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Jake was a very special cat. He was more like an old, wise soul rather than a pet. He began the dying process this past April and he transitioned on May 8, 2002. Jake was my very best buddy. We had been together for over 10 years and he was somewhere between 13 to 15 years old.
Jake came to me as a stray when I lived in Maryland. He was named for the song "Feed Jake" by the southern rock group, Pirates of the Mississippi. Actually, the song was about a dog...a best friend. If you’ve ever heard the words to the song…you would understand how appropriate his name became. Jake and I were both “standing at the crossroads in life”. I believe that he hung in here as long as he did just to be sure I was going to be okay after a major life change for me...we had been through a lot together in those 10 years…we had seen it all and faced it all…together.
At a time when Jake was much healthier and more playful, I used to wonder what he was always looking at or chasing when there was nothing obvious to the human eye. Up the wall, down the halls and staring at “something” for long periods of time. When I began ghost hunting and studying metaphysics, I learned how very sensitive animals are to spirits. I quickly realized that he was seeing into a spectrum that I could not see into. He was seeing the spirits and even interacting with them! We had taken many photos and videotapes of orbs around him.
Jake was doing real well up until about a year and a half ago and then he began to lose weight. He was once a 22 pound cat...part Maine Coone...(they do get that big). Naturally, I took him to the vet and kept taking him for regular visits for blood tests. He had developed a thyroid condition and a heart murmur so the vet prescribed Tapazole. He did real well with the medication at first...but he had not been responding to it well for the last few months. His weight had dropped to 12 pounds over the past year and continued to drop. At the time of his passing, he was just fur and bones. You could tell that it hurt for him to move. The used to love to be picked up and put over my shoulder for “kitty hugs”, but he felt so fragile that I was afraid to hug him too tightly. His breathing became labored, almost wheezing at times. He stopped eating...only drinking a little lactose–free milk and alot of water. I made the decision to stop his meds just two weeks before he passed. He seemed to appreciate that.
In trying to prepare myself for the inevitable, we had many heart-to-heart "talks". Yes...we can communicate with our pets! A week before he passed, he said, “I am happy for the time we had together and we've been through alot. But now I am tired and I want you to know that I love you very much and I thank you for taking such good care of me. It will all be okay. I don't like to see you hurting over me. Remember the good times.” Then he would go and hide under the bed in a particular spot or turn his back and curl up away from me after we’d ‘talk’.
Yarrow II, my other cat, a little over a year old...a teenager in cat years…seemed to be a bit oblivious to Jake's condition and still wanted to play at times. However, other times he would take over Jake’s care…licking him and keeping him clean. Jake did not seem to be suffering or in any severe pain, so I could not, in good conscious, take him to be "put down". He didn’t want that anyway, and I respected his wishes. The vet had told me many months ago that eventually his heart would just give out. It was really hard to see him in that condition. I would worry that I would come home from work or from running errands and he will be gone...I wanted so badly to be here for him...to have the chance for a last "good-bye" and to be with him in the end.
He enjoyed his last days and evenings on the back porch for short periods of time, but he mostly preferred the refuge of my room or under Tim's computer chair when I was not home. At night, he always slept beside me. He felt a special fondness for Monica & Tim and would occasionally visit them in their room. I was surprised one day when I came home from work and found him sitting in Starr's lap while she was watching TV. He hadn’t been around kids in a very long time, but I remember how much he used to love them. Just a few years ago he would sit by the door at Halloween to see the kids come for their trick-or-treats. The kids always wanted to pet him and he loved the attention! Jake got along real well and Tasha (their dog) and Tasha would follow him around and stay close. Even Yarrow had his good moments and would lie close to him when they were on the porch together.
Each day, Jake grew more tired and weaker. His breathing became more labored. One could tell that it hurt him more and more to move. In trying to face the inevitable, I made the decision to stop his meds...he was appreciative of that. He stayed extremely close to me in the last days, and we spent alot of time together remembering old times and saying our good-byes. We had a very special bond and we had always communicated very well throughout our years together. Jake and I had many ‘talks’ over the last weeks. I knew how he was going to leave. I knew that he would go in his sleep…he told me. I had tried to prepare myself, but I guess you can never really be prepared for such a loss.
May 8, 2002
Dear Jake…my very best and dearest friend, my buddy, my “Booger-Boy”,
Words cannot adequately express what my heart is feeling right now. Aside from the grief and pain, my heart is full of gratitude. I thank you, my dear, wonderful friend for the special moments and time we had together. I thank you for being my friend and my protector. I thank you for your unconditional love. We’ve
been through it all together! You always stuck by me…you’ve always been here for me…I know that in spirit you always will be.
You were always more than a cat to me. Oh, Jake, you were so much more! I always loved to watch you play in your younger, healthier days. You were always such a great source of strength, laughter and joy for me. And as you grew older and weaker, I realized that you were, indeed, a very wise, old soul. You will always be a part of me. I will remember you…always.
I know that you approve of my plans for your physical body…to have you cremated and your ashes taken back to Maryland…where our life together began. Jeremy and I will take you to that very special and sacred place…my mountain. A place where I have always felt closer to Mother/Father God than anywhere else on this earth plane. Someday, I will join you there.
I am sorry if you ever felt pain. I know that it was very difficult for you during your last few weeks. You left this earth plane exactly as you said you would…quietly, in your sleep, close to me. I am forever grateful that we said goodbye last night…to see your eyes looking at me, knowing how much I loved you and you hearing me tell you so. I “heard” you say goodbye…I “heard” you say you loved me and that you would always be with me. You are in a much better place out of your physical body now. It is time for you to join Fuji, Snow, Sam, Hazel, Miss Belle and Yarrow. Rest now, my dear friend, and play with the angels. They will love you too!
I will love you forever. I will never forget you.