Thursday, November 4, 2010

Roller Coaster of Life

The past week or so has been an emotional roller coaster for my family and me.  In one day, I found out three bad things happened.  Logan, the service dog I blogged about last year when she and her owners came to visit their future kitten, had surgery to remove her oral cancer.  I had just been thinking about Logan the day before as I hiked through the woods with our Golden Retriever, Chardonnay.  Logan is not only valuable because of the job she does for her person Suzan, but she is a beautiful, gentle animal who captured my heart when I met her.  I will continue to think positive thoughts for Logan as she goes through treatment. 

The same day, we got news that Kristen, my kids' cousin, was very sick and in the hospital.  It turns out she apparently had toxic shock syndrome and her condition was very serious.  I'm happy to report that Kristen is now home and doing better. 

Then, Kelsey came home from school with the news that Mr. Conlon, a Ledyard High School math teacher was found dead in the woods after missing for two days.  Mr. Conlon had hanged himself.  Fortunately, Kelsey never knew Mr. Conlon, but Tyler considered him the best math teacher he ever had so he was pretty upset.  We don't understand the full story behind Mr. Conlon's pain and don't expect to; he had a wife and 10-year-old daughter he left behind.  The students and teachers who loved him are confused as to why a grown-up who apparently had everything going for him would take his own life. 

Then, my mother called to report that she had an MRI done to look at the half of her liver which was subjected to chemoembolization treatment in September.  The MRI shows that all signs of cancer on that half of her liver are gone!  This is the same liver that was "covered in malignant lesions" originally.  Modern medicine is incredibly hopeful sometimes.  Mom had the other half of her liver zapped yesterday in Chapel Hill.  The same positive results are expected by her doctors.  I started a blog (what else?) for my mom soon after she was diagnosed called The Organ Within Me to keep her friends and family updated.  My mother's news was certainly a welcome change from the way things seemed to be going early last week.

On Saturday afternoon, as I stepped out of the shower, Olivia greeted me with repeated meows.  Hmmmm.  She definitely wanted my attention.  Olivia's kittens weren't due for another two days at least....but there was no mistaking her urgent behavior.  Sure enough, within a couple of hours, we had a blue tabby boy.  Next came a solid black girl.  "Mine!" Kelsey immediately claimed.  Kelsey has been wanting a solid black Maine Coon ever since we lost our black domestic short-hair, Creole, a few years ago to kidney disease. 

Kelsey left the room and I called a friend to report the arrivals so far while Olivia rested and waited for the next round of contractions.  I had predicted, based upon Olivia's size, that she was carrying 3 to 4 kittens.  As I was happily chatting away, Jay came in and indicated with a finger drawn across his throat that I should cut the conversation short.  After I got off the phone, he told me that while he was outside, he witnessed a hawk striking our red Silkie chicken, Frodo, killing her instantly.  He was too far away at the time to prevent the attack, but Jay and Chardonnay did manage to keep the hawk from carrying Frodo's body away. 

We only had Frodo for slightly more than 6 months, but during that time we came to care for her deeply because she was so obviously handicapped.  I've blogged about Frodo a few times, in fact my last blog was about Frodo and her first egg.  True to her nature, Frodo was out in the yard by herself, the rest of the flock was elsewhere.  She had no idea the hawk was approaching.  Of all the chickens to meet such an awful demise, we ask, "Why our favorite one?" all the while knowing that she was the most likely to be attacked as she was more vulnerable than the other chickens.  Frodo is now buried beside Kelsey's favorite rock.  We don't have to worry about her anymore, put her up to roost at night because she can't fly up there by herself, look around for her well after the rest of the flock has come in, provide her with a ground-level nesting box for her's amazing how one little chicken stole our hearts with her neediness and cute little squawking face. 

Frodo's Grave Marker

After the news of Frodo's death and consoling a very distraught teenage girl, I still had to deliver Olivia's kittens.  She had 3 more - a black boy, another black girl, and a silver tabby boy (bonus!).  All are big and healthy and growing like they're supposed to.  We have a choice of 3 black kittens to choose from for our breeding program.  It makes more sense to keep a girl, but then again, a solid black male who looks like his grandfather Bugger would be hard to pass up.  Kelsey came up with a Poet theme so the kittens are named accordingly:  Edgar Allen Poe, Shel Silverstein, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and Langston Hughes. 

And so we move forward, accepting that we can't change the past, just how we deal with it.  Here's to the emotional roller coaster of life and all that it offers. 

Olivia with Her Little Poets


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  2. I think that this particular post shows how all of our lives are. We all try to make sense of things and have moments of pure joy mixed with great sadness. We then realize how little control we have at times. Beautiful post.