there aren't any little ones around here. Time has once again come to remind me quite harshly of its precious gift. As some of you know, TC, the attic dwelling feline of 18 tender years, was diagnosed with liver failure on September 5, 2012 and her condition was pronounced "guarded." I appreciate so much the phone calls and emails I've received inquiring about her as well as the support each of you has provided. My heart is full to bursting knowing she is cared about and loved. It has been quite the journey up hill and down for the last nine months with numerous vet visits and worried phone calls, fluid treatments, nutritional supplements, injections, and prescription food. She's experienced a critical allergic reaction to tuna (not fair!) and an episode of a viral infection, both causing dehydration and a temporary rapid health decline. There have been sleepless nights spent with her on the floor and days carrying her blanket wrapped around the backyard for stimulation to her senses.
There have been good times too, and celebrations of the days that were once taken for granted. In those early days of diagnosis, I feared she would not see another Halloween (her day to shine since she is "the blackest cat in all the land!"), only eight weeks away. But with caring, dedicated, and kind veterinary care and compassionate technicians, she's shown great improvement over her once guarded condition and is in a steady place for now. There have been some setbacks, but we continued to celebrate: a birthday, Thanksgiving (amazing how everyday gratefulness turns into grandeur gratitude!), and Christmas; the welcoming of a New Year; the celebration of love on Valentine's Day; and a gloriously beautiful Easter Sunday when she was able to enjoy a bit of an outing in the backyard. Spring has been slow to arrive but we have found many warm afternoons for a garden stroll in the sunshine. And of course, the every day; the small celebrations of her pawing my leg or nuzzling my face. Awakening in the early morning to find her nestled on my pillow along side of me. Seeing her proudly planted in the middle of the dining room table where she knows she isn't supposed to be! Ah, there was a time not so long ago when I would have scolded, insisted she return to the floor where she knew she belonged. But those days are yesterdays; I celebrate her strength in jumping and let her stay where she most wants to be. After a while, I scoop her in my arms for a bit of snuggling and a gentler return to the floor. The table can be cleaned, as I remember too well the September days spent entirely in her bed, too weak for any wandering or jumping at all.
And now we wait. A celebration of Summer in our near future. But we dare not hurry past the ordinary days - the ones of companionship and feeling well. The times I watch her sleep and hear the slight snore that has come with age. I watch her watch me as I carry her to the different windows to see the birds at the feeders we installed to provide stimulation over the Winter season when she couldn't be outside. I notice also she has lost her cat attitude - she truly misses me when I am gone for a few hours and presents her insistent, clingy little self upon my return, to be held and caressed. Reassured that someone loves and cares for her. And that I do, as I promised her I would in those seemingly yesterday, younger days when she first appeared as a wild, helpless kitten stranded high up in our cedar tree. Dh coaxed her down by placing the two-story ladder alongside the tree and lacing its branches with deli turkey, a delicacy even a tiny, frightened kitten found hard to resist. I would always take care of her in whatever way she needed. I promised.
We honor each day the best we can. My heart tells me these days are numbered. TC's condition can go from good to critical in only hours. It isn't that I celebrate because I believe she is getting better, for I know the reality and finality of liver disease. I celebrate because it is the only appropriate thing to do; to be gracious for what is; grateful for another day of feeling well; grateful for another day with our girl.
So, dear friends, if there aren't any comments on the flickr stream or your blog posts, or any card creations here in the Attic for a while, please know you are thought about and missed. Know too that I'm doing what I love, and lovin' what I'm doin':
'Cause kittens don't keep...
Cuddle your dear ones and your furry ones close this night. Precious time. Celebrate all of the blessed ordinary in each every day.