Cats,  Merlin,  Mondays With Merlin,  Secrets of Cats,  Shelter Cats

Death, Digital Diarrhea:Hardest Post Ever Written

If you love cats, sharing makes us purrrr :-)

Death, Digital Diarrhea and Hardest Post Ever Written and not necessarily in that order. All I know is that it’s 4:AM and I’ve struggled to write this for hours.

I’ve stirred the pot with dozens of titles and they all stink. Hold you nose and let’s dive in shall we? Do you want the good news or bad news first?

If you’re like me you’ll want the bad news first. If you rip of bandage off fast it hurts less. Maybe not, but at least once the bandage is off the wound can heal.

I made this pet loss graphic (below) about six months ago. I’d been preparing for Merlin to exit any day but he hadn’t.

Six months earlier Radish died and the makeshift shrine I’d made in the bathroom was falling apart. I couldn’t bear to remove it but it was time to rip off the bandage and move on.

Originally meant as temporary cat perch until Radish could recover and jump the way he used (I had high hopes for the sick, old boy after being adopted from the shelter) but he didn’t. The play perch, never used, became a back drop for palliative care and then a shrine to his memory. I’m still angry at the injustice, but every cat has a destiny and his was to crack my heart wide open.

It’ll be a year on June 18th that he died and I still can’t believe he’s gone. It’s World Pet Memorial Day today. If you have loved and loved a pet, this one is for you.


Which brings me to why I don’t want to write this post. After seven years of blogging (five years here) I’ve discovered the joy of not sharing. We live in the age of digital diarrhea, spewing out what we had for breakfast, sharing, over-sharing the instant any event happens.

What taped my mouth shut was death.

I didn’t want to grieve in public. I didn’t want dozens of condolences without the energy to respond to them. I didn’t want tributes or memorial graphics or blog hops. I wanted to take back my life to honor and mourn Merlin’s life privately. So I said nothing, until now. And even now I say only this: Death, this death finally taught what I most value about life. It isn’t found online but inside my soul. It’s one thing to know it but another to live it. That meant guarding and not sharing.

It’s a painful truth because I need my online community for my good news. I expected to launch my non-profit Kickstarter, Black Cats Tell, an anthology of positive black cat stories weeks ago, but life had other plans. The launch is TOMMORROW!

The last few months piled one obstacle after another resulting in the worst possible timing. It nearly did me in and I’m not ready to talk about it. Part of my reason is I haven’t reconciled how easy grieving Merlin is. I expected a tsunami of tears and complete devastation. Instead, the stress of everything (and I don’t mean just the Kickstarter) going wrong stripped me clean to the bone. It felt like the 19th nervous breakdown. Merlin however slipped away in the most peaceful death, just as he’d wanted, naturally. On a warm, sunny morning on a favorite pillow in the garden, facing west just like in the photo.

Despite the angst and external madness of the material world, I’ve been feeling peace, joy and love unlike anything I’ve experienced before. It’s so weird, it’s surreal. I can’t articulate it. In time, I will write about everything that happened. Oh, and the beautiful images…

I may be tight-lipped for now but Merlin has plenty to say. I promised he’d be blogging from the great beyond and he has. I suspect he’ll be sharing some new insights about life and death.

Image result for quote philosophy death


I know Merlin would have wanted good to come out of bad.

Look for a post about Black Cats Tell All soon. I don’t know exactly what time we go live but check out the Black Cats Tell All Kickstarter preview link with a video from me and a testimonial video from Chris Poole of Cole and Marmalade. Scroll down to see everything.

I’ll be tweaking additions, so please leave your feedback or suggestions there.

The graphic is shareable. You can make a difference in the lives of black cats by supporting our Kickstarter, right meow. Thank-you for being here right now. Please note: a Kickstarter 30-day campaign is like an intense full time job, at the best of times. I will be unable to respond as promptly as usual to emails etc.

Support our Kickstarter_black_cats_tell_all


  • Teri and her not-lately-blogging much Cats

    Quietude sometimes is not sorrow but reflection. I feel certain you honored his passing in your special way, a celebration of his life and the sorrow that he will not walk beside you again but reside inside your heart. Each special cats passing reminds us that we begin the relationship in spite of the fact that we may outlive our companions…May the new book honor all cats in a public way and help ease your grief…

  • Sweet Purrfections

    I’m so sorry to hear of Merlin. My heart aches with you as you grieve your special fur child. I know words don’t help at this time, but please know that he had a wonderful life with you and I believe he’s at the bridge watching over you like Sweet Praline did for me. I felt so alone after losing Praline (because I am single) and sometimes it felt like the walls were closing in on me. The cat bloggers helped me to survive, along with some special visits from Angel Praline after she crossed the bridge. I know I can’t be there to give you a physical hug, but I hope you can feel the virtual hugs I’m sending.

    I’m looking forward to Black Cats Tell All

  • MR Puddy

    Me and mom are so sorry. We know no words to comfort you. Merlin is always be loved and in the heart of all friends and his fameowly.
    I send soft purrs & hugs to you

    Puddy & Mom

  • Letrisa Miller

    I’m so sorry that you have lost Merlin to hold! He was a wonderful and tough old man. I’m grateful that he had an easy passing. I know from experience that the loss of our companions is hard, and that each loss is different. There seem to be as many types of grief as there are deaths/lives.
    Hugs for you! You are in my thoughts.

  • Mugg Muggles

    R.I.P. Merlin the Magnificent! ((HUGS)) to you, Layla.
    “There is no higher calling than service to cats”.
    – Mugg

  • Elizabeth Keene

    Whatever has been piling on, I’m sorry; hope the light is shining for YOU again. Terribly sorry, too, about the passing of Merlin. He must have been a jewel. The peaceful feeling you have is a gift of colossal proportions. Yay!

    Looking forward to seeing more about your book!

  • speedyrabbit

    Speedy and I are sorry to hear of Merlin’s Passing,He was a grand handsome old cat who had the best life ever with you and I can understand you wanting to have some private time,Be well Layla,xx Rachel and Speedy

  • Erin the Cat (Princess)

    You have our deepest sympathy, and we are so pleased Merlin passed the way he did, for you both. Here’s to your kickstarter doing well, I shall be participating as soon as we hear and have a link. purrs and hugs and love ERin & peep

  • Cats of Wildcat Woods

    I just saw this and wanted to tell you how sorry I am that Merlin has passed. He touched so many lives with his. He lives on in all our hearts. So glad he had a lovely peaceful passing. We are all grieving with you in this loss. Sending Reiki light to you.


  • Beverly

    I’m so sorry, Layla. Merlin was a grand old cat, and very much loved by all. Take whatever time you need.

    Best wishes for your kickstarter–I’m certainly looking forward to the book.

  • Quinn Blackburn

    I understand the importance of sharing milestones, good and bad. ๐Ÿ™‚ So very happy to hear about Black Cats Tell All, truly wonderful. I’ve several friends who will honestly appreciate this work (black cat mommas/poppas), and I’ve shared with them as well as spread the news in general. Fur people are very good at cracking our hearts open wider so we can receive more lessons of Life Wisdom. My beloved Rogue passed in February at 14 years old. I knew it was coming. I mourned her passing for a solid three days before my heart began to ease. There are still days where I will reach for her and my eyes will tear, my heart crack a little wider. Love is like that, which may be why we carry it with us when we pass. Thank you, my dear friend, for sharing this very personal journey in any way. Sometimes we readers need to know that others see the same signposts along the way. As always…. wishing you laughter xo

  • Robbi

    Layla, my heart goes out to you. Merlin can play with our Spenser on the Bridge — he loved cats. Hugs and love to you. I also love your Black Cats project, will get a copy of your book and review it on the new cat page I am managing!

  • katie Isabella

    Layla, I only wanted to say that I as do all of us here understand the reality of a family member gone, and the deep deep love that you shared with him. He left in peace and I am so grateful for that, and with shining love from you.

    My deepest condolences Layla. I am so sorry. ?

  • Cherry City Kitties

    All is exactly as it needs to be. Know you are loved, Sweet boy is loved and missed. Time pads softly forward on sweet jelly bean paws, and the contracted grieving heart expands again in deeper, amazing ways. Gentle blessings…

    • Layla Morgan Wilde

      Carolyn, I was thinking of you while making the card since it was the time we both did Reiki on Merlin. Your help gave him some extra time but now all is just as it needs to be. Much love and gratitude xoxo

  • Angel Ms. Phoebe's Family

    Our eyes have been leaking since reading this yesterday, but we rejoice through our sadness that Merlin is now whole again, flying free in paradise with his sister Coco, brothers GrisGris and Radish. We send you and the entire family our love and sympathy, and thank you for sharing your soul mate with us over the years. His wisdom and zest for the simple pleasures in life taught us many lessons about life we will always remember. His manner of passing could not have been better and deserving of such a sweet, loving boy who had struggled so much in health his last years. To go in peace and a gentle way is comforting to know. We will never forget the exceptional being Merlin was and we were fortunate to have gotten to know and love.

    Aunt Beth, Clove, & Kaspars

  • CATachresis

    There are really no words, Layla, my heart is so full for you! Merlin was and is a very special kitty. And I totally understand your need for private grieving for your boy. Sending huge hugs xxx

  • Marjorie and the Dash Kitten Crew


    Merlin was a cat we admired greatly here. We are Siamese fans and and so very glad he passed in peace. What a gift is that Layla. A real boon.

    I am hoping I will haave some investment money coming through so I can made a decent go at supporting the Kickstarter. In the mantime I will share and blog about it.


    My deepest condolences on the passing of Merlin, and I completely understand you wanting to grieve in private. Sending you hugs and purrs of comfort from our family to yours. xxx