Another Paw Angel Is Born -> Rand 2002-2020
Another week of 2020, and the changes go on.
Of course COVID-19 continues to dominate the news and our lives. We’re under further restrictions here in France both on movement and how long we’re going to be under lock-down (our quarantine has been extended to April 15th). And sadly on the other side of the pond, infection rates have accelerated. The US now has the largest number of reported cases in the world* and it doesn’t look like the numbers will be slowing down anytime soon.
It’s all happened so fast, far too fast….
In our little corner of the world everything has changed dramatically too. Our sweet Rand joined her sister in paw heaven mere days after my last blog post, far faster than I had imagined or prepared myself for. But our little girl simply could no more and we had to let her go. Today’s blog post, part prose and part ode, is all for her.
*Pre-Post Note/ My dear blog readers, I know I keep hammering on about this but if you’re traveling & haven’t yet found a place to hunker down & ride COVID-19 out, I urge you to do so now. At the rate case numbers are growing, mass restrictions and lock-downs are inevitable, so find somewhere you can be comfortable, safe & stationary for the coming months. IMO this will end up being a longer ride.
A Paw Angel In Life
What can you say when another of your babies passes away?
Rand was not the extrovert her sister was. She was a timid girl, a sweet and soft little thing that few people got to know. She loved the wide-open SW desert, just like her mom, and would happily hike with her family in the winter sands. But she hated strangers and crowds and would hide whenever people were around.
She was also a reluctant traveler, preferring days at rest cuddled in deep sleep with her sister, rather than hours on the road. A true homebody in every sense of the word.
Yet she was always there, my soft heart, a deep and tranquil piece of my soul for over 18 years. She was as much a part of me as her sister, the introvert and extrovert reflected, two paw angels watching over us in life.
She Followed Her Sister In Everything
I have no wild adventures to tell of Rand simply because she wasn’t that kind of cat.
She followed her sister in everything like a shadow, both in sickness and in health, but she preferred the background rather than the light, letting her sister do all the crazy adventures while she held back. Yet her softness, like many souls of that nature, also held enormous strength. She rarely showed signs of illness, and would hide her symptoms until they were quite far along, like her kidney disease.
These past months she must have held it together so very tight for it all to fall apart so very quickly. I think perhaps she waited for Taggart to pass first before she let herself show, and then she held on for me as long as she could, before finally letting go.
She was that kind of cat.
We Had A Good Final Day
Rand had a rally day just like her sister did, a last day to share the light.
It was last Sunday, and it was a beautiful Spring day. She ate really well that morning, her energy levels higher than they had been all week, and we both sat outside for an hour or more enjoying the buzzing insects, colorful tulips and warm sun. I photographed her and shared a pic on the blog, a rare event in that Rand never really liked being in front of the camera. For some reason however, she indulged me that day, posing and accepting my attentions without complaint.
They were the last shots I would ever take of her outside.
That afternoon she slept deeply in her favorite spot in the closet, her head tucked in tight amongst the clothes, hidden away from the world the way she always liked it. I thought perhaps she had turned around, and we would have a little more precious time together. But alas it was not meant to be.
She Passed With Grace
Again, just like her sister, that final rally day was her last.
The following morning her energy had drained completely, like a waterfall run dry. She was no longer eating, or breathing well and her legs had gone. Her candle was extinguishing fast and it was clear she had no will to carry on. So that afternoon, with profound grief and heavy hearts we took her in.
Thankfully the vet made accommodations, and Rand, graceful and considerate until the end took care of the rest.
After the vet gave her the anesthetic, she allowed us to take her outside and hold her in our arms together, while she fell asleep. As we sat there under the oak tree, the wind softly blowing, her paws against my arm, her soft belly under my fingertips, she took her last breaths and passed away all on her own. My gorgeous, savvy little girl had heard my whispers and allowed us all to be together at the end. For that I am eternally grateful.
So Now Life Goes On, Again ANew
It’s hard to explain what it feels like to be without cats after 18 years together. It’s a void in your heart that you carry with you, a tightness in your chest that won’t quite go away.
I still expect to see them in the house, and sometimes I imagine that I almost do. But I also know they are gone. It’s a reality that you understand in your mind, but can’t quite grasp in your soul.
But I’m also happy, and profoundly grateful. I’m happy that we were able to give both our cats a good retirement home. A place they could relax in peace and green with their family, until the very end. And I’m grateful we could be with them, and care for them until they decided to go. I could not hope for more, for their lives or my own.
Take care of each other, my babies. One day, I will see you again.
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
I am so so sorry for your loss. Tears welled up reading your note. I lost my 18 year old Olivia last month and not a day goes by that I don’t think about her and miss her. My heart goes out to you…
With compassion and sincere condolences….Christine
So sorry to hear, but know you love all of your critters (Sure, Paul and Dad too!) enough to not want them to suffer. So in the future when you look up and suddenly get drawn to two spectacular floating clouds… know they are both happily napping, and dreaming cat dreams.
Best to you,
Mary dunbar says
So sorry to hear about Rand. My heart aches for you. So glad your vet let you take Rand and hold her till she passed.
Shirley Robbins says
No words will do. I can only say I’m so very sorry.
Christina Neumann says
We just lost our sweet Ollie last month. He was 17. We miss him so. His rescue buddy Finnie aslo 17 has been sick and now we too fear perhaps he wants to go too. Over the years we have had many pets die and it’s always painful. I miss the first cat I ever had still Pappilion. She was all white with blue eyes. Amazingly she lived to be 21.
Jill L Henderson says
Again, hubby and I cried along with you. What a wonderful vet you have to allow you to be with Rand to the end. Be well and gentle hugs.
Sobbing for you right now. Remembering our beloved cat who graced us with 18 years also. So glad you got to hold your baby to the end. Thanks for sharing and for the WONDERFUL photos.
Hugs from Redmond, Oregon.
Sorry for your loss. We know how hard it is to lose a member of the family. A priest told us that true love is letting go and not holding on. The pets look to us to make the difficult decisions. Our thoughts are with you
Jane Burr says
So very sorry. Our fur friends have such short lives
Cynthia Blaylock says
“She followed her sister in everything” – even to heaven. Oh Nina, how I cried reading this. I know exactly what you’re feeling. We had two “sisters” (though not from the same litter). Harley was from a litter born to an alley cat in April of 1992 – we picked her out of a box someone brought into my office and brought her home. Worried that she needed companionship, we got Asia, a beautiful Bengal kitten, in December of that same year. They were inseparable from the moment they met and when Harley passed in December of 2008, Asia – who had been a healthy cat – began having seizures – and followed her big sister to heaven just six months later. I will always be convinced that Asia’s heart was broken and that caused her seizures. I grieve for your loss, but I am happy your two girls are together and I know, with every fiber of my being, that you will see them again and cuddle them in your lap.
Julia Phelps says
So sorry about all your loss. So hard anytime, even more so now. I love following your blog as my husband and I are thinking of doing the same within a few years. Onward to work through grief and onward and upward to better times.
I’m so, so sorry for your loss, Nina. I lost my 2 beagle boys, littermates, 3 months apart, in 2016. I hated letting them both go, but it comforted me to know they were back together.
I hope you find your comfort, too.
Sorry for you loss, Nina. It’s defiantly been a rough year for you and Paul.
As to the COVID-19 numbers here in the states, it should be taken with a grain of salt. First, we’ve tested far more people than the rest of the world, and second, China is probably lying about their numbers. Plus, not a peep out of North Korea, yet.
Sally Gilbert says
So deeply sorry for your heartbreak. Yesterday (28th) was the one year anniversary of our almost 20 year old, Millie, whose sister passed 2 years ago in May. Like Rand, Millie seemed to have a final burst of energy that gave us hope she would be with us for a bit longer. She had had radioactive thyroid treatment in august 2015, with the consequent kidney issues that we were able to manage with the help of amazing vets on our journeys.
In august last year we adopted 2 mature cats from a shelter, a bonded pair who had lost their human dad last april. They have helped so much to fill the void left by Millie’s passing and I think we have helped heal their broken hearts.
My thoughts and love are with you; the sadness never goes away, but time helps take the raw edge off, and maybe you will be adopted, out of the blue, by another set of paws. When the time is right.
Carol Boyd says
Such a beautiful expression of love to adopt this two bonded pair. So sad they lost their other human…..but just look at you….what you have done for them.
Janet bickham says
Wishing you comfort through these losses, our fur babies still watch over us from afar
Martha in PA says
Nina and Paul, I’m so very sorry for your loss. What a wonderful life you gave to your girls. They are loving you from heaven. Don’t worry, you’ll see them again.
Malcolm Taylor says
Thank you for sharing. I grieve with you and remember all my lost family pets. All brought me more love than I could have imagined. Both your babies were as lucky to have you as you were to have them. If you believe in reincarnation my wife and I both say we would like to come back as your pet.
Joy Graham Travis says
Sending my condolences , a beautiful write up. Thank you for your words as I found myself crying along with you. Run free now precious Rand forever together.
Angie Quantrell says
AWWWW! So sorry for the loss of both babies! It’s so hard! Hugs!
Carol Mc Daniel says
We also have had to say farewell to our beloved kitties over the years. My first of my own cat as an adult was a lovable little Siamese girl, Mei Mei San, 16 years then renal failure. My 2nd was Mr. Peaches, an orange tabby little fellow at 8 weeks I had for 18 1/2 years and again Renal Failure, Then the 3rd was a rescue as a possible 5year old adult we just lost in November after having him almost 12 years, at 16+ again renal failure. He was part Abyssinian named Koi. We went searching for our next friend and ended up adopting a lovely sweet yellow eyed year old colorful calico we named Feather. She has been such a delight to comfort our hearts and give us much joy with her personality plus. She is a year old and so full of herself. One always knows, when you take a pet into your heart and home, that one day it will be broken….that’s the deal…Each is special in their own way and it is a pleasure to give one that we choose a warm loving and long home We wish you the best in finding another to spend it’s life with you as we have.
Such a moving tribute. So sorry this day had to come. Be well friends.
I was sad to hear of your loss. It is so hard to lose our fur kids. They will always be in your heart. Prayers for you and Paul during this difficult time. Stay safe and healthy!
George Sinclair says
The hole in your heart will heal. Been there 6 times. Each time we found a rescue fur baby to fill it after weeks.
So sorry Nina, and Paul, it’s very difficult to loose a family pet (their our babies), but to loose 2 ( in our case 3 senior medical Labradors, with in 6 months), makes a heavy heart.
Are paws are crossed for y’all that the memories will be a blessing for you. ❤️
rita from phoenix says
I am so sorry for your loss but happy Rand had a good life…an international traveler too. Aaww this post made me cry all over again thinking of our three cats that passed. They are all buried in the back yard. We have two left and I have to prepare myself that they too might leave us soon. Mother cat Blair and her two babies Independence (Indy) and Freedom (Fredo) all passed within the last two years. Blair came into our lives when we found her as a baby kitten in the clothes hamper. The laundry room is detached from the house under the car port and where the dirty clothes hammer was kept. Bair had four kittens. We kept all four kittens…one male (Indy) and three female. They’ve been with us close to 18 years now. Two surviving kittens are Helmet (she had a dark head like she is wearing a helmet), and Inky a black and white kitten. Inky always looked like a mouse…skinny body, long tail and whiskers and big ears…she’s adorable.
Yes so sad to see so many deaths from coronavirus all over the world. My son and I watched the virus start to spread in China in February. By end of February the virus had spread outside China. I decided to do shop for more than I usually get on a monthly basis. I’m retired so since retirement I grocery shop and bulk shop once a month since 2008 retirement. I get it out of the way since I only get paid once a month. So I was use to buy for the month but at the first of March I bought larger quantities of what I normally get i.e. bigger bag of rice, beans, pancake mix, flour, dog food/treats, cat food, and the like. My grocery bill was a tad higher than normal. I bought to last at least three months or more. My daughter whose refrigerator is always empty also shopped at my urging to fill her pantry, freezer/refrigerator. I told her not to eat out and cook at home. Costco bill was also higher for the month. I’m so glad I’m a pessimist and always think of the worst. Anyway, by the middle of March people were starting to panic shop, toilet paper ran out, grocery shelves became empty, sanitizers gone. I didn’t hoard like most people did…I just bought extra. I don’t have to go out shopping until beginning of April when I’ll pick up things I ran out of but no monthly shopping like before. I have enough but do need eggs, milk bread, chicken. I hope I can find these in stores in April. We’ll see. I freeze bread but I have one loaf left in freezer.
So, so sorry for you about Rand’s crossing, but so happy for Rand. She is much happier to be with Taggert. My husband is a medium and has told me that our fur babies can come visit us, lay on the floor next to us, like they never left and then they can go wherever they want. They LOVE the freedom! And to them, they are still with you because they CAN be, whenever they want. So they are NOT sad because they can sit right next to you anytime they want. They appreciate the freedom you have given them. If you thought you saw them in a fleeting glimpse, you did. You didn’t imagine it. They come and go extremely quickly in the next realm.
My heart goes out to you. But what beautiful tributes you have written for both Rand and Taggert. Stay well.
Such a heart break … Tears down my face as I read your story and remembered my loved ones in the past..
Hits so deep… But what a wonderful life and love you gave your furry children. Without you they wouldn’t have known such love! God Bless!
Nina, I’m so very sorry that you’ve lost both of your sweet kitties. I still sometimes expect to hear our kitty meow ‘hello’ when I walk in the door of our rig…and it’s been several years that she’s been gone. Take good care in these difficult times.
PS I love the beautiful photo of Rand and Taggert together, looking up at you with those gorgeous green eyes. Hugs to you and Paul.
Tina Lorenz says
So sweet and sad at the same time. I’m very sorry for the loss of both your fur babies.
I know how painful it is–and the sadness of it never really goes away, it just gets a little softer.
I believe we will all be reunited with our four legged family members one day too–and there is some comfort in that.
Take care–such challenging times in so many ways right now.
Nina and Paul, I’m so sorry for the loss of both your kitties. I am crying along with you. Your blog actually helped us diagnose and look after our own 18 year old kitty, Leo. He also had kidney failure and we were able to have an extra year with him because of you. Thank you for that.
Diane Borcyckowski says
I’m just so sorry. Wishing you peace in your hearts as you cope with your losses. Our losses…
Nina and Paul, I am just so very, very sorry for your loss. Please know how I feel your pain.
Gloria Emory says
Nina and Paul—so very sorry for your losses. Hoping you find a new normal ( if there is one in this world) soon
Sue Malone says
It’s just too awful, Nina, so close together. And yet as much as she loved you I guess Rand needed her sister. If it is hard to read this post I can only imagine how hard it is to write it. As you know, I had a cat for 18 years, a soul cat, part of my soul. There is no way to describe what that loss feels like, although you tried. I think is it because they are always there, right near you, sharing life completely, and when they are gone the emptiness is immeasurable. Sending lots of love and hugs to you and Paul and Polly as we all continue in this life adventure and its ups and downs.
Toni Kaus says
Oh Nina, I’m sad for you. So glad you, Paul and your dad postponed your last trip. I’ve appreciated your posts and advice since the start of this pandemic. We took your advice, and hunkered down here in Prescott, close to my 89-year-old mom.
Kevin Hogle says
Lee and Shelia says
This breaks my heart. So sorry Nina for your loss (s) and I know you and Paul are heartbroken also…. I would like to ask how Polly is doing?
Bless you for being such a wonderful writer……. Lee and Shelia…. We came so close to meeting the five of you in Oregon so many years ago… ( But Paul’s back flipped out on him)
My condolences on your loss…
Elizabeth Smith says
So sorry. Thank you for sharing her good days and sad days with us. I feel bad for people who never love a pet. They have missed the greatest unconditional love.
Marianne Edwards says
Our condolences. Whether we lose a human or animal, being grateful and remembering our good times together is the best gift we can give them and ourselves.
You were, are, and probably always will be amazing parents to your paws!
what a beautiful eulogy …I am so sorry for your loss
Gerald Chartrand says
Please except my sincere sympathies for your loss.
Marcia GB in MA says
Your babies are gone, but they are not really gone. They are always in your thoughts, memories and in your hearts. After our two cats passed, we had many interesting spirit visitations from them. That was unexpected but very welcome and helped ease the pain of our loss. Please know I’m sending lots of love and light your way.
Stephany Smith says
I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing that beautiful eulogy. I had to wait to write this because I couldn’t see through my tears
So very sorry about your sweet Rand. Such a difficult and painful time for you and Paul losing two of your family members, especially so close apart. May their pictures and memories help fill some of the emptiness you’re feeling. And take solace in the knowing that their lives were not only long but filled with so much happiness and love because of you. They will always be with you now and ever after.
Steve, Holly, and Tula says
Karen Handschy says
I am so sorry.
In this current world of uncertainty, these amazing souls of unconditional love are our angels. I love your words honoring Rand and her sister. I felt so much emotion reading your post. I’ve been there with two kitties and two dogs . I share your grief but also share the times of joy and blessings we received through them. Take care, stay healthy and live the memories you had each a day and trip with them. I hope they give you comfort in the upcoming year. Someday you will hold a new fur baby because they will tell you when it’s time.
I cried for sweet Rand, for you and Paul. My heart goes out to all of you!
They are never really gone. Your hearts hold such wonderful memories and your pictures have depth and meaning for you both. All the best as you heal and remember your fur babies.
I’m so sorry, Nina & Paul for your loss. It must have been such a comfort to be with her as she passed. I’m sending you all lots of healing thoughts.
Laurie Milliard says
A beautiful, eloquent tribute to your wonderful cat. Thank you for publishing this. My heart goes out to you guys. Stay safe in France!
Laurie, hunkering down in Florida
Marquita Graves says
My heart cries with you.
Imkelina Nicolai says
Sweet Rand’s tenderness comes through do strongly in your writing about her and in that photo. Mostly, it seems, her tenderness was there softly be a presence during these past weeks until she was able to unite with her sister. You’ve shared a powerful love story. Warm hugs to you, Paul, your Dad and Polly.
Jane Wolfe says
I don’t care what others say but my pets are my kids. First, thank you for sharing this with us. I truly appreciate how you deeply you cared for both girls. Plus you educated on us on all sorts of cat medical issues.
If I could, I would send you 2 small wind Chimes each one the very bottom of the center rope a message saying….listen to the wind and know I am near in loving memory of Taggart and the same would go for Rand
Giving you bigs hugs….. as I know …..late at night you lie awake greiving….. while silent tears soak your pillow.
Michelle Schwartz says
I am truly sorry for your loss. I hope you find comfort knowing that you gave them a good life. Your post made me cry, thinking of my Molly and O’Malley – sister and brother who both passed away within a few months of each other in 2017. (In fact, our O’Malley could have passed as Taggert’s identical brother.)
When their mom – a very pregnant cat that we rescued – unexpectedly passed away, I was so distraught and ‘ll never forget what my mom told me: This is the price we must pay for loving these little creatures that have brought us so much joy.
Dolores Tanner says
So very, very sorry for your loss… You write so beautifully, made me cry
Take Care and God Bless
They are together again, and they will wait for you to join them. Peace to you, Paul and Polly.
Paul Condit says
I am a subscriber to Investing for A Living and because of that I have enjoyed your website a lot as I have lived and/or visited every state in the US. In my 70 years, Scotties, bulldogs and cats have come and gone …. your post says it all … thank you for sharing.
Thanks so much for the comment, and I’m so sorry for all your losses. We carry our furr-babies with us forever.
Sally Gilbert says
We love them more by the day, they give us so much love and joy. I truly hope Nina and Paul will find the same joy from adopting again, once they are ready. I still cry for Millie and her sister – how can we not miss these amazing little fur babies! – but time helps to heal.