November 18, 2012
If you had come to my door sometime in the last twelve years, my official welcoming committee – consisting of one rescued FlamePoint Siamese lover boy – would have greeted you with something like this:
“My name’s Ashy Poo, what’s your name? Do you have any cheese in that bag? Do you think I’m pretty? Do you have any dogs? Are you going to sit down so I can sit by you? What’s that smell on your shoes? Do you want to pet me? Do you have any chips? Isn’t my blonde hair stunning? Can you get me some treats? Can I play with your shoelaces? Did you know I used to live on the street? Have you ever seen a tail as long as mine? Don’t you think my mom is nice? Do you want to brush me?” And on and on. Rapid fire, without a breath. Ashy Poo never met a stranger, and loved everyone.
Ashy dealt with a LOT of challenges in his life, and I wonder what our attitude would be if we faced all of this in one twelve-year period:
- Chronic gum disease which left you with three teeth
- Heart disease
- Out of control hyperthyroidism
- One blind eye from a cataract
- One displaced kneecap
- Early signs of kidney disease
- Car sickness every road trip (involving both ends!)
- Multiple gunshot wounds from a childhood attack, which left a pellet in your hip and probably caused the cataract and knee problem too
Just imagine how many doctor visits and how many medications were involved in all that! I can tell you my state of mind would probably be “poor, poor me” if that was my life, but Ashy Poo didn’t feel that way at all.
Life – according to Ashy Poo – is beautiful.
Ashy Poo had a pretty simple list of life principles, and no one lived them out like he did:
- Never stop purring, no matter what. No. Matter. What.
- No one is a stranger and everyone is your friend. Why wouldn’t they be your newest fan? You’re awesome!
- Trust everyone, even if people have proven to be untrustworthy. Even if you get hurt, keep trusting.
- Never let anyone see that you don’t feel well. It only upsets your family if they think you’re puny. Just hide under the bed for a little while and sleep til you can act well again.
- If you have to wear a silly hat from time to time, so be it. It’s a small price to pay to make people smile. Besides, you look so darn CUTE in hats! Draw the line at wearing a sweater though.
- There’s nothing to be afraid of! Not vacuum cleaners, not hair dryers, not car rides, not strangers, not even death. Just live and don’t be skerd! Fear is a waste of energy and emotion.
- Don’t give up. Fight through whatever comes your way…starvation, homelessness, illness, gunshots. Whatever. Just push through it and don’t give up.
- Bounce back and be a trooper! When everyone gives up on you, you bounce back like the Energizer Bunny and keep on ticking. Prove the doubters wrong.
- Show gratitude for your family and your home. Not everyone is blessed with a safe home with a warm bed, yummy food and people who love you. Always be thankful and remember where you came from.
- Choose a mom with a couple of credit cards with high limits if you can. You never know what the future holds.
- Never get hissy or huffy with your mom. If she says eat, you eat til you’re full. If she says go to the doctor, you go to the doctor and make new friends. If she says take medicine, you take medicine cheerfully and spit it out when she isn’t looking. If she calls you, you come running. She might want to kiss you.
- Always remember that you’re special. There’s no one else like you. God made you unique and the world needs you to be you.
- Never lose your dignity. Dignity isn’t dependent on your situation, it’s dependent on your attitude.
- Rule your house with a soft voice and a velvet paw. Keep your brothers in line. Someone has to be the boss!
- Leave your mark on this world so no one can forget the difference you made. Leave blonde hair everywhere too.
- Love everyone. That’s all.
That’s the walk that Ashy Poo walked for the twelve years he spent with us. His long list of challenges finally got to be too much for his fragile body, and we suddenly lost him last Monday.
We miss this boy like crazy. We invested so much hope, emotion, time and love into this precious soul, and we fought his challenges together for a long time. It’s weird that all that is just gone now, and our lives feel off balance in every way.
I’m very thankful that he knew how much we were all madly in love with him, beyond a shadow of a doubt. He knew he was cherished, and as he was taking his last breaths I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to tell him that again and again.
Ashy leaves behind his lonely furry brother Gaby, and a huge extended family of hoomans who loved him and won’t forget his sweet spirit and the lessons he taught us. We’ll do our best to follow his example, and even thought we’re beyond sad, we’re going to purr again.
That’s what Ashy Poo would want us to do. Keep on purring. Because life according to Ashy Poo is beautiful, and the life he’s living right now is more beautiful than any of us can imagine. We’ll see you again, Ashy Poo. We love you and we miss you, sweet baby. Forgive us if we can’t find our purr just yet.