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Posts from the ‘Loss’ Category

Toki the Man Cat

Toki can best be described as a man trapped in a cat’s body, something like Salem the cat on the television series Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Of course, unlike the fictional Salem, Toki did not speak, but we always understood him well enough. Our family will never again know his equal, he was our cat, but most of all he was our friend. He was under the care of our local veterinarian for an asthmatic like illness…which soon became apparently something more. Toki our beloved man-cat spent the last several days in a coma-like state at home, until this morning when we made the decision as a family to put him to rest.

The decision to put Toki to sleep was not an easy one, we had hoped that he would die at home in his own bed comfortably. Unfortunately, it did not work out that way, as Toki did not want to go any more than we wanted him to leave. We quickly discovered that we needed to intervene on his behalf, having realized the resilience of cats in general but especially of our beloved Toki.

My mama in law and I held him and talked to him, and spilled tears all over him in the vet’s office this morning. It took two injections to put him down. The first stopped his breathing but not his warrior heart beat. After the second injection, he quickly slipped away, and I gently scooped him up in my arms and we brought him home with us.

It is hard to help your friend die, it is even harder to lay them to rest in the cold dark ground on a rainy winter day. A four-foot hole just did not seem big enough to contain a creature that was so incredibly loved by his family. We returned him to mother-earth wrapped in a white swaddling blanket, with herbs and flowers from the garden. Spring just won’t be the same without him.

Toki will be missed by everyone who loved him, as well as everyone who knew him. He will be missed by his brothers, our dogs, Banjo, and Monkee. He will be missed by the neighborhood cats as well, as they have been frequently crying at our front door, having noticed his absence. He may even be missed by our other cat, dot, if only a little.

One thing about Toki was he loved to have his picture taken. He loved to be around my camera period, and would frequently attend photo sessions conducted by me at home, whether he was the subject or not. Most often, however, Toki was my favorite subject, especially before Jack, but even still after. He loved the clicking of the shutter and would hold so perfectly still you could see the tips of all his hairs in the close-up.

Here are photos of my dearly departed friend, he’s gone to the happy hunting grounds. Every time I find a dead bat by my back door or a decapitated hummingbird under the feeder, I’ll take comfort in knowing that he’s up to his old tricks again.

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Nine Years

Saturday, October 7, 2006; I was 18 and living with my grandmother. I awoke to a day much like any other since I had begun staying with her. I sipped my coffee on the front porch, checked my myspace on her computer. Later, we sat together in her living room watching a movie and chatting. Then the phone rang.

My grandmother answered the phone, and I could tell by the tone of the call that something horrible had happened. My first assumption was that it had to do with my elderly great-grandmother, but when my grandmother hung up she turned to me and said “your mother passed away.” I was struck with shock and disbelief, my brain could not process this sudden and tragic news. I felt sick as I recalled the last time I had seen my mother the week before, we had a fight, I was angry with her. I never got to apologize. My mother was 38 years old.

So many things have happened in my life since that day. I moved from Oregon to California to be with Jeremy, who is now my husband. I lost my first pregnancy in 2008, married Jeremy who was my high school sweetheart in 2012, gave birth to our son Jack prematurely in 2014.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her, or wish she was here, or regret our last conversation. My mother didn’t get to watch her three children reach adulthood or hold her grandbabies. I have a mark on my soul that will always show. I do my best to honor her memory in my own way. Sometimes my way is not completely understood by all, but that is the result of my lack of closure.

I remember Jeremy telling me soon after my mother passed, and after he asked me to come and live with him in California, that he would share HIS mother with me. He meant it too. My mother-in-law is a mother to me just as equally as she is to her own children. She offers me unconditional love and support and encouragement in ways that I never expected. So much so that calling her my mother-in-law is something I do only to explain in public that my husband is not my brother. I call her “mom” when I don’t call her “grammy”. I don’t ever want to lose her because I know just how heartbreaking that is, and the thought of going thru that all over again is enough to reduce me to tears. I tell her all the time that she is not allowed to go anywhere, and I mean it. She is a pillar of strength, a beacon of light on my darkest days. I can’t imagine where I’d be without her guidance. She is my best friend.

When my Husband’s father died unexpectedly last March, I knew just how he felt. Though I could offer him no help, no comfort. I cannot feel painful feelings for him as much as want to, and now he too knows what I mean when I say that his mother isn’t allowed to go anywhere. We do have some consolation, our son Jack. He is comprised of pieces of all of our loved ones. We know in our hearts that our loved one’s who have passed watch over and protect him. Jack’s grammy loves him madly, and we are so fortunate to all be under the same roof together, I am grateful for that every day. Jack WILL grow up to know his grammy, to love her and learn from her, to make her laugh out loud and smile wide. I won’t have it any other way.

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