The day after I brought home the puppy, B got off shift and showed up with a tiny, tiny kitten.
There are two ways to get to our house from his work, and for some reason, he took the "longer" way home. As he came around the bend of the road, a huge vulture took off and B saw something moving, and stopped to see.
There were three tiny, tiny kittens. Two were dead. One wasn't. The vulture worked on making it so before B's interruption. Her eyes were really messed up - I'll spare you the details - and her front leg was broken. Our guess is that it broke when she was tossed out a window by whomever did this to them. They were VERY young kittens - maybe four weeks old.
You could feel her spine. She was starving and because of her eyes, she couldn't find food, she couldn't see to run and hide from the vulture, and of course, her leg would have made it near impossible anyway. We cleaned her up and fed her, and put her under a heat lamp. We named her Phoebe. Solid gray, long hair - gorgeous. And fit in the palm of my hand, with room to spare.
For the last seven days, we babied her when we could. Cleaned up her eyes and fed her several times a day and put her in the litter box. We know she could see some, probably just shadows, because she would follow the movement of our hands and try to hobble and follow us sometimes. She ate well most of the time. We truly felt she'd pull through.
She didn't eat well this morning, but that's normal. She went in spurts sometimes. I went to check on her this afternoon, and instead of being all balled up, she was stretched out. I picked her up to wipe her eyes and she felt cool to the touch.
I picked her up and tried to feed her more. I tried to get water into her too. It was hard - she fought it. She couldn't stand up. It didn't look good.
I took her outside to the backyard and in my black t-shirt, I held her in the Texas sunshine, letting her absorb my heat and the heat of the sun. And I stroked her back, I talked to her, I sang to her. She grew weaker.
Titan, my horse, came up and stood there. Just stood there. And then he'd kick at the fence til I finally took her to him. He kept his head down over the fence and he'd blow really warm air on her, so soft and gently. It was amazing. He knew.
For twenty minutes, Titan stood in silent vigil there at the fence. For twenty minutes. Not a sound. Just those huge brown eyes watching me, and if I walked her close to the fence, he'd blow that warm air out so softly against her. Over and over again, for such a long time.
At 4:41, Phoebe died in my arms.
Whomever did this to this little kitten, I hope with all my might that karma finds them. I continue to sit here and second guess myself. All the things I should have done. The things I could have done better. But I know with everything in my heart that kitten died knowing she was loved. She died being fed, and held, petted and sang to. She died against my chest, listening to my heartbeat, feeling my arms around her, hearing my voice and feeling my hand softly petting her.
I walked to Titan and nudged my head against his and whispered thank you. He walked away, his head still lowered.
As I grow older, I'm not sure what all I believe in. I do believe in higher power and in an afterlife. I watch John Edwards (psychic) and he just knows too much - he's amazing. He may be a fraud, I have no idea. I don't care. But watching him, he talks about validating those who have past, and he's mentioned animals too.
In 1995 my grandmother died. She was the keeper of the secrets, all of our best friend. I was there with Granny as she died, and the entire time, between begging for her to breathe, I'd sing "You are my Sunshine" - her and my oldest daughter's favorite song to sing together - over and over and over again until she took her last breath. I know it's stupid - I KNOW it's silly - but while I rocked the kitty Phoebe, I sang it to her - over and over and over again. And I told her all about Granny, and the kitten Granny had to leave behind when she left us, and that if Phoebe couldn't fight anymore, if she had to go, to go and find Granny, and that Granny would love her. Just like I loved her.
Just like I'll always love the little gray kitty that hobbled into my life one Friday morning.