Mei Kitty, 2014-2021

You had a good run, baby kitty.

Seventeen is seriously geriatric in cat years, and it was only in the past few years that you really started to feel your age. You were a real trooper with your thyroid pills and acid reflux tablets. We couldn’t believe how OK you were with having medicine shoved down your throat… although treats will make almost anything tolerable. Except maybe nail trimming.

In the end, it was probably your enlarged heart that finally got the best of you. Your abdomen had filled with fluid, and you were having difficulty breathing. The vet told us you were critical, and that you could only get worse.

It’s been exactly one month since we said our final goodbyes in that little room at the vet’s office. We didn’t want to let you go. It was the right thing to do, the humane thing to do, but it was so hard.

So, so hard.

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My Condolences

As Connor and I sat idling in the loop line at school this morning, the stickers on the vehicle next to me caught my attention.

I couldn’t quite make out the dates, but it looked like this woman’s sister passed just a couple years ago.

Normally, an SUV bedecked with a memorial would stoke my empathy and curiosity, but only for a moment. Maybe it was because I sat there behind this Lexus for a good five minutes before the school began letting kids in, but something about this memorial just got me right in the feels. I think it was the added touch of the customized license plate that finally did it for me.

Sometimes rear-window memorials seem overdone or gaudy, but this just struck me as… genuine?

After we all drove around to the side entrance and I waited my turn to pull forward, I watched the kids climb out of their Mom’s car.

Sorry about your Aunt Jessica.

Barb Thomas, 1954-2019

Barb Thomas and her grandkids

The subject line always makes my heart jump into my throat: “Loss of a Coworker / Friend.” Whether I knew the person or not, it always hurts a little to have death made real, and I always feel for their immediate co-workers and family.

When it’s someone I know, though… it can be heartbreaking.

I didn’t know Barb well enough to wax poetic about her for very long, but I know she was a strong woman, a fighter, and a fascinating combination of optimist and pragmatist.

She and her son came to my house years ago to rid me of the trumpet creeper that caused me so much allergic grief. I got the impression she volunteered her son to dig it up and take it away for me, but she insisted that they’d love to have this flowering vine at their house, since they weren’t allergic like I was, so it was a win-win situation. (They didn’t actually get to enjoy its flowers, unfortunately, as they moved to an apartment not long after.)

Kevin pulling vines while Barb looks on

She loved her grandkids and would gladly talk about their various triumphs, academic and otherwise. I got the impression she was the rock of her family, and my heart hurts thinking of what they all must be going through right now.

Several of us at work had been wondering where she was and how she was doing. Turns out that she’d been on medical leave recently; she made it no secret that she was a survivor of cancer, among other medical issues. I only wish I’d sought her out while she was still alive, instead of just assuming she’d be back soon to tell us all about her medical leave and how she made it through once again.