Music and Farm, The Cycle of Life

In Loving Memory – Abby

Abby, taken back in February of 2019, a commanding presence in her favorite chair. She was always on the move, and difficult to photograph unless she was sleeping or eating. Take too long, and one would be guaranteed a good picture of her nostrils in the lens.

There comes a time when the body is too worn and tired to continue, and the spirit longs for freedom from it.   Abby had a good long run with us, and at 18 1/2, she had run out time.  Since March we had noted she was losing a little weight, and some muscle mass, although that only slowed her down a bit.    Although she was never overweight, she had always been a good eater, even when she was down to two teeth, her upper canines, by the end.  Those upper canines were also used to get attention, and Abby would bite the top of my head with those sharp teeth at night if I was asleep and she wanted petting.   Rick and I used to joke about her having a hollow leg to hold all that food, and I would say when the day comes she stops eating, she is probably done for.

We noticed she was not so interested in her food for the last few weeks of her life.  A trip to the vet revealed high blood glucose that was spilling into her urine.  Abby’s urine had been fine in March, her last checkup.  She was fitted with a sensor and calibrated reader, and started on one unit of Lantus glargine insulin twice daily on September 4th.  Her kidney function was deemed good for a cat that age, and staff remarked how beautiful she was and how sleek her coat was.

Abby with newly fitted Freestyle Libre glucose sensor.

Her interest in food continued to go down, although her attitude was good, and she still greeted people with a purr and inquisitive paw.   Her glucose took some wide swings, and she was brought back for observation and recommendations a few days later.  On the 10th, I checked her at 4:00 AM, her glucose was reasonable, and she was awake and sitting up in her basket, so I went back to sleep for a little while until it was feeding time.  I found her immobile, unable to lift her head, under the entertainment center, but still purring and happy to see me.  She went back in immediately on emergency.  The emergency vet indicated Abby’s glucose was fine, but she had palpated a mass along the GI tract.  She asked us what we wanted to do.   The Oregon wildfires were in full swing at the time, and we were situated in a Level 1 evacuation area, with a Level 3 about 10 minutes down the road.  Given her age, a probable tumor, diabetes and possible evacuation to unknown facilities that would accept 8 cats along with us, the decision was made to let her go peacefully.   Euthanasia has never an easy decision for me.  Never will be.

It is here I will close my own thoughts, and leave readers with an eloquent note I received from Kerm Jensen, an old friend and long-time mentor, back in 2015 when Rick’s mother passed away.   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.    – Kerm.  December, 2015”

Lavinia and Rick Ross
Salmon Brook Records / Salmon Brook Farms

We love you, Abby, and will miss you.



176 thoughts on “In Loving Memory – Abby

  1. I have been wondering how you were faring between fires and Proud Boys (of course the news would like us to believe that these extremes are everywhere in your region, just as we in the East are under constant hurricane watches… what, there’s another one in the Gulf?). Anyway, most of us are living with our own small dramas. Never an easy decision of how to care of aging animals, whether pets or livestock. Attachments are often what keep us connected and going, but also keep us from continuing on when the attachment ends (Buddhist idea). We are watching our geriatric dogs and cats too. – Oscar

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Lavinia I have just read your reply above and I am relieved to know the fires are out but like for us in France there is the pandemic that is vey threatening . We have , all of us, to be prudent .
    Take care of you all.
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      • I will do that, dear Nia. The moon is growing, visible again. My aunt used to say that we all see the same moon, no matter where we are on Earth, and that if I wanted to talk to her, ask the moon, and she would know. She’s been gone 2 years now. I still think of her when I see the moon, and know she can hear me. I will sing for you tonight. Much love to you and the family. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by to share in Abby’s life, Charlotte. It was a privilege to care for her all these years. ❤

      Yes, Kerm's letter is very moving, and always relevant, expressing in a short, eloquent letter the totality of the cycle of life, and closure in peace. He is a good friend and mentor.

      Hugs back to you and George. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lavinia, what a heartbreaking decision in the middle of so much trauma in your area, in the world. You write with such sweetness and joy about Abby and how even in her last days she was so happy to see you. It must have been so difficult for you to say goodbye to her.

    The letter from your friend is incredible, touches me deeply. It is written right from the soul, with understanding and true empathy… precious words and ones to save. Cards and letters like this are the best gifts in life, that carry us onwards and forwards through trying times to happier days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by and celebrating Abby’s life, Annika. Goodbyes are always difficult, no matter what the circumstances. It was a privilege to know and to care for this little cat all these years. We learn much from all of them, and it is sad that even with a long life, their time on Earth is much shorter than our own. Friends for a short time, remembered for a lifetime.

      Kerm’s letter is beautifully written, and timeless. He is a good friend and mentor.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m just seeing this post as I’d been on hiatus for a few months.
    I’m so sorry for your loss. I can relate. We lost our Kit-Kat (cat) at almost the exact same age. He was about two weeks shy of 19 when we had him euthanized at home. 😞 That was Nov. 10, 2019, and it’s still difficult to think about him. I loved him so much. He had become diabetic about three years earlier, but through reading blogs (vet just put him on insulin) someone recommended a diet of soft Fancy Feast pâté, with no hard food, which tends to be high in carbs. I tried it and after about a week and a half he didn’t have any more diabetes for the rest of his life. I think his kidneys failed in the end. He couldn’t eat but he kept drinking. He wouldn’t move from a spot in our laundry room except to use the litter box. After three days I decided it was enough. He was suffering and we could see he wasn’t going to get better. I’m tearing up now. Still. 😢
    I was so sad for nearly a year that my husband said we should get another cat so I would feel better. So we did. He’s totally different from my Kit-Kat, but he’s so cute in his own way and I’m growing to love him more and more each day. We named him Bailey. 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    • For some reason, you ended up in the SPAM folder, and I found you this morning. I have been having trouble with ending up in SPAM or having comments plain old deleted immediately by Askimet myself, and you may want to let them know. They *tweaked* some settings and so far, so good.

      Thank you for stopping by, Laurie, and sharing in Abby’s life and sharing you own story, too. I agree with you on the hard kibble food, it tends to be high in carbs. Abby wasn’t able to eat kibble with only 2 teeth, but I was told sometimes diabetes can suddenly crop up, and then disappear after a short run of insulin. There is still much they don’t know with any certainty. Kidneys do tend to get kitties in the end, and I had a CKD Abyssinian at about 3 months shy of 20 when I had to put him to sleep back in 2009.

      I am glad to hear you got another kitty and are continuing to carry the love forward. Dear little Bailey will give back all that love to you in return.

      Wishing you and your family a bright and beautiful 2021. And thank you for all those wonderful book reviews!
      🙂🙂 🐱🐱 🐱🐱 🐱🐱 🐱

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m being told by some other bloggers that my comments were in their spam folder, too. 🤦🏽‍♀️

        I forgot to tell you how beautiful your cat was!!

        Kit-Kat was my second beloved pet to die. My first was a German Shepherd named April that I grew up with. BEST DOG ON THE PLANET!! I was devastated by that loss, too.

        Recently I was doing a stress-reducing exercise for five minutes. You’re encouraged to close your eyes and think of good scenes. I thought about nature things, because those are the most calming to me—trees, birds, flowers, etc. And then suddenly I got a picture in my mind of April, Kit-Kat and Bailey frolicking together in the grass in a park. Tears were in my eyes as I thought of that. Happy tears. 🥲

        You’ve probably guessed I’m an emotional person. 😂

        Thank you!! 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am old enough now to have lost a number of pets over the years. It never gets any easier, and even with myself, I see less road ahead than I do behind me. I survived cancer, 10 years now. As Kerm said in his letter, I am watching the seasons change with more intensity than ever before. I have been practicing Tai Chi since 1996, added a few Yoga exercises. Your suggestion of closing the eyes and thinking of good scenes is a great suggestion to do on a regular basis. I am not sure where the saying originated, but it goes something like “goodbyes are not forever, they are just until we meet again”. The next time I plant daffodils, I will include some for your April and Kit-Kat. We all have emotions. You are always welcome here. 💙🌈🐾😿

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello, Lavinia, greetings from soggy Staffordshire, I hope you are all well.
    Thank you for taking the time to produce such a wonderful post, I enjoyed reading it immensely.
    I too, have tried to capture the beauty of sunrise on film. Alas, to no avail. However, I did manage to produce several hundred failures. These days I’m content enough just to see one:)
    It is plain to see that your pet cat was loved and cared for dearly. Loved ones leave our lives, but they never leave our hearts.
    I’m off to feed the birds now, Lavinia, take care, and I’ll catch you soon.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello and welcome to Salmon Brook Farms, Mick. Thank you for stopping by and celebrating Abby’s life. ❤

      Digital cameras are a boon to photography. No wastage of film, processing chemicals or paper. I am lucky to live in an area with good viewing, and the transitional seasons provide plenty of clouds for reflecting Nature's glory.

      Wishing you a drier and sunnier day over there. 🙂


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