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
http://home.earthlink.net/~redwine5
https://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com

We love you, Abby, and will miss you.

 

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174 thoughts on “In Loving Memory – Abby

  1. Well the veterinarian was right: She was a gorgeous cat with a silky-looking coat. If there can be a down side to caring for cats, it’s that we have to say goodbye, and their short lifespans seem so unfair. But it’s a privilege to be able to care for them and make a difference in their lives. That’s reflected in your tribute to your little friend.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. clivebennett796 says:

    We’ve lost one dog (Midge) and two cats (Snowy and Sionnie) in the last couple of years all with similar illness to Abby. We feel for you. They leave a big empty space behind. May they all Rest in Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Clive. It never gets any easier, as you know. I feel for you with your losses, too.

      Most of my remaining cat crew (now down to 7 cats) is 13 years and up. The next 10 years will be rough ones. The youngest three are 7 years old.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Joe. Abby was a good companion. She didn’t enjoy the company of other cats so much, but really loved people, and was an official greeter at the door. She was sticking especially close to us for the last couple of years.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. derrycats says:

    She was a beautiful cat, and I know she had a long and wonderful life with you. You made the best decision possible for her, a loving one. Blessings on all of you in the midst of a sad time and also the chaos of the fires. That’s a lot to carry.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh, hugs, to you, Lavinia, on the loss of your beloved Abby. It’s a sad, solemn time when we have to make those decisions. The words from your friend upon the loss of your mother-in-law were quite beautiful. I like the idea of keeping good memories and letting the others drift away.

    Wishing you safety, health, and comfort.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lyn says:

    It was a privilege to feed Abby and have her accept my pets (occasionally) when I farm-sat for you guys. She was a singular personality. Eleanor of Aquitane hits the mark! Lovely photos of a lovely cat. She won’t be forgotten by those who knew her, in person or through your posts.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Sorry about the loss of Abby. Thanks for sharing that note from your friend. It’s very hopeful. We just found out today that my husband has esophageal cancer and we are cautiously optimistic. The note was just the reinforcement I needed and supports what I j have always believed.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a beautiful article to honor Abby. I guess your pain because I knew this a long time ago with a dog. Abby was a very affectuous companion to you both . She always will be living in your mind , Lavinia. This may be a kind of solace .
    Abby was a wonderful cat , and love was truely shared between yo and her and this does not die.
    Love ❤
    Michel

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, Lavinia, I am so sorry to hear of your losing Abby. I am well aware of the difficulty in choosing to let an animal pass over, but I know you would only make a choice that was right for Abby. She truly was a stunning beauty. And you couldn’t have included a better piece than that written by your friend Kerm … so touching, thoughtful and true. I’ve been thinking about the wildfires and wondering how close – or far – they are from you. I hope you are spared from losing your farm and all you hold dear. Sending love and light. Jeanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jeanne. Abby was a indeed a beautiful cat and a good companion.

      The fires are still burning, but more contained. The air in our area has been clear and breathable, and we are out of danger, at this time. The west is pretty much ablaze. This government map will give you a better idea. It is an interactive map, and you can drill down into various regions.
      https://fire.airnow.gov/#

      Like

  9. Herman says:

    So sorry for the loss of Abby, such a beautiful and adorable cat. Your post was a warm tribute for your sweet friend. I hope the memories of Abby can give you some comfort, Lavinia. You are in my thoughts.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. So very sorry for your loss, Lavinia. It’s always hard to have to say a final farewell to those we love and cherish. Abby was a lovely kitty and obviously had a very good life with you at the farm. She had a long life too. I’m so sad for you though. It’s always hardest for those left behind. I’m sure she’s in a peaceful place. Hugs to you. 🤗🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m sorry for your loss, Lavinia. Abby had a great run at 18 1/2. She must have given you lots of joy all those years and hope those memories give you comfort. A big virtual hug to you! Stay safe! Glad to hear you are out of danger from the fire!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Skyler. Yes, those Abyssinian cats look like small cougars. Abby was a precious little soul. I think about your Jazmin a lot. I am sorry she never came home. I keep hoping some miracle will happen for you, and she will show up again.

      I am glad you found something for yourself there in Kerm’s letter. It is a timeless piece of writing. He is a very wise man and good friend. Much love back to you and yours, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Lovely Abby! What a color! I was so impressed by the letter from your friend and mentor. Beautifully written and moving. Very sorry for your loss. How we love our fur buddies and how we grieve when they are gone. It’s been one heck of a year, hasn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Katty and Mark. I know how much you loved your Easy pup. His pear tree is growing nicely here, and I think of him when I work out in that area of garden space.

      I am glad you found solace in Kerm’s letter. I still do over the years. Hugs back to you.

      Like

  13. niasunset says:

    Dear Lavinia, my heart with you always… Abby was so lovely and so lucky one, being in your family and lived long (for a cats)… but always there is a sad story and you know how touches my heart too. Memories stays to us at the end. Hugs and Love to you, dear Lavinia, I wished to be there and give a real hugs… Thank you, nia

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I had no idea that you could fit a Freestyle Libre to a cat. What state of the art treatment the dear thing had. You were right though, there comes a time in the life of a venerable cat lady when enough is enough. She had a fine life and you all enjoyed each other enormously. Sleep well darling Abby.

    Glad to hear you haven’t had to decamp. Hope the danger is over and not just in abeyance.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I am so sorry Lavinia, for the loss of your beautiful Abby. It’s so hard to lose animal friends and adjust to the time when they are in your heart but not in your daily presence. It was good she had your loving care in her older days, and I hope her memory will be a comfort. Those fires have been so terrible and I worry for everyone near them. I hope they stay away from you and end soon for all.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It’s always a delicate balance, isn’t it? Just because we can do something to extend the life of our beloved creatures doesn’t always mean that we should .When the time for decision comes, and love demands letting go, it can be remarkably painful. I’m just glad that Abby had such a good home, and such attentive humans. She was a beautiful cat, and clearly beloved.

    I’m glad to hear that conditions have improved for you fire-wise. It has been a rough year, with too many challenges coming from all directions. I suspect all of us could use a little peace and healing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Linda. Euthanasia is always a difficult decision, the weighing of many factors. I like to think we gave Abby the best home possible. We will miss her, as we do any of them that pass on.

      I heard the Holiday Farm fire is now 50% contained, and less of a threat to populated areas. The west in general is still on fire. Yes, we could all use a little peace and healing. What a year this has been.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m so sad about your loss, Lavinia and Rick. Such a difficult time with the fires and all, besides! Such a beautiful cat. I’ve read those last words you added at a previous time, and they always give me a chill along with a sense of comfort. Stay well and safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. More tears for Abby. Having just lost one of my own, Dougy the Persian kitty boy, in July, Abby’s passing reminded me of how hard that was for me: I know Abby’s passing had to be especially hard for you with all the stresses of the fires, decisions to make in difficult times. More hugs for you and Rick. AAbby had a dream life for a cat, and that’s what matters when we take responsibility for our little fur friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’d been worried about you, given all the wildfires burning in the northwest. It’s good to hear you’re still all right.

    You quoted a Buddhist perspective from Kerm Jensen. I sometimes think of it mathematically. We consider the lifespan of a cat or dog to be short, which it is compared to the typical human one. However, any finite number, whether 8 or 18 or 80 or 8 million, is as 0 compared to infinity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by Steve. It’s been a strange year, and not yet over. We are OK, but were packed and ready to go for a while there. Fire season isn’t over yet.

      Yes, I agree, all our lifespans are are 0 compared with Infinity.

      Like

  20. We know how deep the sadness is at such moments. That is a long life for a cat, and knowing your farm it has been a good one. I’m feeling sorry for loss of your loved pet.
    I haven’t had any pets since I moved out of my parents house which was 1976. I just look at my sister what she goes through when losing one or another pet, and I think I’m not willing to do that, yet, pets bring so much joy in human lives.
    I hope you didn’t get harmed by the fire. I’m not aware exactly where fires were and where your farm is.
    Everything is quiet at my end. Calm and quite and lots of work.
    I hope you’re safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Inese. Our animal companions leave a large hole behind when they go, but I am glad to have provided them with the best life I possibly could, and in return I have received so much from them. There is always a cost to living life, sorrow as well as joy completes the cycle. And then the day comes when we ourselves cause another being grief at our own departure from this life.

      Other than smoke, ash, poisonous air and considerable disruption on what corona virus was already causing, our area escaped flames, this time. We are all safe. I am pleased to hear all is quiet in your area, and life is calm. Having work is good.

      Like

  21. I’m sorry to hear of Abby’s passing Lavinia! After being with you for 18 1/2 years you must have oh so many memorable moments with her!
    You obviously loved her very much and I’m sure she loved you all equally so!
    She’ll be waiting and purring for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hello dear. I’m really sorry to read this news of your goodbye to Abby. 18 1/2 seems like a good long kitty life, but it’s really never long enough for us, is it? Such a difficult thing, but the ultimate act of love and caring. She was such a pretty cat, glad she was yours to love. Big Hug xK

    Liked by 2 people

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