Music and Farm, The Cycle of Life

In Loving Memory – Willow

Willow, taken back in October, 2015. One can see the love between these two elder ladies, one human, one feline. Rick’s mother, holding her here in this photo, passed away in December, 2015. Willow has now joined her elderly companion.

There comes a time when the body is too worn and tired to continue, and the spirit longs for freedom from it.  Willow, by all reckoning 22 years old, had been losing ground to extreme old age and failing kidneys.   The intervals between her trips to her veterinarian had become shorter and shorter this year, and she had been placed on subcutaneous fluids for hydration these last few weeks.  There came the dreaded but expected morning when she made it known that it was time to assist her departure from this life, with all the infirmities of her age and chronic illness.  She went for her last ride to her veterinarian that afternoon.  We are extremely grateful to River’s Edge Pet Medical Center for their compassion and support.

Willow, in younger days, reading a card from her friends, Doug (human), Andy and Dougy (cats) over at Weggie Boy’s Blog, Doug has Wegener’s granulomatosis- now called GPA- that attacks the small and medium-sized blood vessels in the body, and is on dialysis due to kidney failure.

Willow was laid to rest the following morning at sunrise, on the farm she loved so well, facing the eastern light.

It is here I will close my own thoughts, and leave readers with an eloquent note I received from an old friend and long-time mentor, back in 2015 when Rick’s mother passed away.  We had cared for his mother in our home for over three years, until her body finally gave in to the infirmities of old age. Willow, her elderly companion cat, was there with her when she died.  This note from our friend still brings us great comfort.

“I join you in your sorrow and joy.  I am aware that getting old is mostly a matter of letting things go, giving up many thoughts and dreams that we compile during our lives.  I have come to believe a page from the Buddhist philosophy, dependency arising.  All things are connected to all things.  Nothing happens without a ripple through the universe whether we are able to perceive it or not.

     I also believe it has been a blessing that she was surrounded by the cats and the farm, all the things that speak of life with their cycles and acceptance of all that happens.  A few days ago I had a five minute stare down with a four point buck and several does.  He was a little curious but very separate with his little family.  He was also fearless and accepting of our sharing a space and time.  Eventually he went back to eating and I went along my way.  The does weren’t concerned in the slightest.

      There’s nothing special in that five minutes except that we are all here, we all have our part to play and then we go forward to whatever dimension is next.  The rest of us remain with our memories, selecting out the good and mostly letting the rest fade away.  While I’m in no hurry, to me Death is a friend whom I’ll have plenty of time to get to know in the future.  I’m watching the seasons come and go with more intensity than ever before.

     You and Rick have come through a very difficult time that has increased the wear and tear on both you.  You are changed by it as we all are by every difficulty that comes our way.  Now is the time to sit back quietly for a short while and cement the good while letting the bad find it’s own way down the road.  I admire your strength and fortitude tremendously, both of you.  I want you to finish out this winter and walk into spring with all of its new promise.  I hope you will find renewed happiness in the renewed season.    – K.  December, 2015”

Rest in peace, little one.

Lavinia and Rick Ross
Salmon Brook Records / Salmon Brook Farms

Blynken (left) and Wynken (right), enjoying a good snuggle. Cherish the ones you love. The time passes all too quickly.


125 thoughts on “In Loving Memory – Willow

  1. I’m so sorry, Lavinia, for the loss of your Willow. I know how very hard this is, having lost so many kitties myself. I also know that particular sadness whenever one of those kitties we inherited from my mother, and my husband’s father, left us. It’s good to have kind friends write such soothing words. Wishing you comfort and peace, Leah and Franklin the kitty.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sending love – so hard to farewell those we love, including the furry ones. I am reminded of a poem I wrote when we left our small farm, remembering all the little lives that had passed on…
    (On leaving Fairdown)
    For Muppet and Harry

    Shades of cows
    Roam the paddocks
    Through the churned up mud
    Looking for past hay-piles.
    Charlotte, Ceridwyn, J75,
    Breathing heavily.
    Hester seeking the little red one
    We fought for.

    Sometimes a smaller shade
    Stubby, wagging,
    Seeking favourite sun places,
    And a swift flash of fur,
    Green eyes following the cows.
    Quiet now.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Herman says:

    So sorry to see you are in pain and sorrow, my dear Lavinia. I’m sure Willow is back together with Rick’s mother, somewhere in a safe and peaceful place.
    Sending you hugs and much strength, my friend. Rest in peace, dear Willow.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. angela1313 says:

    So sorry for your loss. It’s always hard but especially so when they are a link to another we loved. Your friend is wise and compassionate. Thank you for sharing such beautiful thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thinking of you and Rick with Love and Sympathy, Lavinia. What a beautiful companion Willow had been to you and Rick’s Mom – and what a beautiful life you had provided for her! I know the holiday will not be the same but Wishing you Peace and Love….and wellness throughout the new year…. xox

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lorraine Anderson says:

    Willow was a beautiful cat and obviously well loved and cared for. Thank you for this touching remembrance, Lavinia, and the reminder to cherish those we love while we have them with us. Maia and Phil and I wish Willow good speed to that realm of eternal summer and catnip every morning.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. My heart aches for you, Lavinia, but I know that each day gets easier. Such a beautiful cat and so lucky to have had Rick’s mother and then you two. The letter that you shared from a friend was so touching and heartfelt. Many good points, about the mixture of sorrow and joy…the ways of life.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. What a good and thoughtful friend K is. Out of the many well meaning condolences after a loss, it seems there’s one that always hits the spot. I imagine Willow, as a tangible reminder of your MIL, was hard to lose for a number of reasons. There is such tangible love in caring for someone, human or animal, and the connections and ties are often intangible. I wish you light in this dark season.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’ve thought of you and Willow over the past days, wondering how things were going. I’m sorry to hear now of your loss, but she certainly was loved and cared for to the end. The grief that we feel at such times witnesses to the strength of the bonds we have with these animals; for that, we can be grateful, despite the grief. My best to you and all of yours — for surely the other cats will miss Willow, too.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I am so sorry too dear Lavinia, I am in tears, the feeling behind them is not easy to express… I remembered too. Rest in Peace for your lovely little friend… I am sending my love, words can’t come more… Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “Death is a friend whom I’ll have plenty of time to get to know in the future.” When my doctor told me I had Wegener’s granulomatosis, he also said I’d be dead within two years.

    During treatment at the University Hospital in Denver, I was in the isolation ward because the doctors, through dialhysis, plasmapheresis and chemotherapy drugs, stripped my blood of antibodies: my immune system was totally wiped out!

    Prior to treatment, my body’s antibodies were killing my vascular system. My kidnesy, lungs, and sinuses were involved in the disease process. One of the symptoms – which I ignored for nearly a year! – was lots of blood in the tissue every time I blew my nose, which was several times a day. I went through a box of tissues in no time.

    The disease process left me weak and with a feeling of malaise for most of the year before diagnosis and till one day at the end of treatment, when I blew my nose and there was no blood in the tissue! I cried! I knew at that moment the prognosis had changed from “dead in two years” to “you are going to live”!

    All this is a long way around to this: When you are near death, your body lets you know. You know that moment is near, yet you welcome it. “Death is a friend.” The pain is gone. The body no longer is your enemy. The rest we will learn in time.

    Doctors changed my fate and I am alive fifteen years years after diagnosis December 19, 2003. But I tasted death, got a bit more familiar with it, and no longer fear the day of my own extinction. I feel Willow knew this much, too, and while we mourn her passing, shed tears when we see her photo or think about her, she has passed into the the next place where her body no longer betrays her, causes her pain. We will join her in our time. Her spirit lives in our hearts and memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think there is a kind of communion between our pets and us . We support each other. I am so much sensible to this as when we lost our dog in 1976 I never wanted another one. From time to time I make a post about her – it was a female )
    You speak of kidneys failure . Doug has two good companions to help it . And I am on the same way since I have dialysis since last Marsh . I like very much his comment about Willow . I have also to go to the dialysis four times per week since Last Marsh . It is why I have not finished my latest entry when you visited it. I was at the dialysis. The post is finished now.
    I wish to you and Rick a happy year 2019 and so to your feline correspondants.
    love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m so sorry for your loss Lavinia. It’s never easy to say goodbye to a dear friend. This is such a lovely tribute to Willow. Your friend words touched me deeply as I’m still griefing Ms. Zulu’s departure from this dimension: “we all have our part to play and then we go forward to whatever dimension is next”. All we can do is try to make the play easier for the furry ones while they are with us and build memories to last a lifetime. Puppy kisses from Benji and hugs from the humans. A

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My consolation to you and Rick, Lavinia, on the loss of the beautiful Willow. She was a very lovely girl, and did well in helping Rick’s Mom cross over. Now it came to you to offer that same comfort to Willow. We are so fortunate that we can help our animal friends leave when it is their time. I have no doubt Miss Willow is very grateful for every choice you made for her.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Ecclesiastes: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”

    Liked by 1 person

  16. kermjensen says:

    You are loved by many Lavinia. I’m proud to be one of that cohort. Spring will come and allow us all to find, hopefully, renewed peace and joy for you and Rick and for all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. It is painful to lose a pet which has been with you for such a long time.
    I loved what you had written about old age. However, I have seen people who stay very active in their old age. Everything is connected in the universe, and everything has some impact whether we know about it or not.
    I’m looking forward to news from farm.
    Happy New Year, Lavinia! You are such a great friend, although, we’ve never met in person.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Lavinia, the quote of your “budhist” friend makes me think of a poem of Pierre Ronsard ( poet from the French Renaissance :(XVth–XVI th centuries )

    Sweetheart, come let us see if the rose Which this morning unfolded Its crimson dress to the sun Has lost, at evening, The folds of its crimson dress And its colour, so like your own.

    Alas! See how in such a short a time, Sweetheart, she has let her beauty fall from above! Nature is truly cruel When such a flower only lasts From dawn to dusk!

    So if you would believe me, Sweetheart, While your young age is in flower In its greenest freshness, Gather, gather your youth. Since age will tarnish your beauty As it has faded this flower.

    …Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  19. My condolences for the loss of Wiilow, Lavinia. It’s never easy losing someone or something that matters so much to you. She sounded like a fighter to the end and lived a pretty long life. Beautiful tribute to her. Take care ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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