Forgive me, dear readers, for letting this blog get off track. I’m a bit low on energy and emotional bandwidth at the moment and I didn’t think I would be experiencing something like this again so soon. In an already terrible year for the world, for so many reasons, and in which my own personal tragedies already included loss of a feline family member and four friends (two of whom were much too young to be passing so soon), I found myself facing another personal tragedy on the recent Thanksgiving weekend. My sweet lady cat, Janet, who had been part of my family since 2009, passed away unexpectedly after a brief illness.
She was almost 14, a “grandma” cat by any definition. We had adopted her as an adult, and she had enjoyed good health up until very recently. She had completed a round of antibiotics and still didn’t seem quite right, but some days were better than others. I don’t know if she knew she would be passing soon, but she was in high spirits that Thanksgiving morning, with decent energy and a hearty appetite. We enjoyed a pleasant holiday with her, sitting on the sofa together, listening to music, talking and eating yummy things. My husband brushed her earlier in the day and she responded in her usual way, rolling over and turning around so he could run the brush over both sides of her body. She seemed content and peaceful, and even a little bit like her feisty old self, stealing a piece of bread off my dinner plate when I turned my back for a moment and trying to run off with it.
Had I known she was going to go that night, I would have let her keep the bread and eat as much of it as she wanted. I would have brought her cheeseburgers and cream of broccoli soup and all the other “people” foods that I knew she loved. I regret that I didn’t get to spoil her before she went.
We had actually planned to take her to the vet on Friday for additional testing, but by Thursday night, she went downhill quickly–literally, in just a matter of hours–and it became apparent she might not make it through the night. We made her as comfortable as we could and spent time talking to her, singing to her and saying goodbye, while still holding out a little hope that she might pull through. She passed peacefully during the night and we found her at rest on her blanket the next morning.
As I noted in my earlier post about the scent I chose to wear the day we euthanized our cat who had oral cancer, it might seem strange to think about perfume at times like this, unless you’re a perfume lover. What was different this time was that I didn’t know I was choosing a scent to remember Janet by. For Thanksgiving, I had simply chosen a beautiful, joyful scent that I like to wear on special occasions.
The fragrance I selected was Jewelry of Heaven from Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery. This is my favorite scent from the brand’s Signature Scents collection. I am blessed to have it in Extrait (precious and I hoard it) and EDP (which I wear often and is usually my scent of choice for holidays), both gifted by perfumer Laurie Stern a few years ago. (I also received a solid tester of it in my last gift box from Laurie. I have an upcoming article planned in which I’ll discuss the merits of EDP vs. solid and talk about the performance of each. Just give me some time to get my groove back.) For Thanksgiving, I wore Jewelry of Heaven EDP strictly for my own pleasure. In retrospect, maybe I sensed intuitively that something was going to happen that day, too.
Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery (linking ’cause I love) is named after two of Laurie’s late cats who had a profound impact on her life. Laurie is an avid lover and benefactor of cats especially, but all animals, really. She’s an amazingly kind and generous person, a ray of light in this often dark world who infuses that positive energy into all of her perfume creations.
Now when I look back on it, I can’t think of a better choice to have worn on the last day I shared the planet with my beloved sweet kitty. I was lucky and am grateful to have experienced some of the most important milestones in my personal history with Janet by my side. She and her brother cat who passed earlier this year have touched my life forever. It seems fitting that the fragrance I wore on her last day, and which I’ll use ever after to recall pleasant memories of our final day together, was created by a cat lover whose brand memorializes two of her own dear feline friends.
Rest in peace, dear Janet, and thank you for eleven amazing years!
All photographs by me.
Read more about Laurie Stern’s work and philanthropy, and Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery in my review of Luminous Lemurs