Monday, April 25, 2016

Remembering Our Sweet Diva

We're pausing from our normal playful selves today to remember our sister-before-us, Sweet Praline.  Praline was known as the Diva of the Cat Blogosphere and was the reason Mom Paula began blogging almost 8 years ago.  Praline definitely had that Persian personality and thought everyone should pamper her in the manner she'd grown accustomed.  Praline had that perpetual Persian frown on her face, but she could purr with the best of kitties.  Praline was almost 16 years old when she crossed the bridge because of cancer.  This photo is one of Mom Paula's favorite photos because it was taken right after Praline was diagnosed with cancer and the photo is one of the best that was taken of her and she was looking into the sunshine as if she knew better days were ahead.  She left this earth less than a month later.  Many of you will remember Sweet Praline, but for some, she may be new to you.  You can visit her blog at Sweet Praline to see three years of memories.
Remembering Sweet Praline - 5 years later
Sweet Praline
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.

Remembrance Video

I'm including the memory video I put together the night before helping Praline to the bridge., There are photos of her from the 15+ years we were together.  I don't know why the first part of the music has some static because the recording is very clear, but when paired with the video, the first part is weird.  I always said it was Praline's way of letting me know she was still with me.  The voice behind the video is me singing.   I hope you enjoy sharing my special memories of Sweet Praline.
 

35 comments:

  1. It is special to remember a loved one on an anniversary or anny day. We loved Sweet Praline and remember her fondly. She was a special kitteh of the Blogosphere...

    One of the greatest things of us kittehs lives is to know how well we will be remembered after we go to the Bridge. We dont live as long as you Beins. TBT thinks of Skeeter and LC very very often. And you think of your own dearest furiends as well.

    And it is not surprising that the song on the radio is "Remember, Remember". Mebbe it is not a coincidence...

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  2. Miss Praline was a stunning kitty! I never knew her, of course, but Sparkle was very fond of her. Purrs to you - your heart remembered before your mind remembered the date.

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  3. We send you comforting purrs today as you remember Sweet Praline.
    We remember her too.
    Purrs Georgia and Julie,
    Treasure and JJ

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  4. We will never forget that day. Mom Peggy was sobbing hearing the sad news. It is comforting for us knowing our Angel Cerise and Angel Praline are together at The Bridge. Hugs to Mom Paula.

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  5. What a wonderful tribute and lovely song. So much sweeter that it's sung by you! Beautiful.

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  6. I remember Sweet Praline too. I was always interested in her unique coloring. The pink pawpads are just from her being a Tortie. Thus normally she should have been as dark as her ears and as red as that one toe all over. I concluded that she is a Sepia Pointed cat, like a Burmese. This explains the gold eyes. This is like the pointed gene Himalayans have but lower contrast so the fading on warm parts is much less. Also this means the mother must have been a Mink pointed cat rather than a true Himmie.

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    1. Thank you for your comments. Praline's eyes were more green than gold (result of using a flash indoors). The mother was a seal-point Himmie (I saw her when I got Praline). I received the paperwork from CFA and also ordered her cat history tree. The culprit was her red tabby father, who gave her the lighter coat and some red/pink toe pads.

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  7. We remember Praline. Gentle woooos,

    Nuk

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  8. We remember Praline too - she was always happy and we could see that she adored you Paula.

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  9. what a sweet face - we know she is watching over all of you

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  10. We never knew Praline, but we know how much you love her. She was lucky to have you as her human. The pain never really goes away, but we know you will see her again. In the meantime, please accept some hugs and love from us.

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  11. She was such a beautiful kitty. Big hugs and purrs to you today while you remember your Sweet Praline.

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  12. It's so bittersweet to remember. You miss them so, and yet those were such wonderful years ....

    Sending hugs & purrs your way....

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  13. Sweet Praline was beautiful. We never forget those we love. XO

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  14. We remember Sweet Praline. She was such a special kitty. We send you lots and lots of purrs as you remember her this day. She may be gone...but she will never be forgotten...and she will always be loved.

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  15. Paula, your voice is exquisite. Truly. Praline was such a beauty...we didn't know her but can see how special she was. {{{HUGS}}}

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  16. Sometimes we never get over the loss of our pets. They take a piece of our heart with them.

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  17. Praline always was, and will always be our most favorite Diva.

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  18. We remember dear, sweet Praline, and miss her so very much. Love, hugs and purrs as you miss your heart diva kitty. <3

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  19. Praline was lovely! What a sweet tribute to her.

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  20. I know that we discussed your beautiful Sweet Praline when we met last year. She is every bit as incredible as you described her. ♥ ♥ Your video is a lovely tribute.

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  21. What a gorgeous girl she was and what an amazing tribute to her! I will send comforting thoughts and prayers your way.

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  22. Thank you so much for sharing! What a wonderful post to remember her by! :)

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  23. Praline looks like a sweetie! What a beautiful tribute to a gorgeous kitty! <3

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  24. Praline looks like such a beautiful cat- great inspiration for you. I love your video and blog tribute (your voice is incredible). I am sure it is painful, but it is very healthy to remember and celebrate her life I think. Thanks for sharing.

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  25. Praline was such a beauty! I can see what a special kitty she was. I hope Truffle and Brulee gave you comfort at this time.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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  26. What a beautiful girl. Saying goodbye is so hard but your tribute to Praline is so lovely. Sending you peaceful thoughts as you remember Praline.

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  27. We didn't know Sweet Praline, but she sounds like an amazing kitty. She was with you through a lot, and a bond like that can never be broken! Sending love and hugs <3

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  28. I know how hard it is when a loved one dies. Praline was beautiful and she was there for you when you needed her most. That kind of love is so special. I am glad that you can remember the joy and love you shared.

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  29. It's impossible to describe the effect an animal can have on our lives and how their loss is devastating. Hugging my boys extra-tight this morning!

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  30. OMC! Sweet Praline was furriends with @Isagold & @WallasEKatt back in the good old days! Thank you for commemorating her, it's lovely to revisit old friends and we hope each time you do a little piece of your heart is healed.
    Annette @PetsAreFound

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  31. What a beautiful post. We didn't know Praline but she sure was gorgeous and she shared a lot with you. It made mom kind of teary remembering her heart kitty before me.

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  32. Hi Paula, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity of connecting and talking with Praline. Your post was a lovely tribute to your darling girl life and it was a honor to be a small, small part of it.
    It's never easy to let them go, but living with animals is always worth the pain of them moving on and your post showed that lovingly well. XOXOX

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