September 25, 1995 - April 25, 2011
Mom Paula: I had the hardest time writing this post last night. It's been a long week for me as I had some surgery last week to remove a skin cancer and work has been exhausting. I'd gone to a baseball game to watch my Gamecocks play to try and relax (baseball is a very relaxing sport to watch). I came home and took a late afternoon nap. I woke up and was anxious and depressed. Truffle and Brulee immediately sensed something was wrong and both sat beside me as I sat in my chair with tears flowing. I couldn't figure out why I was feeling this way until I looked at the calendar and realized that this time, five years ago on a Sunday, Praline and I talked and made the decision to let her go to a place where she was no longer in pain. I looked at the glass cabinet where her ashes are kept, along with a photo, a favorite toy, and a lock of her beautiful fur and all of those emotions came flooding back. I know I made the right decision five years ago and it was the ultimate act of love to help her ease her pain, but it was so hard. Praline was with me almost 16 years, She came to live with me as a 12-week old kitten as I was going through a divorce after 21 years of marriage. She and I survived my earning a Ph.D., changing careers after 18 years to become a college professor, being "fired" from my first job ever, taking that leap of faith and changing careers again, and recuperating from 13 surgeries over a 5-year period. Praline was my heart kitty. I truly believe she led me to Truffle, Beignet, and Brulee. My heart feels that she called little Beignet to come keep her company at the bridge so she would have companionship and love until that day when I join them again in the great beyond. Even though it was five years ago she left us, it seems like yesterday. I love Truffle and Brulee with all my heart, but I miss my little Diva!
|Praline displaying her beautiful colored coat|
Praline was a purebred Persian. Her mother was a seal-point Himalayan and her father was a red tabby Persian. She was registered as a tortoiseshell Persian because she didn't have blue eyes and some of her paw pads were pink instead of black like the pointed Persians. She had a beautiful creamy caramel colored coat and had the seal-colored points on her tail, paws, face, and ears. However, her face only had the seal-color on 3/4 of her face. I liked to call her my Phantom cat because of that half mask. Praline had the loudest purr and would always purr when I talked to someone on the phone. She also loved having her belly rubbed and would stretch out those floofy arms to make sure I could scratch every part of her belly. She also relished having her grooming sessions. I would hold up the comb or brush and she'd come running to be groomed. I wish Truffle and Brulee were as accepting of grooming. Thoughts of Praline always bring a smile to my face because she was a character. A year ago, when I talked to a pet psychic, she said that Praline communicated with Truffle all the time. She was teaching Truffle how to take care of me.
|Praline in her healthier days with her Persian scowl|
Sometimes, it feels as though it's been ages since Praline went to the bridge. Other times, like today, it feels like it happened yesterday. I know I was in denial when Praline first had a cancer removed from her face a year earlier. I look back and I knew her time was limited. She wasn't eating as well and her fur wasn't the beautiful tortoiseshell it had always been. I remember showing a photo to one of my aunts of Praline and her comment was, "Is she sick? She looks skinny." I remember saying she was fine. I look back at those photos now and she'd definitely lost weight and her coat was greasy. She was constantly vomiting every day by February that year. I took her to the vet and the bloodwork showed she was fine. We gave her some medication to help her appetite and to control the nausea. I remember feeding her from my fingers to get her to eat. The devastating news came in March 2011 when the vet found a mass in her digestive tract. We discussed doing a biopsy and all of the possibilities of treatment for cancer, but the vet recommended I not put Praline through all of this because just the biopsy could kill her. The diagnosis was one to six months. I did everything I could that short month to help Praline stay comfortable. I took her to the vet again on a Thursday (it was obvious she was going downhill). The vet asked me that day if I was ready to make a decision to let her go. I remember being in shock at the question. I asked the vet if I could let her die peacefully at home and the vet told me it wouldn't be peaceful. She said Praline was starving to death. The vet looked at Praline and told me she still saw some fight in her eyes and it wasn't time, but that I'd probably be bringing Praline back the next week.
|Praline in the sunbeams.|
The next day, Praline stopped eating and wouldn't even eat her treats. She never turned down treats. I knew my time on this Earth with Praline was drawing to a close. We had a heart-to-heart chat on that Saturday. I looked into her eyes and told her how much I loved her and that I knew she was tired. I told her that I would be okay and if she could hold on until Monday morning, I would help her cross the Rainbow Bridge. I held her close and tried to make those last days as pleasant and comfortable as possible. I reached out to an animal communicator that weekend about Praline. I didn't tell her what was happening; I just asked what I could do for Praline. Here is the response I received that Sunday after Praline and I had talked Saturday. I don't know how many of you believe in animal communicators, but Coryelle reported exactly what happened that weekend.
Hi Praline & Paula
I want to first thank you all for giving to the opportunity to connect with Praline today. Here is what I received. "We've talked, and worked out the signals for knowing when it's time, we've said what needed to be said and we keep saying it. We've hugged and cried cuddled and nuzzled and everything is going exactly as it should. It's all unfolding purrrfectly (sorry mom I just couldn't resist!). Thank you for saying you would let me go I needed to hear that."
I hope this helps you both ~ Coryelle
Thanks Praline for talking with me!
|Praline as a kitten - First Day Home - 1995|
Monday morning, I was surprised when Praline jumped on the bed and greeted me as I woke up. She'd been so weak that weekend that I was almost tempted to delay taking her to the vet. However, I knew it was time. She didn't even fight me when I put her in the carrier (she always did). I won't go into details about the vet visit, but Praline was a diva until the end. She hissed at the vet when the first shot was administered and immediately climbed on my shoulder where she fell asleep. I know I did what was best for her. I've read many comments on FB throughout the years that it is better to help your furchild cross the bridge a week too early than a day too late. As much as it hurt to let her go, I did it because I loved her. Praline's ashes are at home with me and I know she's visited from the bridge because I've felt her touch on my legs and even saw her one evening sitting in the doorway looking at me. She left a huge hole in my heart, but she sent me two wonderful and loving girls in Truffle and Brulee.