Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Our Non-Human Loved Ones

A friend and I went to a spiritual medium last week, Elizabeth Herrington, ( and if you’re in the market, I highly recommend her.  Pam, a long-time friend, and I were both hoping our mothers would come through.  They did, but that’s a story for another time.  Let’s just say we both received remarkable validation that Elizabeth was communicating with our mothers. 

But one of the most astounding moments during our hour-long reading occurred when Elizabeth described a grey-striped cat with my mother.  And I knew immediately who she was talking about—my Asa who’d traveled to the Rainbow Bridge back in the mid-80’s.  An outdoor cat, Asa had the run of the woods to the back and side of our house on Andrews Air Force Base—cat heaven!  Except for the four-lane highway, Route 5, bordering the woods nearby.  I don’t know if that’s where it happened or not, but when Asa didn’t come home for two weeks, I knew in my heart something terrible had happened to him. 

I was right.  One afternoon when I stepped out my front door, I heard a cat’s meow coming from the gated area where the garbage cans were kept.  I stepped inside, and there he was, looking up at me with his beautiful amber eyes.  At first, I was overjoyed.  My Asa was home!  But then he tried to come toward me, and that’s when I saw, to my horror, that he was dragging his hind quarters.  My joy at seeing him alive drained away.  I think I  knew, even then, that this was something he wouldn’t recover from.

On the way to the vet, as Frank drove, I held him on my lap.  He didn’t make a sound, just gazed up at me with those haunting eyes—eyes that held pain, and yes…I’m sure I wasn’t imagining it…resignation.  It was almost as if I could read his thoughts.  Make the pain go away, Mommy. 

I prayed during the short drive.  Please, God, let him be okay.  Let this be something that can be fixed. 

But it wasn’t to be.  After the vet examined him, he told us that Asa had suffered a spinal injury; he was paralyzed.  Nothing could be done, and it was better to put him out of his misery.

Frank and I returned home alone. I couldn’t stop crying.  I spent the next three days on the sofa, sobbing off and on.  Every cat food commercial broke my heart all over again.  How could it be so painful to lose a pet?  I felt like a part of my heart had been cut out and stomped on.  Along with the pain, I felt guilt.  If only I hadn’t allowed him to go outside.  I vowed then to never have another outside cat. 

The years passed and other pets came into our lives.  And inevitably, we suffered other losses.  Our beautiful white Golden Retriever, Kai, who came to live with us at three months old in Hawaii.  He lived to the age of 14, and the night before we had him euthanized, we took him to the Manassas Battlefield—one of his favorite places—for one last walk; he managed only a few feet before collapsing to the grass.  We served him a whole slice of pizza the morning before we left for the vet.  Again, we returned home in tears, and I took a solitary walk on the battlefield that afternoon to send up prayers and blessings to him.  And then last year, on the night of Mother’s Day, I sat with my beautiful 13-year-old orange-tabby, Ruby, in my lap, knowing it was our last night together.  Broken-hearted, we returned home without her, and even though we now have two beautiful kitties, Mario and Lily, whom I adore, I still miss my Ruby.  (She appeared in several of my books.)

So it was with some surprise that I learned that Asa was the cat with my mother, but Elizabeth went on to say that it was because he’d been in such pain, and wanted to thank me for taking care of him up to the end.  Elizabeth also said, contrary to some beliefs, pets do have souls, and someday we’ll be reunited with them.  I can just imagine how cool that will be—meeting all our loved ones who’ve passed on, and also being surrounded by all the non-humans we’ve loved throughout our lifetimes.  I can just imagine Kai and Asa and Ruby—and pets from my younger days, Gilbert and Marty and Carol Ann Kitty and Happy all playing together and vying for my attention.  Now, that will definitely be Heaven.  Until then, I know they are all up there with my mom, and she’s taking care of them.  Or they’re taking care of her.  J

Congratulations to Carrie Castro of Los Altos, California, my May website contest winner.  She won a copy of UNDERSTUDY and a piece of jewelry from Beautiful Evening Beads.  (www.beautifuleveningbead/  You can be next month’s winner.  Just go to my website and enter my contest.

As for news—my new novel, INCENSE & PEPPERMINTS, is finished, and is in the revision process.  As soon as I finish it, I’ll be sending it to an agent who has requested to read it, so wish me luck!  I’d dearly love to sell this one to a New York publisher, so we’ll see.  I did a book trailer for it, and you can see it here:

Also, TANGO’S EDGE will soon be available as an audio book at  I’m very excited about that because I had to listen to the complete book to approve it, and I got wrapped up in the story and couldn’t wait to hear more!  I know, I know…I wrote it.  But it had been a while since I’d read it, so it was like listening to a completely new story.  And the narrator, Amy Ulrich, does such a wonderful job (especially with Mikhail’s Russian accent) so it really captivated me.  I think it will captivate you, too. 

Well, that’s it for me this month.  I’ll be heading down to Destin, Florida in a few weeks to visit my darling grandsons.  It’s been over three months since I’ve had any preschooler hugs and kisses—and I’m suffering withdrawal! 

Have a fantastic June!!!