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Cleo's Corner

Remembering Cleo

May 30, 2023 Entry

Forming New Habits

I'm finally ready to start writing this memoir for Cleo. Please forgive me, things won't be written in the order they actually happened. I'm just writing what I remember each day that I do write. It has been a rough 12 days. But God is bringing me through this. I understand that grief is actually healthy and helps to recover from a death. But it has been painful. I have had to re-pattern my life a bit, because as soon as I would  get out of bed each morning, for 9 years, 3 months and 3 days, I couldn't wait to let Cleo out of her bedroom. And she would usually be at the bedroom door waiting for me to open it, meowing, anxious to see us as well. 

We started putting her in her own room each night as soon as we adopted her so that we all would be safe - we wouldn't trip over her and she wouldn't be stepped on in the dark. This was habit for her too. She would not go to bed until we told her, "night-night" and petted her, blew her kisses, and shut her bedroom door each night. 

But each day, as soon as we would let her out of her room, she was with one of us about all day long. She would sit nearby as I read my devotions each morning, worked on my computer, did laundry, cleaned house. The sweet little thing even helped me clean house on Friday, May 12th. I had just finished 12 hours of transcribing that morning and started cleaning house afterwards. I cleaned the blood and snot from her nose off the backdoor glass. And she mocked me, acting like she was cleaning that same area, and she looked at me as she did it. Of course, I praised her for cleaning the back door so well.  As I vacuumed, she sat on the piano stool and watched. She didn't run from the loud noise of the vacuum cleaner. She just wanted to be near me as I cleaned. She was pretty active that day, so I suppose the pain had eased up a bit. This was giving me hope that perhaps everything was going to be okay and she was going to beat whatever this was that had been plaguing her for nearly 6 months - possibly longer as I think back.

In memory of Cleo
2 tealights in Cleo's bedroom window

Now that she's gone, my new habits involving her room include turning on 2 tealight candles at dusk and before dawn. I still tell her "night-night" as I enter her room to turn off the tealights before bedtime and I blow her a kiss as I leave the room. I also still go to her room when I get up and tell her good morning and turn those tealights on if it's still dark when I get up in the morning. And I turn them off after the sun is up for the day. I carry her tin of cremains around sometimes so that she's still with me during our favorite activities. When her cremains aren't with me, I sit her with the Jesus figurine we have sitting on our fireplace hearth. She used to enjoy sitting by that figurine when she was alive too. She's in His care now. No more pain. That makes me smile.

I hope this doesn't sound like I have completely gone crazy. I haven't. This is just how I'm coping with her death as it is still fresh, and I'm still very sad and miss her so. One of my favorite quotes as I think about Cleo is:

You were my favorite hello and my hardest goodbye.

June 1, 2023 Entry

This morning, as I was meditating after my daily devotions, my thoughts continued to take me to the loss of Cleo. I keep thinking that all this crying and hurt over a cat is so silly. But God reminded me that she was a gift to us from Him. And He's happy that we love her so much. Our younger son, A, won't let us refer to her in the past tense, because she is etched into our hearts, meaning she is still present. God has promised that this deep hurt, watered with our tears will eventually bloom into something beautiful and useful for His work. 

This wound is still fresh after losing her only 14 days ago. I think I have broken heart syndrome (Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is the clinical name). My heart feels weak at times with a tinge of pain and I get short of breath, especially during the activities I knew Cleo enjoyed, at bedtime, and in the mornings when I have to walk towards her room. When I Googled "broken heart syndrome", these are symptoms that occur "following severe emotional or physical stress". Cure time takes about 2 months. 

Below is a sweet memory from April 28, 2019 at 2:39 p.m. It was laundry day and Cleo was playing in the empty laundry baskets.

Cleo playing in the laundry basket

Perhaps not just yet, but some day, we will reap what we have sown.

This is a quote from the June 1st devotion from Faith's Checkbook by Reverend Charles H. Spurgeon. 

And from my June 1st reading from God Calling edited by A.J. Russell:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose. ~ Romans 8:28

Writing these entries is very helpful therapy for me. And I hope it is somehow helpful for whoever reads this. Please know that this grief, this pain from your loss is part of the healing process. It will pass and one day, you will be able to help someone else recover from a loss, grief, or other painful experience.

November 30, 2023 Entry

Cleo has been gone for 6 months now (as of November 18, 2023). It's still sad, and hardly a moment goes by that I'm not thinking about her. I had hoped to add more memories about her by now, but it is still too painful.  I'll eventually be able share more precious memories about her as more time passes though. I still turn on the tealight candles in her bedroom window in remembrance of her. But it's only on the 18th of each month now. I also turn on those candles in memory of my brother whose birthday would have been November 2nd and for a friend's mother who also passed away that same day this year.  Each time I turn them on lately, I also remember those hostages taken from Israel and those innocent people in both Israel and Gaza who are having horrible experiences right now. 

Back to memories of Cleo. I put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, which brought up warm memories about our sweet girl. She used to enjoy watching me as I connected all the pieces and spread the branches of the artificial tree. She had that cute, inquisitive look on her face as she watched. 

We always had to stop her from chewing on the strings of lights when we plugged them in before adding them to the tree. And she loved chasing them as I pulled them along the floor and onto the tree. She would lie on the tree skirt once I placed it under the tree, and she loved playing hide and seek once the gifts were placed under the tree. Below are a few pictures from Christmases past with our baby girl.

Below are Christmas pictures from 2018. I still have the Christmas rocking horse (shown in second picture below). There are teeth marks on the handles where she would chew on them. I know we had more Christmas pictures of Cleo. But these are all I'm able to find this morning. 


Where's Cleo? Can you find her hiding in the gifts?


Cleo lying on the Christmas tree skirt

Cleo lying on Christmas bags and wrapping tissue

Next is a Christmas picture from 2020 of her lying on more wrapping tissue. Everything belonged to her. : )


And finally, a picture and a video I found of her from Christmas 2021


Cleo opening a Christmas gift
A gift for Cleo


Cleo playing with her new rocking toy with ball.
I've put that away in a storage bin. 

December 18, 2023 Entry

I'm sharing a few more memories today. My family and I had an early Christmas celebration yesterday. And our older son and daughter-in-law got me this sweet pillow with Cleo's picture on it. Our daughter-in-law had taken the picture of Cleo on our couch, so it perfectly matches the 'decor'. It looks like she's still with us, lying in the corner of the couch. You can see the lump on her nose and the blood tear just under her eye. Still not her worst day, because she was able to rest her head on the couch seat. During the last days she was alive, breathing had become so difficult that she had to rest her head on something to keep it elevated so she could breathe better. Poor baby.


Cleo Pillow
Cleo pillow from Christmas 2023

Cleo has been gone 7 months today. Below is another picture that my daughter-in-law took exactly a year ago (today) of our baby girl. She was such a silly girl. She had already been sick when this picture was taken, but last Christmas, she had more frequent good days between relapses. And she was able to do more cat things when she was having good days. She had started snoring at some point a year or two before these tell-tale signs of her illness became more pronounced. Her snoring was louder at this point, at which time, we simply thought she had elevated sinus issues due to the weather or perhaps pollen during a very warm November and December. I had been cleaning the carpet as well and had gotten new entry rugs, so I thought maybe the carpet cleaner or new rugs had irritated her sinuses as well. Also, a cat had been hanging around outside on the backdoor mat, so the thought entered my mind that the other cat maybe had a respiratory infection that I may have tracked in to Cleo as I went in and out emptying dirty water as I cleaned the carpet. Cancer never entered my mind until she continued getting sick after her medical treatments.

Cleo in a Christmas bag
Cleo in a Christmas bag Christmas 2022


9/17/2022 Cleo lying behind the broom and mop


11/9/2022 Cleo lying beside the carpet cleaner

Cleo looking at her new feline friend outside
11/10/2022 Cleo and new friend

11/29/2022 Cleo lying on clean, wet entry rug in front of blowing fun

As you can see, Cleo loved cleaning days. Again, she had already had shorter bouts of choking on her food and not eating well for a couple of days at a time when these last 3 pictures were taken. But she was still pretty and curious and rotten. I have some videos I need to add to YouTube so I can embed them on the blog. That's for another day though. : )

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing with us about Cleo. She was so loved & I know is so greatly missed. You know the ups & downs I have had with pets over the past 18 years or so. God loves us and allows us a season or two with these special loving fur babies. But just like us, he welcomes them back home when it’s time. You will one day be reunited with Cleo & she will be so happy to show you your new home with her in eternity.

    ReplyDelete

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