Susie_Squillions
This an e-mail message I sent to a friend a year ago when I knew T.J.'s time was fat approaching. I still had so much hope, even three days before our time together came to an end.  I have included pictures of the vase that Nina made for his ashes, and of the paw print project that we made together..

On another note, and the biggest reason I've been MIA is that we thought we were going to lose T.J. this week.  He was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure in January, and he has had two episodes since January 23rd that were either strokes or seizures.  As a result of those episodes, he can't go up and down stairs or get on or off the bed unassisted, and he has trouble just walking.  He walks kind of like a drunk at last call in an Irish bar on St. Patrick's Day.  He often loses his balance and tips over if he tries to change direction, or sometimes if he lets out a good loud comment. 

It's been a real roller coaster week, agonizing over whether or not we would have to make a decision to let our gorgeous friend go while he still has such a sharp mind, and while he still enjoys so many things in life.  If you were to see him walking you might think we were being selfish keeping him with us, but I know in my heart that this is not his time.

In order to get a good handle on where we stand, I took Teege in to see my niece (his vet), Gwen, on Monday.  She did a complete neurological test, took his blood pressure, and checked his kidney levels.  When we went into the exam room, Gwen said, "I was expecting to see a cat who was at death's door. He's nowhere near it!"  What a relief!  His neurological exam showed that his right side is weaker than the left (which we already knew), but that the reactions on his right side are only slightly slower than they are on his left.  His blood pressure was a steady 122/80 all three times she took it (they normally test three times on animals to be sure they're getting an accurate reading), and his blood levels were ideal, except of one (creatinine), which was only slightly elevated.  There is a chance that this could be a brain disorder, but we will take things in stride.  We can't afford an MRI and other extensive tests, and at his age and in his condition, we don't want to put him through too much.  He's not suffering, and that's what's most important.

I am now making him a slurry of his prescription diet with a low sodium, vet approved chicken broth added to make it smooth and yummy.  All of the kitties love it, so we have to be sure Stevie and Gidget don't get to it first. I usually give it to him on the bed so S & G can't muscle their way in to get it first. The slurry texture makes it a lot easier for him to eat, and it's made a world of difference in how much he eats.  Because of his limitations, he was eating but most of the food would fly out of his mouth and land around his dish.  With the slurry, he can just lap it up and whatever leaves the dish is getting into him.  Yay!  He has already started putting on a little of the weight he had lost following his episodes. He's getting 100ml of sub-q fluids every other day, and next week we will drop it back to twice a week.  Gwen is looking into some new treatments for CRF, and she is also checking into some things we might be able to do at home to help him regain some of his strength and balance if possible.  So far, just getting more calories has been a huge benefit for him. Of course, I keep up with his little chant about the green and white healing light. ;-) ("Green and white healing light / Pink for love all day and night / Blue for spirit, purple for soul / I love you, T.J.!  You rock and roll!")

On Sunday, T.J. and I worked on a craft project.  I bought a little block of polymer "clay" and rolled it out into a thin sheet 8" x 8".  I made a border about 1/2" in from the edges, and then drew a heart in the center that makes contact with the four sides. Inside the heart, we made impressions of T.J.'s paws, and just above center I made a little hole where I will attach a small pendant of a heart in a square frame.  The pendant will have some movement since it will dangle from a fixed point.  I've always told Teege that he is the "Heart of My Heart," so the design is appropriate for him.  I'm so glad we did this while he's with us.  It will be a happy memento instead of being a little death mask of his paws.  This weekend I want to get the paint and practice the technique to finish the piece.  I'll paint it in the colors of his coat with a tiny bit of shimmery gold mixed in (he's a Bengal Cat, and they have glitter in their coats).  I'm so pleased with it so far!  I can't recommend this kind of project highly enough.  We're going to do the same thing for Stevie Raow Vaughn and Gidget now, while they're young and have years ahead of them.  The polymer I used is so cool, because it isn't brittle and breakable.  It dries to a sort of leather-like consistency, and it's extremely light weight.  It's called Delight Air Dry Modeling Compound.  It was cheap, too (hooray!) at only $5.99 for the package.  Get some and have an Art Day with your furries too!  It's really fun.

I have been in touch with a woman who makes custom pottery pieces with animal themes.  Her cat vases are gorgeous, and they can be used as memorial containers.  I have attached a picture of one (Patches) that she made as a memorial for another client.  I also liked the one she calls "Eddie In Love," (also attached) because of the heart theme, so I might have her add the heart to the T.J. vase.  She has fallen in love with T.J.'s pictures, and as soon as I have saved enough to place my order, I will place my order.  I just want to have all of these decisions made in advance so that when the time comes to send him on to his next adventure, my mind will be free to bask in the beautiful memories of him that will mean so much to me.  If you're interested in looking at her stuff, go to this link:  Nina's Big Store
  She makes all kinds of ceramic things in animal themes and they're all just wonderful.

So, that's one reason I've been out of the loop for so long.  Now that we know T.J. has more time with us, I can relax and get back into the swing of things.  I'm wondering just how much time, though. He had another episode the other night, and can barely walk without falling down now.  I have a call in to Gwen to find out if we can try some anti-seizure meds.  One possibility is that he might have brain disease, and that breaks my heart.  I'll try to keep you posted on his progress.


T.J.'s Memorial Urn by Nina Lyman
(This now sites on our bookcase headboard, where T.J. used to love to sit when he was a kitten)



T.J.'s Paw Print project, "The Heart of My Heart"
(as yet, unpainted because I am afraid of messing it up. I only have one chance!)




My heart is battered and bruised, but I will not let it break. It holds such precious cargo, I must protect it now. (Susie Squillions)

"Memories of loved ones are like songs in our soul." Margaret Wakeley

T.J.'S RESIDENCY:
http://RainbowsBridge.com/residents/TJ006/Resident.htm

BUDDY GUY AYRES~LYNCH'S RESIDENCY:
http://www.rainbowsbridge.com/residents/Buddy128/resident.HTM

KING BING THE GOD CAT'S RESIDENCY:
http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/BINGO009/Resident.htm

In one of the stars, I shall be living.
In one of them, I shall be laughing.
And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night.
~ The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
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creampuff

Susie, your love for T.J. is so evident and beautiful in the email to your friend.  What a sad time that was for you, but what a great mommy you were!  T.J.'s final days were so full of love, caring and companionship for both of you.  Comfort and blessings to you tonight, dear friend.  Jane

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Susie_Squillions
Dear Jane,

Thank you so much for your reply.  I'm sorry I couldn't reply to you last night, but I accidentally deleted my entire account.  What a nightmare!  So, today I start fresh with a new account, same familiar name. :-)

xoxoxo
Susie


In one of the stars, I shall be living. In one of them, I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night. -- The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

All tears are healing tears.  They help to wash away our sorrow and allow the first buds of happiness to blossom in our hearts. -- Susie "Squillions"

.T.J.'S RESIDENCY: http://RainbowsBridge.com/residents/TJ006/Resident.htm
.BUDDY GUY AYRES~LYNCH'S RESIDENCY: http://www.rainbowsbridge.com/residents/Buddy128/resident.HTM
.KING BING THE GOD CAT'S RESIDENCY: http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/BINGO009/Resident.htm
.
A fresh start after 947 posts. March 7th, 2011. I've been coming to this wonderful site since April 6, 2004.
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Roberta
Susie...
          Those eyes
The urn captured   TJ's beautiful eyes
The paw print   with the heart   says   it...
                                                          all
To me   it represents   the impression   all our furbabys   leave   on our hearts
Thank you
I looked   back   at the picture   of you holding TJ 
His eyes and body language   to me   represent...
                                                                    TJ saying...
                                                                                    I trust   you...
                                                                                                        completely   
                                                                                    Everything is/will be...
                                                                                                                  alright
Your face is...
                   sooo pale and stoic...
                                                 sooo brave and supportive
The picture will   always   represent   what we all seek...
                                                                             true, complete, and unconditional love
Many do/will envy...
                           you
I am sooo glad I've met you
You have   sooo many wise postings done   and   to come
I am getting   to be...
                              a better person
because...
              of you
Thank you...
                 again
Roberta aka SoppysGrammy 


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Susie_Squillions
((((Roberta))))

Your kind words mean so much to me today.  Your timing is perfect.  It's such a comfort to know that both you and Jane see in that picture exactly what Teege and I were both feeling.  Our love was so pure and it runs so deep. It began the instant we met and it will continue forever, and eternal bond. 

Thank you so much for your kindness.

xoxoxo
Susie

P.S.:  I can help you resize and crop your avatar picture if you like. It's so small that I can't see it clearly.  Just send it to me via e-mail and I'll make it a more visible presence for you to use here.

Susie.Squillions@gmail.com

In one of the stars, I shall be living. In one of them, I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night. -- The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

All tears are healing tears.  They help to wash away our sorrow and allow the first buds of happiness to blossom in our hearts. -- Susie "Squillions"

.T.J.'S RESIDENCY: http://RainbowsBridge.com/residents/TJ006/Resident.htm
.BUDDY GUY AYRES~LYNCH'S RESIDENCY: http://www.rainbowsbridge.com/residents/Buddy128/resident.HTM
.KING BING THE GOD CAT'S RESIDENCY: http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/BINGO009/Resident.htm
.
A fresh start after 947 posts. March 7th, 2011. I've been coming to this wonderful site since April 6, 2004.
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