Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Monday, April 18, 2011

Full Circle In A Garden

Coal

In 1998, the year of the 13 year cicadas, a small black kitten with five white chest hairs introduced himself to me while I was working in the garden. It wasn't long before he moved into the house, into our family and eventually settled in our hearts.

He brought us laughter, companionship, comfort and something to take care of when our son went away to college. Most of his life was spent indoors watching the birds, chipmunks and other garden visitors. I know he dreamed big dreams and remembered his life outdoors. One day last year, he burst through the screen door and caught a chipmunk and carried it back into the house to give to me! Oh, what a mighty hunter; he would have kept the vole and mouse population in check were the outdoors a safe place for a kitty.

He got sick last Fall and early this Spring, when we knew the end was near, we took him back into the garden for daily walkabouts. His energy returned and with it, the young cat we remembered so well. He loved being outside. He explored under all the shrubs, laid in the sunshine and and stalked voles and chipmunks. We were surprised when he caught two unsuspecting voles! He wasn't; he knew he was the mightiest hunter ever at Clay and Limestone. We praised him for his prowess. He blinked I love you back at us.

Earlier this month, in this year of the 13 yr cicadas, we said goodbye. There was no doubt on our parts, that Coal's heart was filled with love and good cat memories.

This summer, when I hear the cicadas chirping, I will remember our sweet black cat with the five white chest hairs and those well earned three white whiskers, who settled in my heart and I will smile.

xxoogail

The smallest feline is a masterpiece. - Leonardo da Vinci

This post was written by Gail Eichelberger for my blog Clay and Limestone Copyright 2011.This work protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.

52 comments:

  1. Gail,
    You must be pretty sad about loosing him. I'm sure he is hunting chipmunks in kitty heaven right now. Our cats we would miss both of them very much. The moles, voles and mice would not at all.

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  2. Gail, I'm so sorry you've lost such a sweet companion. When a pet leaves after so many years it's so very hard on the owner. Animal companions are so pure, offering much more than they take - I imagine you won't need the cicadas to remind you of your feline masterpiece.

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  3. Gail ~ I am so so sorry for your loss. May your wonderful memories bring you comfort.

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  4. Oh sadness... I'm so sorry. - but may you always celebrate what a wonderful life Coal had with you!

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  5. It is sad the the Mighty Hunter is no longer a part of your life. He will reamin in your heart for a long time though. Big Hugs.

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  6. I'm sorry for the loss of your furry friend. How wonderful that he brought joy and comfort to you!
    So nice to see so many lovely blooming things in your garden.

    Cheers,
    Donna

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  7. Dear Gail, Coal was surely special and pampered by you and your family. I love how you describe those "five white chest hairs." It is so sweet that you gave him the garden for those last days. He rewarded you with his prowess for hunting those nasty little voles. It is hard to lose our sweet pets. The image of a precious black kitty with "five white chest hairs" (and "three white whiskers" "well earned" settled in your heart is heartbreakingly beautiful. Hugs to you kind one. Endearing portrait!

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  8. Gail, my heart goes out to you on your loss of Coal. Another gardening pet in heaven.

    Hugs,

    Freda

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  9. Gail, Coal chose his humans wisely. Hugs and loving thoughts, dear friend.

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  10. I'd cry if I have to say goobye to my first cat Comel though now I have 8 more to keep me company. I understand how you felt...hope another cute little stray will find its way into your heart and home!

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  11. I have seen the Mighty Coal, great hunter and owner of the most beautiful silky black coat. When the cicadas sing here, we will remember him fondly.
    xxxooo
    Frances

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  12. Pets just don't live long enough do they? He was lucky to own you. Bye sweet Coal.

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  13. Sure is hard to lose a family pet, they are so close to our hearts. So sorry for your loss.
    Interesting life cycle with the cicadas---gonna be a wild and noisy summer.

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  14. So sorry to hear about your loss. Cat is so clever. We lost a dear companion when I was pregnant with my first. She always slept on my tummy while I was pregnant as if looking after the baby. My father can't live without having any cats at home.

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  15. Sorry for your loss Gail. Knowing that he lived a full and happy life has to help some.

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  16. Gail,

    I'm sorry to hear about your kitty! It rough to lose a pet, they become part of the family. I still think after two years that I see our cat out of the corner of my eye then turn to see something else laying on the ground. They make an impression that lasts a long time.

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  17. It is always so sad to lose a beloved pet. We have such happy memories of the pets that have shared our life - and you obviously know that pleasure as well.

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  18. I'm biased since my little guy just turned 10, but cats are unique in their lives and the way they touch us--and expand our perceptions. Celebrate.

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  19. I'm biased since my little guy just turned 10, but cats are unique in their lives and the way they touch us--and expand our perceptions. Celebrate.

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  21. You gave Coal a lovely send-off, Gail - and a good life.
    Doesn't his arriving and leaving with the cicadas seem a sort of feline echo of Samuel Clemens birth in the year of Halley's comet and departure the year the comet returned?

    Hugs from Annie

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  22. My dears, Thank you all for your very kind and loving words. He was an absolutely splendid cat friend. I am so glad his last days were filled with love and adventure. It was son who helped me see the absolutely perfect full circle of Coal's life...I think this year, I won't mind the cicadas so very much. xxoogail

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  23. What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful kitty. It made me think of our past cats...both the hunters and the clueless. Coal was just as lucky to have you as you were to have him.

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  24. Our life would be empty without our furry friends. Your kitty had a good life, Gail!

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  25. Oh Gail I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your treasured friend and family member...you enriched each others lives so much!!

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  26. Gail, what a wonderful gift you gave each other. I love the way you loved him and let him go. Thanks for sharing Coal with us. He will live on in many hearts.

    Barbara H.

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  27. So sorry to hear you've lost such a great companion animal. I love my cats! Several years ago we lost a great kitty who showed up in our yard as an emaciated stray. He found his way into our hearts. I still miss him.

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  28. My sympathy in your loss. He was lucky to walk into your life and you were lucky he chose you.

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  29. Beautifully put Gail. It moved me to tear filled eyes. I love our kitties too, and they are also mighty hunters. They keep us free from mice and other uglies. My heartfelt sympathy.~~Dee

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  30. What a handsome lad he was. I'm sure you must miss him so much. My condolences.

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  31. I'm so sorry...losing pets is really hard. It's great that he had such a wonderful garden to live and play in. You should be proud of giving him so much love and a wonderful environment.

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  32. Oh, Gail, I'm so sorry. He's such a beautiful cat. I'm sure he had a wonderful life with you. Love and hugs, Victoria xxx

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  33. What a lovely tribute to a well-loved pet. Coal was special.

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  34. I've got a 12 year old black cat named Man and we are watching him shrink before our eyes. xoxoxo

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  35. I'm sorry Coal is no longer with you Gail. Our first cat was a black cat, and I still have an enormous soft spot for black kitties. I know sweet handsome Coal will always be a special part of C&L.

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  36. I am so sorry to hear of Coal's passing, Gail; he was such a beautiful cat. It's so hard to lose a beloved pet after so many years; may you have happy memories of him every time you sit in your garden. I'm sure he enjoyed his last romps in the garden, and I hope, too, that there are voles and chipmunks for him to chase in kitty heaven.

    Hugs, Rose

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  37. It is sad to hear of your feline friend's passing. Coal brought you good memories and you will have them to cherish. My sympathy for your loss.

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  38. My heart goes out to you Gail. It is painful to lose a pet. I only have adopted ones that run to meet me when they hear me coming, all 3 of them. Mother & 2 separate born daughters.

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  39. Sweet memories of Coal. I realized cats don't have nine lives when the stray one that we fed occasionally died on the road last year.

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  40. I am so sorry that your garden is going to feel a little more empty now. As one who knows, time will heal, but memories will continue.

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  41. Gail I am sorry for your loss of sweet Cole. He was a beautiful cat and you gave him a wonderful life.

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  42. Gail, I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. It sounds like he had a long and full life and was very lucky to have you in it.

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  43. Hi Gail,
    Beautifully written. I'm so sorry for your loss. We lost our precious Maine Coon cat, Sammy, last November and I still have not mustered the strength to post about it on my blog. He was such a fine hunter as well and my garden friend and companion.


    Take care,
    David/ Tropical Texana/ Houston

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  44. My dear friends, I am touched by your support and your own pet loss stories~We love our fur friends and miss them deeply when they are gone from our lives. Thank you for being here for me. xxoo gail

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  45. Our Chocolat had a few white whiskers when he was a kitten. Now we have to recognize him by his BIG sea-green eyes. I remember that terrible journey home with Henry. Who only came to this garden to rest in peace. It leaves a hole, in our lives, and on our blogs.

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  46. So hard to lose our furry family members. I'm sure he appreciated his time in your garden, as he was getting old. Thoughts are with you..
    Balisha

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  47. What a lovely eulogy to a good companion!

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  48. Fur baby's are the best. They are always there and dont judge but instead give unconditional love to us humans. I cannot imagine my life without a fur kid around to keep me on my toes. It is never easy to say goodbye. My heart aches for you today, sigh…

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  49. Oh Gail. You've made me cry.

    I hate when the time comes for them to leave. It is SO darn heartbreaking. You wrote about him so beautifully. What a wonderful gift you gave him allowing him some outdoor time in his last months. I know that's the place my cat would like to be the most too. He certainly was handsome. Hugs to you ~ I'm really sorry for your loss.

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  50. That was a nice tribute to Coal. I'm sorry for your loss, Gail. Heidi, our dog, and I have a complex relationship. I get upset with her for getting into the garbage, and eating our food if we step away from it. Yet, I enjoy having her with me outside, and I will miss her when she is no longer with us.

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  51. Aw Gail, I'm so very sorry. I'm welling up thinking of the loss of him, your love for him and his for you; thinking how wonderful and precious our animal companions are. Such a lovely tribute to a perfectly lovely kitty. May he rest in peace, and may your heart rest in the love you shared. As I know you know, love never dies.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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