Losing Your Best Friend

Bill's Blog
Louise Steffen with Rosie both smiling_1539752557111.jpg.jpg

We just got back from Tennessee.  We went down to pick up my mother’s cat and bring it back to Michigan.  Mom is going into a retirement home and it just isn’t practical to bring the cat along.  The pic. above is Rosie and my mother, who turned 99 years old in July.  The cat is now living with my daughter #3 in Traverse City (we have 2 cats already and would have taken Rosie if daughter #3 did not). 

My sister and mother both live in Oak Ridge TN.  My sister volunteers at the local animal shelter and currently has 2 dogs and 5 cats.  My mother didn’t want a cat because she was afraid she would step on the cat’s tail.  Lo and behold, a couple of years ago, the shelter got a stay cat that had been hit by a car and had to have its tail amputated.  So…mom took Rosie.  Rosie was a very loving and easy to care for lap cat.  She would follow my mother from room to room.  For nearly two years they were inseparable.  Rosie really loved to drink water from a trickle from the faucet.  Mom liked to sit in her screened porch and read, while Rosie would sit on the table next to her and be entertained by the passing people, cars and wildlife (lots of birds and squirrels…once in a while even a fox or deer).  My sister thought that Rosie would not be a good fit with the dogs and cats she already has, so Rosie is now in Cherryland.

It’s hard to say goodbye to your best friend.  It’s happened a lot to my mother.  Dad passed away in 2004.  One by one, her friends from church and the neighborhood passed away.  She’s the only one in the family left from that generation.  One of her best friends died suddenly of a heart attack just weeks after retiring.  She was friends with two retired ladies in her condo complex and both of them passed away.  One disadvantage to living to be 99 is that so many of the people that you know leave the stage and you’re often left alone to end the play.  We saw a couple of tears as mom gave Rosie one more big hug before we put her in the crate for the trip to Michigan (which we did in one day).  I was apprehensive about the trip north.  I hadn’t take a cat more than two miles to the vet before, much less over 600 miles in a day.  Rosie was perfectly behaved.  She did not use the litter box on the trip, ate and drank very little, and spent much of the time staring quietly out the windows. 

We’re giving mom lots of love…I try and send my mother several postcards every week, along with an occasional longer letter with maybe a clipping or two from the web or the newspaper.  Hopefully, she’ll make some new friends in the retirement home.  I know she’ll be going to many of the activities they have at the home.  We plan on going back down to see her in November (we may drive down 4 or even 5 times this year).  We’re planning a big party for her 100th birthday next July – she’s already the oldest member of our family ever. and that’s going back as far as we can go. 

I called daughter #3 and she said Rosie was adjusting fine…liked sitting in the chairs.  Since my daughter and her husband do a lot of their work at home, Rosie will have people around her most of the time. 

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