Remembering Lola, Black Cats Tell All Book Contributor by Clyde, feline editor.
Well, dearest ones, a chapter has closed and a new one has begun. There has been much sadness with deaths and illness in our cat community, but love keeps us going. Love keeps us strong. It’s with a heavy heart to announce that Lola, a fellow Black Cats Tell All author has become Angel Lola. Her dad, Floyd informed Layla shortly after she passed away naturally last Wednesday evening.
A few months ago Lola was diagnosed with cancer. The news was devastating to Floyd, a devoted cat dad and adoption advocate. He was a huge supporter of our book project and Layla helped write Lola’s story. Lola graced our 2017 calendar and never in nine cat lives could we have guessed a cancer diagnosis. Layla lent her support and Floyd naturally did all he could to seek the best treatment. There are times when deadly diseases are conquered or cured. We can hope for the best but ultimately, life or death is out of our hands. Sweet Lola, valiantly battled her illness and shared her journey with her fans on Facebook.
While this chapter in Lola’s life is over, her memory and legacy will live on. It’s too soon to say what her legacy will look like but first there is grieving a loss. As a cat, I mourned the loss of my sister of sixteen years. Layla says I’ve always had a slightly mournful look in my eyes. Let me tell you, cats do grieve but we also help humans grieve. It’s a two-way street, an ebb and flow of comfort. When there are multiple pets, the surviving pet(s) usually try to help their human but then it’s the last or only pet, the house feels much emptier. Grieving is as individual as a thumbprint. There are no rules and no reliable road map.
We’ve been thinking a lot about death or I should say Layla has. It’s normal to think about other deaths recent and sometimes from the distant past. Sometimes, it’s a flicker of a pleasure or nostalgia but can be a raging tidal wave of emotion. It’s creeps up slowly or pops up fast, vanishes or repeats in a loop of anxiety. Cats have no concept or philosophy death. We don’t worry in advance. We can be anxious but here is an external reason. We don’t worry for nothing. What’s the point. Living in the now is the cat’s meow. It’s one of the many ways cats help their humans heal. It’s all our charming qualities that makes our loss hard. Some cats are simply more lovable than others and for Floyd, Lola was special and they both knew it.
There are many ways to die but to go naturally, at home in the arms of a loved one, is as good as death gets. Lola was blessed with a good death. Her story in our book is called Lucky Lola’s Journey Home. It’s about her long journey from being a very unhappy shelter cat for over a year to finding her forever home hundreds of miles away. There are twists and turns made all the more poignant now. There was a lovely service after her cremation and Lola has made her final journey home.
Floyd had planned all along to give family and friends a copy of Black Cats Tell All: True Tales And Inspiring Images as Christmas gifts but a new urgency arose and a secret fear: would Lola be alive at Christmas? Floyd wanted them autographed with bookmarks which meant ordering from the distributor, signing and shipping to arrive before Christmas. I remember seeing how concerned Layla was getting everything ready in time but with a heavy heart. Thankfully, the books arrived and brought cheer at a somber time. The holidays are stressful at the best of times but caring for a terminally ill fur baby is no picnic as Layla knows all too well.
Many of our book contributors have shared photos of themselves with our book. Lola wasn’t feeling up to it and I understand. While Layla read and reminisced, thought of memorial ideas Floyd had asked about, I was happy to pay tribute to the beautiful Lola. Good-bye dear girl, you lovely pantherette. You will be missed and forever loved. That’s for sure. One day we’ll cross paths and that will be a cause for celebration in the great catnip buffet in the sky.
I know Layla and I will always remember her as a glamorous gal who loved pink. Cat art, photo albums and memorial portraits go a long way to help heal broken hearts. We are grateful for the chance to know Lola. May her memory be a blessing.