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In celebration of National Poetry Month, today’s feature “Morning Visitor” is a cat poem I wrote after my beloved Lexie Lee’s passing in 2014. She was a feral who found her way to my home in 2004. She bravely survived hurricanes and fought lymphoma.
Unexplained lightness on bed
One week after your passing
Spot where you use to snuggle.
Did you return to your beloved home?
Is this the sign I asked you to send?
A sign that you are safe.
My life is so different without you
My life is so rich because of you
Ten years my fur baby, my muse.
Unexplained lightness on bed again
Ten days after your passing
I whisper Lexie Lee.
I turn over to look at you
Lightness is gone in an instant
But you are forever safe in my heart.
My welcome home greeter
My napping buddy and lap kitty
My kindred spirit.
“Morning Visitor” ©2014 Linda A. Mohr
This poem won Cat Writers’ Association Muse Medallion in Poetry category in 2016.
As Labor Day weekend signals the winding down of summer, I reflect on special blessings. I attended the Cat Writers Write Stuff Conference in conjunction with BlogPaws at Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa in Chandler, Arizona. This AAA Four Diamond resort is an authentic representation of the Gila River Indian Community.
CWA’s 22nd Annual Awards Banquet was also part of the conference. Three of my online articles and one poem had received Certificates of Excellence awards and were in contention for MUSE Medallions. The MUSE Medallion is awarded to the entry in each category receiving the highest average score from three independent judges. To become eligible for a MUSE Medallion, each entry must receive an average score of at least 90 and been awarded a Certificate of Excellence.
My poem “The Morning Visitor” was the MUSE Medallion winner in poetry category. This was a bittersweet moment as the poem is about Lexie Lee who bravely fought lymphoma. I felt her spirit as I stood on stage to accept “our” award from Dusty Rainbolt.
The resort’s website promise that it “offers quiet serenity created by the Native American tribes who found haven here'” was certainly true for me as well. This was a trip to remember!
A week passed before I could face the sad task of dealing with physical reminders of Lexie Lee’s passing. There were many. She liked to eat out of small bowls. When she got sick, I put her food in vintage flat glass bowls that accommodated smaller portions. That practice continued for six months. I found bowls in the bedroom under a bench and under the bed and by a water dish. Another bowl was under the dining room table and two more were in the kitchen.
A large shoe box was under the coffee table. How she loved to stuff herself in that box! The sides were beginning to collapse, but it was still one of her favorite boxes. Her blue pet carrier had been a familiar fixture in the kitchen for months for easy accessibility for weekly vet appointments.
When you have a sick kitty, you try all kinds of food—just praying you find one that is gobbled up. There were extra cans of A/D and baby food that were not suitable for Chauncey and Grace. Left over baked fish and chicken were tossed from refrigerator.
Then there’s all the medicine: B-12 shots, prednisolone tablets, prednisolone liquid in red and also tuna flavor, appetite stimulant pills, nausea pills, and morphine. Assorted sizes of syringes rounded out the home pharmacy. A bag of Pill Pockets had not worked out. Well if you count once, I guess they did! I chuckled as I removed these from the kitchen cabinet and recalled Lexie’s reaction to them. I had wrapped a prednisolone tablet in one and placed it along with one torn up into smaller bites with no pills. She ate everything on the plate. I thought I had found my miracle vet assistant in the disguise of a Pill Pocket. The next day I prepared the same smorgasbord of pockets and pills. This time Lexie bit into the bite with the pill. She spit it out, looked at me with disdain and walked away. I tried a couple more days, but she was on to me! I was reminded of the saying: Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on me.
There was laundry to tackle. The towel from the pet carrier was removed. The kitchen rug had been a popular spot for me to wrap Lexie Lee up in a papoose towel and administer daily meds. Her bedding was set up in a hallway the last two days of her life. Her pink velour bed from the living room was taken apart for cleaning. Several other throw rugs were tossed in the washer. Some serious vacuuming followed laundry.
Finally, I filed away a veterinary file chock-full of weekly chemo treatments, discharge instructions, lab reports, bills and receipts. I often referred to it as the “hope” file.
So the physical reminders are minimized. The house is back in order. Chauncey has claimed the pink velour bed. Life goes on. The psychological reminders—well that’s another matter.
August 7, 2014 in Author's Life, Human-Animal Bond, Lexie Lee's Meowlogue | Tags: Home Euthanasia, Human-Animal Bond, Lap of Love, Lexie Lee, Psalms 91:4, Rainbow Bridge, Tammy Johnson DVM. Intertwined Lives Intertwined Love | 5 comments
“He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” She said we would be safe today. I always feel safe with Mom Linda.
Then she surprised me with a poem that she wrote just for me.
Intertwined Lives, Intertwined Love
Stretched out on sunny windowsill
Curled up in my comfy lap
Nestled against warm keyboard
My muse, my beloved fur friend
Always a permanent presence
Gracing my home office for ten years.
Helping me create blogs, stories, and poems
Motivating me to finish Tatianna’s cat memoir
Leaving your legacy with Lexie Lee’s Meowlogue
You have journeyed on to the spirit world
What missions God has planned for you
I can only imagine ones of love, hope, and joy.
Some glorious day I will float to meet you
We will embrace nose to nose
You will give me your signature kiss
I will whisper the familiar Linda loves Lexie Lee
Reunited at last, our hearts whole again
And all will be as it should be for eternity.
Mom Linda smiled through her tears, and I meowed. I helped her with some computer work, and she told me I had been her best muse ever. She has been my best mom ever. She left the room, and I pitter-pattered to the dining room and crawled under the table. Princess Grace was on a chair seat, and Prince Chauncey was in a box under the table. She took a picture of the three of us freezing “a never to be again moment.” Joe joined us, and Mom Linda sat down on the floor with me. She tried to eat breakfast. But just like me, she could not eat. We are so much alike. Then she had a great idea and got a bag of Greenies. Oh, how I use to love those treats! The two fur babies went crazy. She put one down for each of them, and I ate one out of her hand. It was so good. She gave us each two more morsels a piece. Some crumbs fell on the carpet, and I ate every last one. She said the Father, Son and Holy Ghost as we ate this heavenly meal.
The phone rang, and she spoke briefly. A few minutes later Joe ushered an unknown woman in the house. I usually run, but Mom Linda was still on the floor and talked me into staying. So I felt safe. The woman was Dr. Johnson from Lap of Love. She sat on the floor. She talked to me and called me a beautiful baby. Princess Grace checked her out, and Prince Chauncey disappeared. I stayed under the table. Mom Linda got closer to me, but I wiggled away as she tried to pick me up. Joe wrapped me up in my papoose towel and put me in a basket.
Up to the office we went. He sat me on the desk next to the computer. Mom Linda sat in a chair right beside me. Sunlight flooded the room and warmed my face. She kept rubbing my head and talking softly to me. I am going to float high above the house and trees. Then I felt a shot that I had not expected. I meowed and tried to crawl out of the basket. But Mom Linda calmed me down and kissed me on the top of my head. She said she wanted to read a poem to me. It was the same poem filled with love and hope she read to me earlier. I was so happy to hear it again. When she recited the title Intertwined Lives, Intertwined Love, she cried and stopped talking. But I knew she was brave. Joe rubbed her back, and she continued. As she read each line, she paused and looked at me. I really lit up when I heard “leaving your legacy with Lexie Lee’s Meowlogue.” By the end of the poem, everyone was crying.
Mom Linda raised me out of the basket and pressed me to her heart. I was relaxed and calm as she cradled me in her lap. It was so quiet and serene. I heard Mom Linda tell Dr. Johnson “we are ready.” Last I heard a familiar chanting:
Linda loves Lexie Lee
Linda loves Lexie Lee
Linda loves Lexie Lee
over and over and over again
until it was a faint whisper and then no more.
She put down some soft bedding and my water dish in the upstairs hall. I wanted to go in the bedroom and crawl under the bed. But it was closed off. So, I found a hiding place behind the shower curtain in the bathroom. Mom Linda sat on the floor with me and read some of my Meowlogues to me. That was fun. I got up and rubbed along her side. She liked that. Part of the night she slept in the hall near me. Later she moved to the couch. But it was just six stair steps away, and she could see me. Once I went down the steps and jumped up on her chest. I surprised her. She thought I was Chauncey until she felt my stub tail!
The next morning I returned to the couch and cuddled with Mom Linda. Oh, how I love those moments. I wanted to eat breakfast. Several kinds of food were set out, but I could not take a bite. So I stretched out on the rug under the dining room table. It’s a good spot to people watch—especially for anyone trying to put me in a carrier or give me medicine. And don’t forget cat watching. I have to keep track of Princess Grace and Prince Chauncey. Sometimes, they need their ears boxed. This morning Mom Linda told me I did not have to take my medicine. She crawled under the table near me. I hoped this was not one of her tricks. She said we had to have a big talk. And boy did we ever!
First, she told me I had been incredibly brave. But I don’t have to be brave anymore. She’s going to be brave for me and help me go on a long journey. I don’t want to go anywhere because I get carsick and I love where I live. She said I will float in the sky and be free from the carrier. I will go to a beautiful place with lots of food, water, and sunshine. I will feel great every moment and will not be stuck with needles anymore. The sad news Mom Linda cannot go with me. She said it is not her time yet. But five of her cats, Noelle, Taittinger, Marnie, Tatianna, and Katarina will be with me. I don’t know what they look like. But not to worry. They have been keeping their paws on Mom Linda’s home for over thirty-five years, and they know me. Imagine that! Tatianna will meet me on Rainbow Bridge.
Next, she told me it’s ok to let go and stop fighting cancer. I am not to worry about her or Joe or the two fur babies. Everyone will be fine. I do not need to be the great defender anymore. That’s what Lexie means! She knows me so well and how much I love her. I don’t want to leave her. But she said I am doing what I am destined to do. Everything is happening according to God’s loving plan.
Finally, she asked me to send her a sign later that I am ok. Maybe I’d walk on the bed or appear on her chest. She trusted me to figure it out. I wonder if a syringe filled with icky red medicine is a big enough clue for her!
After our chat, she went out to the patio and watered plants. I love to watch her from the front entrance of an all glass door. She always has to step over me when she comes in. What a great way for more attention! When she returned, she ate lunch. I sat on the windowsill behind her chair like I have done for years. Maybe I will get a nibble. She tried to hand feed me a piece of fish, but I could not eat. Joe arrived in the afternoon, and everyone was so glad to see him. Our household was complete. I spent the rest of the afternoon between the hall, living room, and dining room. I even went to the downstairs level. Mom Linda sat with me in the new bedroom she renovated. I love the high soft bed that I can jump on. She put me on the table by the window that overlooks the street. I love welcoming her home from this room. She wanted to carry me upstairs, but I wanted to dash upstairs. She laughed when I ran so fast. Once when I was in the upstairs hall, I heard Princess Grace and Prince Chauncey meowing. I ran down to check on them. They were just having a little tussle. I managed to eat a few licks of one of my favorite foods, Weruva paw lickin’ chicken. Dr. Lechner’s office called. Mom Linda reported we were having a good day doing our favorite things. She was right.
When it was time for bed, Joe wrapped me up in a towel like a papoose, and Mom Linda gave me a dose of morphine. Now that is not one of my favorite things. But I made it hard on her. I may be leaving, but I still have lots of spunk. I guess she succeeded because I slept through the night.
Mom Linda is ready for Halloween. I’ve got my eyes on a big bowl of candy, but I can’t have any. And to make matters worse, I have to stay in a safe room tonight when the little goblins come to visit. Mom Linda is afraid I’ll escape. But I’m not going anywhere. I just want a Snickers bar.
Five Paws Up!
September 22 is the first day of autumn, my favorite season of the year. The colors, scenic drives, crisp air, and outdoor festivals are just a few reasons I look forward to this time of the year. Last October I was fortunate to capture the above Missouri farm scene at sunset. When I am not admiring the countryside, I bake anything with apples or pumpkin such as apple crisp, apple upside down cake, pumpkin cookies or pumpkin bread. Today I was in Florida for the first day of autumn, so I ushered in the season with a piece of pumpkin bread from Starbucks!
“It is the summer’s great last heat.
It is the falls first chill: they meet.”
~Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt
Lexie Lee loves fall at her Florida home because she gets to play with the orange and yellow silk flowers! That’s the best I can do surrounded by beautiful palm trees!
What do you like most about autumn?