Saying Good-bye to Mitzy—a Tribute

How do you say good-bye to someone who has given so much happiness in her short life, so many occasions for laughter, or for unadulterated adoration? Mitzy and her sister, Bitsy, came into our lives over the summer. As my husband and I walked each day, followed by our guardian cat, Hochito, we were soon joined by the fluffy, bright kittens who ran down the hill to join us. Their long white and tabby fur seemed designed to enhance their appeal. They begged us to pet them, and the entire neighborhood was in love with them. We didn’t know that we would become their adoptive parents in the fall.

The Fluffies soon became members of the household. They suffered disapproving hisses from our two older cats, but never lost their affectionate dispositions or wide-eyed innocence. They loved us gently in turn, trading laps and purring softly. Sometimes they lay on their sides, paws almost touching. Then one would reach out and draw her sister’s head close and wash her lovingly. Or they would chase each other down the hallway, pouncing in ambush and instigating tussles.

Mitzy was the larger of the two, almost identical, girls, but we learned to recognize her by the polka dot marking her neck and the tiny freckle by her pink nose. Yesterday morning as I petted her, I never dreamed it would be the last time.

I was working on my latest story when I looked out the window to see a car stopped on the road between our wildwood yard and the pasture across the street. A small white form lay on the gray asphalt, and I instantly knew it was Mitzy. Bill heeded my call, and when I came outside, he was holding her close, his head bowed. He stayed there a long time in the freezing weather while I burst into tears and finally brought out his jacket. We came inside then, Bill still cradling her in his arms. She was perfect and seemingly alive. Not a single mark of violence marred her beauty, and her eyes were open and clear. Her body was warm and her silken fur soft to our touch.

Today, while tears still slide down my cheeks, it seems I can see her yet, here, there, and everywhere. Bitsy is quiet, subdued. She has seen her sleeping sister, but knows that Mitzy will not jump up to play with her again.

Why do our hearts break so easily when a pet dies? Is it losing their quirky little personalities, their unquestioning love? Or is it the sense of how much they depend upon us, and yet ask so little; food, a kind hand, shelter from the storm?

One reason may be the simplicity of the relationship. Love between humans, with the exception of infants and children, is complicated, filled with judgments, expectations, demands, and a degree of uncertainty. A careless remark to a friend could become a grudge, a thoughtless act lose a lover. Yet when we trip over the dog, step on our cat’s tail, or leave them locked in the house or garage for hours on end, we don’t worry. Forgiveness is never a question.

We won’t forget Mitzy, the graceful little cat, who brought beauty and joy into our lives. We will remember her gentle paws and the oh so gentle kitten kisses on our fingers, the trill of her morning purr telling us it’s time to get up. She will live in our memories, and we will not begrudge our tears as we recall the happy little face that looked so lovingly and trustfully into ours.

Published in: on February 28, 2011 at 9:28 am  Comments (6)  
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When Things Go Right

It is a strange and wonderful feeling to actually sign your name to a book contract. I’m not sure I believe it yet. After a high point of excitement, I thought I was very cool about it and gave myself pats on the back for not being overly puffed up or jittery. At last, I thought, age brings a benefit or two. My emotions have become manageable. I’ve matured and can take life as it comes. My interest in philosophy is paying off, reminding me that “this too shall pass away.” Cool, huh?

I felt sure I’d have no trouble sleeping the night before the signing. I’d just drift into slumber. Wrong! My mind raced and scrolled like an Internet connection gone mad. The clock steadily ticked away. I must have drifted off somewhere around four o’clock, because when the cats began their morning chorus, I was in no mood to rise. Then, I remembered! This was the day!

At one o’clock, I presented myself to the Puddletown Publishing Group directors, Susan Landis-Steward, Renee LaChance, and Lisa Nowak. Thankfully I was immediately put at ease, so the segue into the purpose of our meeting was smooth. The contract was clear-cut, all points covered, and questions answered. I was ready to sign when someone said, “Wait, the camera.” I paused, pasting a grin on my face. The shutter clicked. For the capper, I was presented with a bar of F. Guittard Tsaratana chocolate. What a classy way to seal a deal.

Volunteer for Glory is now in the hands of Puddletown staff for copyediting. It’s been almost two whole days now, and I think I’m coming down to earth. When I see Volunteer as an e-book or in paperback, you might hear a champagne bottle blowing its cork!

A toast to Puddletown Publishing Group and its success! You can access their website here and their blog here.

As if this event wasn’t enough, I just received word from Veronica Esaqui that my interview is now available to see and hear on her website. Scroll down to my name, which is #27 on the list. I won’t know when my particular interview will air on TV, but should get that information from the producer in the next few weeks. I’ll post it then, but for folks who don’t get the local Comcast cable channel, the website is the best bet.

Published in: on February 10, 2011 at 10:45 am  Comments (3)  
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