I had to say goodbye to my beloved Rosalie two days before Christmas. She went into respiratory distress and a large mass was found on her trachea, which was almost entirely blocking her airway and ability to breathe. Because of its location, her age, and her condition, there were no realistic treatment options. I decided to let her go while she was still under anesthesia from the diagnostic procedure so she could slip out of this world as peacefully as possible.
Rosalie came into my life at the worst of times (my mother dying) and departed during another tough period of my life. I was fortunate to get six years with her delightful spirit. She was by far the easiest cat I’ve ever cared for and very affectionate. While I’ve loved the timid cats that I’ve adopted over the years, Rosalie was not shy at all. Nothing much seemed to spook her. She lived every day soaking up the simple pleasures of life (sitting on the heat vent or napping on the heated blanket during the winter, enjoying food, being petted, knocking her favorite crinkle ball toys under the couch) and I would marvel at how content and relaxed she was no matter what strife I and/or the world was facing.
I may have jinxed her by thinking she could be my “20 year old cat,” because she had the calm and happy-go-lucky demeanor that centenarians often have. Alas, cancer claimed her just a month after her 15th birthday.
The day I adopted Rosalie I put aside my normal common sense and went with my gut instinct. It was just days after another one of my beloved cats had died and many people would have felt it was too soon to adopt another. The weather that day was dreadful and for any other event or task, I would have opted out. Navigating through violent thunderstorms, I arrived at the shelter and met with Rosalie just minutes before another adopter arrived asking about her. From that fateful beginning, Rosalie and I forged a special bond.
She taught me that sometimes rules and traditions are meant to be broken and she could have taught a master class in self-care. I will be forever grateful that the universe brought her into my life.
The world lost one of its great comedic talents with the passing of Tim Conway this week. My mom loved watching him on The Carol Burnett Show, and I watched episodes with her as a pre-teen and teenager.
One interesting note was that it was reported last year that Conway had dementia. His daughter had mentioned the diagnosis in court filings. But when his obituary was filed, it made note of the fact that he did not have dementia or Alzheimer’s, but instead had excess fluid on the brain.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the outpouring of condolences from a variety of generations. I was unaware of his later voiceover work for animated productions until I checked out his IMDB profile.
We could all use a little more innocent humor nowadays, with the world seemingly so full of hate and division. While one of Conway’s best-known skits (and funniest) is “The Dentist,” I stumbled upon “Dog’s Life” and thought it was hilarious. Conway became his characters, even when they were non-human. His attention to detail elevated his comedic ability to a whole new level. Enjoy, and share with anyone who needs a mood lifter this week.
I’ve written before about how inspiring I found Miss Norma to be. At 90, after losing her husband and being diagnosed with stage IV uterine cancer in a short period of time, Norma decided to skip grueling cancer treatment and “hit the road.”
Norma joined her son, daughter-in-law, and dog and embarked on a year-long adventure of a lifetime. The journey was lovingly documented on the Driving Miss Norma Facebook page.
But all good things must come to an end. Norma Jean Bauerschmidt died Sept. 30, 2016. When asked how she wanted to be remembered, Norma said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if others could just spread joy in the world.”
Wouldn’t that be nice indeed.
Her bright, upbeat, and loving spirit will be missed, but I will forever be inspired by her choice to embrace quality of life and truly live the time she had left in this world. Norma in many ways reminded me of my own mother. I’ve included a couple of my favorite photos and posts of her below.
In memory of Norma, do something special for someone you love, or for a complete stranger. Spread the joy!