…don’t take any sh*t.

I said goodbye to my beloved cat Emmylou yesterday, on the last day of 2019. Emmy was diagnosed with a very aggressive type of mouth cancer at the beginning of December. I had two other cats pass from the exact same cancer, so I knew we didn’t have much more time together. I was gobsmacked to say the least, and I think she was pissed because she wasn’t even nine yet, and because she could be well, ‘pissy’. One of her many nicknames was “Missy Pissy.” 

Emmy was quality control officer for TuckerWoods Artisan Yarns. She liked mohair and cashmere.

I decided that Emmy deserved a sort of bucket list. I let her into my fiber room (yes I have that, a leftover from my old business TuckerWoods Artisan Yarns) where she could nestle into her favorite pile of mohair. I got a new window birdfeeder for her to watch, what we call Bird TV and to hell with the squirrels who might start raiding it again. I got all kinds of foods to see what she would be interested in eating. She still only liked the fishy ones and I hate the smell of fish. That’s love!

We had a lot of quality snuggling time over the last few weeks. I binged the last season of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel with her by my side, purring away.

Christmas Eve, 2019

But life with Emmylou was not all lovin’ and purrin’. Emmy knew what she wanted and when she wanted it and when she was done with it. She had no qualms about letting you know in the most visceral way: a quick-as-lightning slashing paw. One of her many nicknames was “Princess Slasher”.

Baby Emmylou, our first night together

I got her as a wee kitten along with her brother, Gram at 8 weeks old. They were named after musicians Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons. They were born on Valentine’s Day and I have come to understand that each in their own way have taught me some things about love. Emmy’s way was to love boldly and without apologies, and Goofy Gram is to love life in a BIG way.

Emmylou and Gram, bookends forever.

Emmylou was a just a cat, but she was my cat and she was ‘Some Cat’ (another nickname). I believe everyone, animals and humans alike, come into our lives for a reason; with things to teach us. As I reflect on my way-too-short a time with Emmy, I think her biggest lesson for me was to love unconditionally, simply and kindly. Emmy made no apologies about who she was, you had to love her and accept her just as she was.

Snuggling with Kizzie Dog – I hope they are once again snuggling together wherever they are.

Her next lesson on the list: to be BOLD. One of my first emails today was from my productivity app telling me to get ONE thing done today, the first day of 2020. I have had a mental block about getting serious about regularly writing my blog even though I really want to. ‘Write a blog entry’ is a task in my app that is 247 days overdue! Well, “Miss Emmy”(yet another nickname) today is the day. Be bold about what you want, when you want it and know when it’s time to move on.

Emmylou, studio manager.

And finally, be Brave and don’t take any sh*t. Emmylou could be my “Sweetness,” (yes, another nickname) who slept tucked against me every night. She was a sassy girl (okay, “Sassy Pants”, another nickname) loudly broadcasted what she wanted (and that would be “Missy Pissy”.) She would run into the bathroom, meowing at the top of her lungs for us to turn on the water faucet so she could drink from the running water.  She would loudly demand that we rub her ears, her eyes, and her nose (yes she really liked it!) She had a way of sashaying over to be petted, with her beautiful plume of a tail flicking from side to side. That is until “Princess Slasher” showed up to say she had had enough. Yesterday, my brave, beautiful and sweet Emmylou, still not taking any sh*t, said she had had enough. 

Still playing, Emmy in a box, Christmas Eve, 2019

Rest in peace, Emmylou. I’m sad you are not here with me but I’m happy that you are no longer in pain. Say hello to all of our critters that went before you and know that I will work on the lessons you lived – I will try to be kinder, bolder, braver and finally to not take any sh*t, just like you.

Emmylou watching Bird TV, 12/30/19