A Soul Winged Its Way To Heaven

Losing a pet can steal speech.

My friend, Susan, emailed her message,

” Couldn’t send this yesterday……know you know exactly how I feel.”

Gandalf, Susan’s 20-year-old Siamese companion, let her know it was time to explore the next phase of existence. 

“He had become very addled…yowling and wandering around aimlessly.  He had just started spraying inside…that was the sign…”

Susan noted: "Oldest living owner with oldest living cat!"

“I know he was “just a cat” but he was an exceptional, beautiful, loving, goofy one and I will miss him sorely…so will Jerry.”  Jerry, Susan’s “new” husband (**note below) had been fully approved by Gandalf.  However, it had taken feline cunning to eke acceptance from Jerry who was no push-over.

Susan, I am so sorry.

    This emptiness will not be filled with words.

Susan said: "My absolute favourite...for the fridge."


Susan wrote, “We spent a good part of  the afternoon outside, after it stopped pouring (rain) and he had one last territorial spray to keep the marauding cat across the street away! Fierce to the end.”

Gandalf's Garden

“I wrapped Gandalf in my fuzzy wuzzy blanket and

eventually we buried him with flowers and rosemary in the rose garden.”

Susan: "All my favourite rocks from years past.."

Typical of my gorgeous,


and heart-broken friend,

Susan placed a blue, heart-shaped stone

atop Gandalf’s grave.

A perfect match

for his wise,




♥ ♥ ♥

♫♪♫♪  Susan, may you harmonize your heart out with Nana.  ♫♪♫♪

**  See Jerry Davidson’s exceptional art on his website.  Click this link. (All photos on this blog are the work of, and belong to, Jerry Davidson.)

54 thoughts on “A Soul Winged Its Way To Heaven

    • For sure, Mags – as my grieving mother said, after losing a 17 year old Balinese cat, “None of you kids were with me at home this long.” It took her years to be able to accept a kitten – one was foisted on her by a neighbour’s child. Otherwise, I doubt she would have accepted another one.

  1. Hi Amy
    Please let Susan know I am thinking of her. My throat gets so tight I can’t
    think straight. 20 years, how wonderful. Gandalf is all around her(he is a wizard after all) but she will
    miss his company so much. Some times some foisting is the best
    thing that can happen. I was unable to imagine having another cat after my
    Nubby passed. Fortunately my sister searched shelters all day looking for the right connection, she then brought me the surprise of a scrawny little kitten, who to this day is the most special cat I have ever had. This is almost 30 years ago. I am glad your mom got foisted. Susan may need some help with at least some encouragement. Filling the void, as you know is a huge comfort that brings surprising delights
    but they can never be replaced. New critter joys do await Susan , Jerry and some very lucky kitty. Give her a big hug from me.

    • Thanks for your fabulous comment, Della, you great, big, marvelous, cat heart! Susan will see it and I hope she will gather the spunk to respond. She’s another of the blog’s faithful readers who shies away from commenting. You just may bring her out of her silence, Della! Big hug to John for me, please! I miss you both.

  2. 20-years is a lucky duration for enjoying a pet’s companionship! Jerry and Susan were indeed lucky. It is so difficult to get over the death of a loved one, isn’t it?

    I love the stones on the grave.

  3. No, words won’t fill the void. It never worked for me when I lost my beloved Beanie. There are no words to ease the pain, to help you move on without a compartment of grief left in your heart. That is life, I suppose. The remembering of joy, sitting alongside the prickly pain. But, you know, the heart has so much room for another pet. It’s an amazing thing that you can find a way to love another animal as much. Amazing and godlike.

  4. Beautiful words and thoughts all, Amy, including the simple phrase “20-year-old.” Cats live that long when there is reason to, and that reason always has to do with mutual love.

    • SuziCate – there’s your wisdom shining again! That is precisely what I learned in my Hospice Training. I was overjoyed to know I had the freedom to grieve just as much as people losing people. Prior to that, I downplayed it and kept silent. Now, I just wail.

  5. It’s always heartbreaking when we lose our animal friends. My Tessie is planted beneath a rose bush in my front yard, her ashes interred in a lovely urn made by my potter friend. I smile every time I pass that rose bush and run my fingers along the branches as though running them over Tess’s silky ears.

    I checked out Jerry’s art — lovely! Lot’s of humour there.

    thanks, Amy, and condolences to your friend.

    • I guess I can confess to having the ashes of Mackie (General MacArthur) still sitting on my kitchen windowsill after 9 years! He didn’t know this home. I bought just after he died so I wasn’t sure where I wanted to put the ashes. The day is coming…

  6. Unless you’re had a pet and lost one you don’t know how hard it is. They’re part of our families, living in our homes like one of our children and as your Mom said, sometimes longer than our children. Our dog passed away 2 years ago on Labour Day and there isn’t a day we don’t think of him.

    My sincere condolences to Susan and congratulations for giving Gandalf such a good life. I’ve never heard of a cat living to 20.

  7. It’s so hard to lose a special friend. I can feel your friend’s loss. I lost my 14 year old Golden Reftriever this June, but I knew it was her time and I do have all the memories, my 3 year old St Bernard and my 2 wonderful himalayans to comfort me. I hope your friend will get to loving another pet, they are such loving and loyal companions.

    • Wow, you are a pet person, Dee! It’s hard to articulate all the ways that pets are loving and loyal. I am smiling as I write this…Susan had some hilarious nicknames for Gandalf!

  8. So hard to handle. I dealt with death and dying my entire life but when I have to allow a pet to go, I’m undone. Thoughts with your friend and all of us who love enough to go through this.

  9. It is never “just a cat”, is it?
    “And 20 years, wow… It must have been a wonderful, loving life – worth sticking around for.

    Send my love to your friend from me.

  10. Our pets are more than family because they are so non judgemental. They never remember the little (or big) mistakes we made and gleefully remind us at each reunion. They don’t curry favor with one over the other…or if they do, they do it openly and honestly so we always know where we stand. It is tremendously difficult to lose such purity of spirit. The consolation is that while their hairy little bodies may no longer be there for comfort, their beautiful little souls hang around, reminding us of how deep love can be.

    My heart goes out to Susan and to Jerry. I, too, love the heart shaped rock.

    • Dear RW – speaking of non-judgemental!

      The other day, I saw my avid hunter, Duc le Chat, sitting on the door mat, eying something. As suspected, it was a family of Quail which had recently returned to the property. Duc’s prowess and presence had scared others away. I dashed out…too late! Duc caught an adult and brought it back to the door mat, proud as can be. I managed to free the poor frightened bird. It flew away unharmed. I wondered if Duc felt anger about that action.

      A couple of days later, same eying position. I dashed out and chased the birds away. Duc stared at me as though I had completely lost my mind.

      Yet, an hour later, he was full of purrs, love and warm snuggles. Forgiven again! Undeservedly!

  11. Tender tribute to a gentle spirit and a heart-wrenching experience. I believe, there are no ordinary fur-children, and I suspect Gandalf was no exception! Twenty years is a long time of sharing love, antics and laughter … godspeed and many blessings on the next part of your journey, Gandalf! Healing energy being sent to Susan and Jerry.

  12. Hi Amy .. pets seem to always seep into our hearts .. Suan’s and your description of Gandalf’s last days and his wonderful resting place .. make it all the more special in the telling. I still cry for mine – 30 years nearly now! Much love and hugs all round .. pets seem to do that! Hilary

    • Hilary, hearing that you still cry just gave me a heart twist! I hope to read one day that you have found the time and circumstance to have another pet. Your heart cannot be without love, Hilary…that’s a given! Big hug to you.

      • Hi Amy .. I’m usually never here – and certainly wasn’t in South Africa – I had to give my bull terrier away … because I was working all day and playing squash most other days or out .. so pets have never been an option – and I don’t want to hurt them or worry about them.

        Once Mum goes and I get perhaps more settled I might add a dog in .. but quite honestly I can see me travelling again and not being here much. Not having the support system of family and children .. I can’t and won’t rely on others that much ..

        One day something will come up … thanks for the thoughts … and a big hug to you too .. I know pets are special .. cheers Hilary

        • I keep saying that I’ll give myself freedom when my pet is no longer around, but life without a little creature is strange for me. Gaps between my pets have not been very long. Having had to travel extensively in my work, I know the inconvenience of finding care givers. I was forced into taking my cat on a business contract one time and it turned into a habit. Now I have a cat who is not used to traveling so it would be cruel to indulge myself. So, that is why I wrote “the time and circumstance to have another pet.” in my response to you. I understand the agony and the ecstasy – all too well! 🙂

  13. Hi Amy – you’re right .. and I’d picked up your words ‘the time and circumstances’ .. I’d love to have one and I’m sure I will .. I think I’ll adopt my wild creatures fora while! They’ll always be there when I get back and may visit when I’m away, or send one of their relatives. Cheers – hope your weekend is peaceful – Hilary

  14. The reason I don’t have a pet is because I’m not sure I can handle if he/she ever has to go whatever the reasons. People say I’m a very strong personality, but that’s only because don’t let anything to get under my skin … Courage to your friend!

    • The pain of losing something or someone I love is deep and agonizing, but I will not let that stop me from loving. Pets give us a chance to practice for loving relationships with humans. 😀

  15. There’s no such thing as “just a cat”. They’re all special. They give love endlessly.
    I miss the ones(and my dog) who have passed and always will.

    • Hi Viv – I’ve been thinking of you lots lately. I even had a very small exchange with Michael J. – through Face Book. I hope you are coming through the maze with peace and a sense of fulfillment. Oh boy…CBC is serving Tchaikovsky today – his 1st is playing just now. How appropos – while I’m writing you. Somehow you go together in my perception.

  16. How strange!! I do like Tchaikovsky, but hardly ever play it.
    I am still somewhat lost in the maze, but I think that isn’t going to change. I am writing the serial as a part of my exploration of this.
    I sometimes chat to Michael J too, but I wonder why he stopped blogging.

  17. My heart breaks for Susan, knowing precisely how much this hurts and what a hole is left behind…beautiful tribute to a clearly precious soul. Big hug & kiss to your lovely friend, XO

  18. This post took me into the past and the understanding that I shared with my feline friend who taught me the concept of responsibility.
    I must confess that I don’t visit that many blogs (these days the number has gone down to 3), but I’ve recently begun to read yours. I think I like it because of the positivity that flows from your posts.
    Warm Regards,

  19. Hi, talented and cleverly subtle Shafali. I love visiting your drawings and texts. I haven’t dared attempt your drawing classes, you generous soul.

    Responsibility…my current cat is teaching me Acceptance. He’s a voracious hunter so becomes so skinny in the summer due to all the exercise that I become certain he’s going to die from some rare feline disease! Then he sleeps for a day, eats a tin of cat food and off he goes again. Yes, these wee creatures who supposedly have such limited brain capacity teach us a great deal.

    Susan and I recently went for a hike and discussed how Gandalf was such an important presence during a challenging 20 year period of her life.

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