Getting ready for a trip to Hawaii, I was dropping off my cat Teddy at his usual “Cat Hotel” when I felt a tug on my shoelace. I looked down and a fur-ocious little gray tabby kitten was trying to take me down.

“Who’s this?” I inquired.

They explained that she was a rescue that someone just dropped off, leaving her to become “someone else’s problem.” I wasn’t planning on having a two-cat household, but I made a promise to her.

“If you’re here when I get back, you’re coming home with me.”

She was there.

She became “Leilani” which means “Heavenly Flower” and it was the beginning of a 12-year romance.

I had also just purchased a new home, so I asked if they could board her for just a little while longer while I get the place ready. It was a new home for both of us (well, Teddy too!)

She was the baby until Teddy passed away a few years later and became the “old lady” when Indie joined the brood.

Most of all she was my little cuddle buddy. Even if she was nowhere to be found at bedtime, I’d always wake up with her nestled in my arms.

The fact that I was extremely allergic to cats was a bit of a problem. I had to take allergy shots every week on my way to work and ended up in the ER one evening when I had run out of medication.

But, come on… the cuddles were worth it.

She was worth it.

Yet I loved her selfishly. When she was diagnosed with cancer and given a year to live, I fought harder that I should have… longer than she deserved.

They told me towards the end that an optional treatment would be harsh, that this-that-and-the-other-thing could happen. I wanted one more Christmas. I said “yes” to the treatment.

The very next day, “this” happened… then “that” … I wanted to take it all back, to say “no” … to say “I’m sorry” … but it was too late. “The other thing” took her away on the kitchen floor.

It was the first loss of 2018. Who knew it was just the beginning.

She’s now in an urn on a shelf and a ghost who cuddles me while I sleep.


The biggest gift I want to give my son is a trip to England in April 2023 when I’m showing my art in a gallery in London. Please help make this dream come true. Every little bit helps.

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