Judas crossed Rainbow Bridge

February 1, 2012

ImageYesterday at 2:10 p.m. EST my gorgeous red tabby Judas crossed over the bridge to meet her brother Hercules (4/5/2011). Judas had the same chronic renal failure indications that Hercules died of, but what actually took her down was oral cancer. When I couldn’t stop the bleeding in her mouth, I knew it was time to take her in. God was with me as my pet sitter had come over to say good-bye and so could run and get me some cloths to wipe her mouth. My guy friend, who normally doesn’t come over on Tuesdays, decided it was a better day and showed up exactly when I needed him to take me to the VET for the 2pm appt I was able to get just minutes after all this occurred. Everything fell into place once the decision was made. Thus, as I was crying hysterically, I knew I was being guided to do the right thing.

 Prior to this point, I was concerned that I might take even one precious day from Judas. How could I cut the life of such a beautiful creature by even one day if she was meant to have it. But it wasn’t in my hands. When a capillary broke in her diseased lower gum, the blood was pouring out. I carried her into the Vet in my arms with blood all over my shoulder where she had tried to bury her face. Up until the end, she looked to me for comfort, something she’d done since she was a kitten all the years ago.

 Both Hercules and Judas were found in my backyard the summer of 1994. He was named for coming to me first, being the brave one and she was named for being sneaky, grabbing the food I put out and then running away. I loved them both dearly, but each had different personalities. Judas, being a female was subservient to Hercules until her passed. She’s now had about 10 months to be the top cat, independent and stubborn until the end. She refused to allow me to do the fluid IV so I put Normysol solution in wet food 4 times a day. Then a few days ago, she started to refuse the doctored food (also with many supplements to try to overcome the cancer). So, I yielded to her will and gave her the plain wet food. She still barely ate.

 Yet, yesterday morning, she got up a bit brighter, had her pain medication, and ate more than usual. But the second meal at noon was fatal when a capillary broke and blood poured out. I had to take my beautiful girl in. She died in my arms with me telling her what a wonderful girl she had been, and how she couldn’t have been loved any more. I knew her soul had left when I saw her body lying there.

 I took her home to show my new rescue cat Skylar, whom I got in October. He hadn’t bonded with her yet and so seemed unimpressed. I haven’t noticed any change in him but I wanted to do this any way. Then I took Judas in a little box, with the help of a friend, down to be cremated. I will pick her up on Friday and hold a ceremony for her. Her ashes will be buried next to her brother so they can play forever at Rainbow Bridge. Already Hercules is telling me that she is there and not to worry about her. Still my heart is breaking for my beautiful girl.


Sleeping Into Oblivion

July 28, 2011

Ever feel like sleeping all day? Sometimes it’s just a matter of being tired and needing more sleep. Other times we may really be sick and our bodies may actually need rest to rejuvenate. These are all possibilities. Another one is that you’re depressed.

When you don’t feel quite like yourself, (who else could you feel like?), you might well want to avoid contact with other people and prefer to stay by yourself. I see this behavior in my cat Judas when she’s upset about something. A cat, you say, well, yes. Cats are very sensitive creatures and my Judas is particularly so. When her brother Hercules crossed over in April, Judas’ behavior changed dramatically. Whereas before, she wandered around the house, sat on different chairs in different rooms or in the sun by the front door, she would hide in the closet or just sleep in her little bed. Mostly she started to just sleep. This has been the beginning of what I’d call her grieving stage for her brother Hercules. She’s depressed over his loss. I can really tell. For her, sleeping is a way of getting away from the world as she knows it and simply checking out. Sometimes she stands in the middle of the living room floor and just screams at the top of her lungs. I find this her way of asking, “So where is my buddy Hercules?” How many of us would like to do the same thing when stuff happens in our lives or when someone dear to us departs? It all seems so unfair. One reaction is to try to unhook from our daily activities.      

Honestly, there are lots of events besides the loss of a loved one that can cause situational depression. This is a term that captures the symptoms of depression a person exhibits due to circumstances occurring within their world or environment; a caveat to this is that the behavior is not normal for them otherwise. Thus, the situation causes them to feel depressed rather than actually being depressed.  I’m not a psychologist so I don’t diagnose, nor treat depression, but I can certainly tell when my friends that are normally pretty happy get upset about something in their lives; they may even need to take medication for awhile, but this doesn’t label them as depressed people.

Then there are people who have given up on life and are in assisted living. These people really are depressed AND they sleep all day. When I visit my hospice clients as a volunteer, they all take lots of naps. In addition, when they’re not sleeping, they have a tendency to be physically present, but appear to be mentally checked out. Thus even when they are awake, it’s not the kind of awake that you or I are used to. Sometimes I chat with them, but little gets through to their comprehension. And, in return, they will tell me something like it’s important but the words formed from their mouths are garbled versions of what their brain has conceptualized. It’s all quite sad.

So, when I look at all this sleeping going on, is it just a momentary depression or a real depression? For Judas, she got up a little while ago and came to visit me! So there’s hope for her. She seems to be coming out of her depression. I tell her that I miss Hercules too and we can help each other. Having friends provides companionship and a sense of community. Pets need people and people need other people. That’s why I visit depressed people in the hospice. It’s so that they aren’t alone for that period of time. Perhaps it will help them to not be so depressed.


Final Farewell – Saying Good-bye to a Pet is so Very Hard

April 11, 2011

My darling angel Hercules was laid to rest Thursday April 7 at 2pm in a lovely garden ceremony near my home in Reston, VA. We chose his favorite play area, which we called his bunker, to bury his ashes. As I’m a minister, I conducted a full pet memorial program complete with music, saging the site, appropriate prayers, verses and those present offering remembrances of Hercules. He was held in high esteem by all who knew him as a very lovable guy. Even my coaching clients would often enjoy having him on their laps during sessions and stated that he improved their experience. His energy was wonderful. I know God was with us during the ceremony, as it was a most beautiful and warm day, with the days proceeding and after rainy and cold. How could it have been otherwise when one of God’s own angels is returned to him?

Hercules laid to rest

Hercules was brought to me by God in July, 1994 after I had prayed for cats to show up on my property to keep me company. My prior pet had died about five years prior and I was lonely for a companion. I only had to wait 4 months when these little babies showed up. Hercules got his name by being the first to come to me and allow my touch – so he was the brave one. His sister, Judas was the sneaky one. (She is still with me and I have to remember to give her extra love as she wonders where he’s gone.) So God brought Hercules to me as my little angel for 17 years, and as he was only a gift, he was returned to God on Tuesday April 5 at 4:25pm.

Hercules loved me unconditionally and I loved him in return; in fact, I had to love him enough to let him go. It was the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make. But let me say this. Now that I’m back in my logical mind, I realize that he was fighting to stay alive because he knew I was grieving. The signs of his severe deterioration were there, but I kept telling myself – just one more intervention and he’ll be ok. Eventually, I knew it was enough and together we made the decision over this past weekend. Somehow he knew, because Monday night he was more like his old self. He ate better, seemed more alert, and slept with me under the covers like he used to do prior to getting so sick. We had a very good last day.

Bless you Hercules. I couldn’t have loved you more and you couldn’t have loved me more. I learned never to let a day go by without telling you how much I loved you. I’m so glad that I did. You truly were a blessing, one that will remain in my heart all the days of my life.

Good-bye my angel. May God keep you safe in his divine light.


When it’s time for a pet to go

April 8, 2011

How much life is enough?

When deciding when to let a beloved pet go, one must consider their quality of life over one’s own feelings. This is an extremely difficult thing to do and a trial on which I was tested this past weekend.

For nearly two-months my dear cat Hercules was battling with chronic renal failure including anemia, dementia, possibly tumors and a host of other ailments. We would get one of his major issues under control and then another would pop up. He was on fluids for the renal failure which I learned to administer. Then his red blood cell count took a nose dive and thrice weekly shots were required. He needed four different medications twice daily and some natural remedies which I found to be helpful. All this I learned to deliver in as reasonable manner as possible, partly through trial and error. Which meds could be taken together and given in one syringe? Which ones tasted funny thus requiring a bit of ground up food be mixed in to camouflage the taste? I experimented until I had worked out a program that took about 2 hours in the morning and about 1.5 hours in the evening.

Hercules

I curtailed my own activities to make sure I was home in time to do the evening medical program, including having my birthday dinner at 4pm so that I could be available. I didn’t mind taking care of my little darling. After all, for nearly 17 years he’d given me love, companionship, and reminded me when it was time to go to bed and often woke me in the morning. “Mommy, get up and feed me.” “Mommy, pet me.” “Mommy put food in my bowl.” Often, I’ve hear him outside my home letting me know he wanted to come in and then he’d cry to tell me he wanted to go outside. He was a great communicator. Unfortunately, once he got sick, he lost his voice. Or perhaps, he was too weak to use it.

 When the time comes:

During one of our several emergency room visits, the attending veterinary technician gave me some advice. Having just put her dog down, she said in response to my question of, how do you know when it’s the right time? “When there are more bad days than good ones.”  Then she added, “Be sure to pick a good day.”  Her words kept ringing in my head. I was evaluating my pet’s life. Was his situation bad enough to end his life?

 When yet another crisis occurred over the weekend, I had to face the reality. The pattern of problems was a sign of the inevitable. It was like putting one’s finger in the dam. Eventually, it wouldn’t hold the flood of water back. Hercules loved me so much that he was stoically dealing with the needles, the meds being popped in my mouth, the forced feedings because he knew I was grieving. I was crying so much. I didn’t want to let go.

 There’s a sense among pet owners that one more intervention will get the pet over the mountain and on the other side with renewed strength and vigor. And, sometimes the new medicine or protocol does buy weeks or months of life. But for my Hercules, the non-stop care bought him 7 weeks of added life. However, I realized that he had no real quality in that life. Sure, he was alive. He could walk down the stairs, but no longer up (his heart wouldn’t take it). He could lie in the sun at the foot of the stairs, which he enjoyed. However, I had to watch him constantly or he would end up in the lower level just sitting on the bathroom mat since he couldn’t walk back up again. Sometimes he’d eat on his own, and sometimes I had to force him. He hated being force fed.

 Then there was the dementia. He could have a can of food sitting right in front of him and he wouldn’t realize it. I had to constantly put the food under his nose and then he would eat some. This meant that I had to be there or he wouldn’t eat. If I had to go out of the house for a few hours, it would be hours that he wasn’t eating. So my schedule totally revolved around him. When did he need his fluids? When did he need to eat? I didn’t mind caring for him, but it was limiting for me. He was my baby and I loved him. That said, I finally had to let go. God had given this little angel to me and it was time for me to love him enough to stand back and let him go to his peace.

 I had a talk with him over the weekend and we agreed. It would be Tuesday when his regular vet came back to the animal hospital. Somehow he must have known, since we had a wonderful day together. He ate more, seemed more like his old self and slept under the covers with me. But I agonized over the decision right up to the last moment. At the vet’s, I was crying horribly. Then a sense of calm came over me. Hercules and I knew it was the time. We both were ready. The vet gave him an anesthesia and within seconds he put his little head down and that was it. He was out. The vet told me he was ready. He was at peace.

 My little darling Hercules passed at 4:25 pm April 5. I stayed with him for about 20 minutes until I realized the body on the table was no longer Hercules. He was gone to Rainbow Bridge to wait for me. Upon coming home I I lit a candle to celebrate his life and said prayers. May God’s light shine on him forever. And so it is. Amen.

 Here is the poem about Rainbow Bridge:

There is a bridge connecting heaven and earth
It is called Rainbow Bridge because of its many colours

Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows,
hills, valleys with lush green grass

When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this special place
There is always food and water and warm spring weather

The old and frail are young again
Those who are maimed are made whole again

They play all day with each other
There is only one thing missing

They are not with their special person who loved them on Earth
So each day they run and play until the day comes
when one suddenly stops playing and looks up !

The nose twitches !
The ears are up !
The eyes are staring !
And this one suddenly runs from the group !

You have been seen, and when you and your special friend meet,
you take him or her into your arms and embrace
your face is kissed again and again,
and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet

Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never again to be separated

Author Unknown


Pay It Forward

February 4, 2011
Pay it forward

Pay it forward

There is an expression going around lately called “pay it forward”. This means to do random acts of kindness without anyone doing anything nice for you… yet. In other words, you are kind, loving, sharing, etc. in advance of anything coming to you. It’s based on being in the Law of Abundance; that is, that there is an unlimited supply of everything around us. All we have to do is believe and it will be manifested for us. Is it hard to believe in such a miraculous concept? Well, people are starting to believe and such miracles are happening.

Here’s one of the many examples that I’ve personally experienced. Last Saturday I went to a spiritually-based program. The leaders practiced abundance in holding a program for donations only. During the program, the woman next to me wanted to buy one of my books as she knew someone who’d just lost a friend. She wanted to help her friend by giving him a copy of a book that is a spiritual perspective on death and dying in the hope that it would support his grieving process. I was happy to oblige. In the spirit of abundance, I added a donation to the box for the presenters since my “sale” happened just before their program. I was in the right place at the right time because of their holding this program and I wanted to continue the movement of positive energy.

After the program, while I was in the ladies’ room, a woman heard me mention my book, and said, “You’re an author?” “Yes, I replied”. “My book is available here in the library”. I saw the pained look on her face and I inquired, “Have you just lost someone?” “Yes”, she said. Then I offered to “check in” as I call it to see if her friend had information that might help this person with her grieving. We exchanged enough information so that if she was meant to receive a message she would get one. She hugged me being so grateful for my offering to help a perfect stranger. But I know the call to service when the bell rings for me. Meeting someone in such a synchronistic manner makes me take notice.

 I went home that evening and meditated. What was the situation with the departed? I picked up on his sorrow at leaving this world without his good-byes to his long-time friend, the illness which took him, partly of his own doing since it was addiction-related and one more thing. He also regretted a misunderstanding about an item of his estate and for whom it was meant. The next day, I called the woman and gave her my information. I was correct on all counts and she was extremely happy. She expressed her gratitude and wanted to repay me in some manner. I told her, “Don’t worry. The universe will take care of me.”

I didn’t have to wait long. The very next day I received a call from a woman who’d seen a notice about an upcoming presentation I was scheduled to do. She had checked my website and called me for a consultation. After the complementary phone session, she decided to book some coaching hours. There was no doubt in my mind what had happened. The universe was bringing business my way; I was getting back what I was giving out. Isn’t it just great how it works? Try it for yourself and see. In the meanwhile, you might be surprised where the good things will come from, so just allow it all to unfold.


Life after grief

June 16, 2010

The Circle of Life – A Journey Through Grief to Understanding, is author and intuitive Joanne Aaronson’s personal account of after death communication in order to promote a spiritual perspective on death and dying.

Where does this philosophy originate? The continuation of the soul after life, through a wheel of rebirths is

Healing from grief

known as reincarnation in the East. It is also integral to the Jewish religion through Kabbalah – the recurring wheel of rebirth enabling the soul to attain perfection. The point is that death is not the end. We do continue on, yes in another form, but we never cease to exist. As Einstein said, “Energy is neither created nor destroyed, it only changes shape.” Thus a soul that has lived in this physical dimension carries on in another form in the next. Knowing that your loved one continues on provides a degree of comfort.

Death is not the end and under certain circumstances, communication with the departed is possible. Anyone that loses a loved one goes through the stages of grief that are so painful it’s like tearing one’s heart out. Understanding the increasing fortitude, courage and resilience of one widow can provide encouragement to another.

In this amazing story, read how Joanne’s daily guidance helped her mother put her life back together after the only man she ever loved was gone. As is common with the circle of life, there were journeys within journeys, and eventually, the teacher learned from the student. In turn, the reader can learn from the experience of others while being educated along the way. There are underlying spiritual principles presented that can provide guideposts from which to interpret life’s twists and turns during your own journey through the circle of life.

There is life after grief.


Introduction for The Circle of Life – A Journey Through Grief to Understanding

May 24, 2010

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