The sound of silence is everywhere except for the sound of my typing,a clock and the tears that drop from my eyes. First Ginger,then Lori and now my beloved Derek Jeter has left me.
We got Derek back in 2000 from the Cat Connection in Royal Oak,Michigan. He was 9 months old when we drove out there and picked him up. He was so beautiful and soft,Lori and I had fallen in love with him the second we saw his picture.
Derek was a fun loving cat...full of joy and adventure. He loved tapping at the water from the bathroom sink and destroying the toilet paper on the rolls. This would sometimes cause problems as when he ruined our last two rolls and I had to drive in a snowstorm to get some fresh TP.
Derek really was the prefect friend for me...he loved to hang out where ever we were in either the apartment or the house. And he was a very brave cat as he learned to not run from vacuum or mini carpet cleaner. This took years but he slowly overcame that fear thanks to the bond of trust he and I built. I loved to pet his tummy and he would purr loudly and once he grabbed for my hands,I quit and looked for something to entertain him with.
He and I only had one rough moment in our 13 years,he once cornered OSK,Lori's older cat,in a corner and wouldn't let him out. This was pretty early in our relationship and while I loved Derek,I also loved OSK very much and was pretty angry to see him bullied in his own home. I could hear his sad meow and while Derek was only playing,OSK was almost 18 years old and didn't have any play left in him. So Derek and I had a small meeting and he agreed to be a good boy around OSK and he really was.
To help relieve Derek of the small apartment,I used to let him walk up and down the hallway. Back and forth we would walk. He would explore every inch of that walk way and when he got tired,he would flop on his side,this was what Lori called the "Licky flop".
Why Licky? From the first week we got him,he loved licking me. My hands,arms,legs and Lori shook awake one night because he was licking my hair! But he never once ever licked Lori. We were pretty perplexed to say the least and when we took Derek in to see Dr. Foss the first time,we commented on this weird habit. I thought maybe he had a salt problem,like not getting enough of it.
Turns out all he was doing was grooming me,he saw me as a cat and this was what cats do with other cats. Except he really loved doing it. For a brief time,I had to resort to wearing a cap on my head when I slept just so we could get some sleep.
Ginger and Derek were a odd pair at first,they liked each other but didn't have much interaction with each other. Ginger bonded with Lori while Derek was definitely my boy. His jumping prowess became the stuff of legend as he loved to jump on anything just because it was there.
When Lori and I took in Leo and her two litters of kittens,Derek was often on point as to when they would show up at our patio. We wouldn't see a thing but Derek would and would chirp while looking outside,we would turn on our porch light and there were Leo,Sarge and the 5 kittens. Derek was more curious about them then anything but we didn't allow any contact.
It was at the apartment that Derek got his first mouse...and where I trusted him if I saw him stare at anything. I was in the bathroom of all places when Derek started meowing and scratching at the door. This was common but the non-stop meowing wasn't. I opened the door to see Ginger and him standing there. Derek walked to the trash can and just stared at him....I was "what are you looking at,goofy cat"? and proceeded to movie the can...and a mouse streaked out through the two cats.
This was their first mouse and while they went after it with gusto,including Ginger swatting it across the room,they ended up losing it.
We discovered a hole in the kitchen sink and had the apartment repair crew plug it up. We thought we were mouse free until two later when Derek killed his first one. And one the following week. The crew came back out and rebuilt the wall and that ended that.
Derek was starting to garner his own fame as well....while working at Farmer Jack,many customers would come by and ask how he was doing...he ended up being mentioned in 5 CDs in the "thank you" section. Adam Marsland,who was doing a solo tour,enjoyed Derek's company at the apartment when he stayed over after a show.
The house was a Godsend for both cats....well,after the first 3 days that is. As they became comfortable with it,the playful activity picked up. The stairs were often used as a race track as Derek would be forever running up and down...he became even closer to us. We started noticing that wherever we went in the house,within 5 minutes,Derek would show up.....while Ginger was happy to sleep somewhere. We would be sitting doing our Family Meeting when he would saunter down the stairs upon hearing our voices and jump on the table and stay for the meeting.
I often told Lori that I knew it was a going to be a good day when I saw her and Derek in the morning...Ginger was always downstairs waiting for food.
It was because of Derek that we ended up on the Suze Orman Show twice. I asked Suze if we could afford a Scottish Fold playmate for Derek on her "Can I Afford It" segment. Not only did we make it on her Christmas shows,we also made it back on in a "Updated Calls" segment as few months later. And the answer was "You're Approved" (which surely wouldn't be the case now!! *smh*).
Its funny how when you are so close to a cat,you instantly notice certain things..like how where once your buddy would jump on the table,he starts looking for a easier way up,his naps become longer,he no longer sprints after you when you jiggle the catnip can.
I started knowing this...and hated it. I told Lori how much I hated seeing him slow down and she would tell me to stop worrying about him.
We developed new games....the catnip chase,flopping and the cutting coupons "help". Life was good until Lori's cancer. Both cats really sensed that something was wrong right away. The past three years they were even more loving and watchful....Derek stayed close to Lori after her chemo and radiation,as did Ginger. I used to leave and say "Guard the house and guard Lori" and come home to see both cats sprawled out by her,either in bed or on the couch.
When Ginger died of kidney failure in April,Derek meowed for her....and he did the same when Lori died.
In fact when I came home from hospice,he was curled up on her bed,waiting for her. He was the perfect cat in so many ways.
Derek and I played PS/2 as well.....note who is winning the game......his controller is hidden.
After Lori passed away,I blogged about his sudden weakness he developed and had to rush him in. Dr. King ran bloodwork and said his potassium was down and gave me a medicine to help him. It worked and soon,he was back to his old self.
But last Thursday night,he started showing the same signs and I cracked open a can of catfood and mixed in his med. He ate half and sat with me watching TV. Friday morning he was still wobbly and I got the first sign that this was more serious when he didn't eat at all. I had to work that night so I put him in range of his food and water along with his litterbox.
When I came home,he had dragged himself to the front door and was waiting for me. He was much weaker then when I left....I offered him food which he didn't want and then went downstairs to give him privacy with his litterbox....when I went down 20 minutes later,he was under the staircase and that was the sign I had been dreading. Cats often go somewhere quiet and hidden to die and that was what I was seeing with Derek. I took him and laid him in his comfy bed for the night and set the alarm. His vet was open at 8 am on Saturday and when I woke up....he had not moved from his bed. I did what Lori had done so many years ago with OSK,I scooped him up and ran.
I just couldn't believe this was happening AGAIN! There is nothing worse then watching someone you love so much,die before your eyes.
I rushed him and 25 minutes later,the X-rays showed a large mass in his lungs,he was dying and there wasn't anything I could do about it..except honor my promise to send him home to be with Lori and Ginger. I thanked him for picking me to share his life with and that it was a honor to have loved him so much. And with that,my family was all gone.....the heartache I have...I don't know why I am here anymore...there is no joy here,only sadness and the awful silence that remind me of what was once a beautiful home. Now its just a place I sleep at....
I like to thank my friend Rich G. from my job for helping me bury Derek. I buried him in our flowerbed out back,next to Ginger.
|Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.|
|All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.|
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....