That’s what this weekend has been. Friday was the sad news that Kendal had passed, a pain that will grow this week as funeral arrangements are made in Michigan for an incredible 17-year-old girl who brought a community together in support and hope. My Aunt and Uncle arrived from San Marino and Dave and I both have plans to get back to the Motherland with our families. It will be a sad time for the great loss in our family, but a time to Celebrate Kendal’s life and all she accomplished, the inspiration she was to so many, in her too short life.
Friday evening I got a private message that was addressed to me and a few friends that are former coworkers. When I was the Public Access Coordinator and Local Sports Producer at Omnicom/Continental Cable in Michigan, I shared my office space with the Local Origination Coordinator. The two coordinator positions were equal in department stature and, as was true with all the department, we worked as crew on many of each other’s productions. The LO Coordinator I worked with the longest, and whose company I enjoyed both as a coworker and as a friend after work, was Tom Scallen.
Tom and I worked on many major productions together, notable I directed Fall Festivals in Plymouth, Michigan that he produced and he was the commentator on several of my sports productions, including the big Red Wing Alumni hockey game I did, a benefit for a local high school student with cystic fibrosis. That game we did play by play with my brother doing color. He’d been on a train adventure a group of us took to Chicago for a Cubs/Braves game and the Monet exhibit at the art museum. After I left in 1996 and many of the family we were in local programming had gone other ways, we had a sort of reunion at Tom’s wedding to his wife, Theresa, who he’d met at Continental where she worked for one of the other departments.
Theresa and I are Facebook friends. The message sent to our group was from her. She apologized for sending her message as an internet correspondence, but she didn’t have current phone numbers for us. Last Wednesday, Tom passed away suddenly after a bout with pneumonia. I was shocked. Tom was 42.
Saturday David and I took Baggle in for a re-check on an infection he had. He is much improved from earlier in the week when we initially took him in. We have to continue the arduous task of giving him pills he hates twice a day. His doctor made it look so easy. At least he enjoys the sip of milk he gets after “cat torture.”
David worked on Saturday and I pretty much let myself shut down a little. I had originally planned to scrap all day while David was at work, but I wasn’t in the mind to scrap. After the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords, I spent the day bouncing between CNN, facebook and Team Kendal, rereading notes and pondering the senselessness of so much of the world. It was not my usual happy day, my usual ability to see a good side was lost. I had reached the bottom of the valley and it was feeling like the carnival car was stuck!
Today was a sunny day and David was going out to find some trains to photograph in the sun and snow. I joined him. I wanted to get away from information about anything for a day to center myself again. We ended up spending the day in Canada in the Chatham area. A little after one, my phone rang. It was a volunteer from Paws and Whiskers.
The first thing that hit my mind, my part still sore from the last couple of days mind, was, “Oh no, please don’t tell me anything happened to Lacey.” As you’ll recall, Lacey is the cat we sponsored in June who was still living at the shelter, in a cage. After living in the shelter for such a long time, cats , any domestic animal, can become depressed and antisocial. They can become afraid of people, perhaps the fear that they’ll pet them and cuddle them and not take them home either. This is why I prefer not to go visit the cats I sponsor too often, I start feeling guilty. I feared she’d become so depressed she’d gotten sick, or worse.
Well, something indeed DID happen to Lacey. She found a forever home! At the end of last week, while so much pain was happening in my world, little Lacey met a new Mommy! Ladonna, the volunteer I spoke with, told me that Lacey had become so skittish and shy, but she warmed up to the woman she met and relaxed when they were in the visiting room. The woman was widowed and seeking a furry companion to share her home. Lacey went home with her that day.
Oh, the power of pets. When Azreal came to live in our home, not long after Noni passed, she was a tonic to my Pop, who was emotionally weary after taking care of his mother in her last days. Now, Lacey is going to offer companionship and comfort to her new Mom. And the both of them have given a ray of hope, of love, that saved me from the depression I’m not at all accustomed to. I’m usually the one who is the rock that offers the soothing words, even through my own pain. Thanks to Lacey and her new Mom, that flame in me has been fanned and I know in the days and weeks ahead I can offer some words of comfort to Tom’s wife and the strength and love my cousin’s family will need me to be able to quietly offer too.
After I got off the phone and shared with David what he knew from hearing my half of the conversation, that Lacey found a forever home, with a big smile on my face, I said, “Time to sponsor a new cat!”
He smiled back and said, “Yes it is!”
Tonight I say a prayer for Kendal and for Tom, for their families and for the victims and families of the Tucson shooting and for our country. May we find cures for diseases that steal our youth and their potential from us all. May we find ways to detect medical complications and be able to reverse them before they take us from our loved ones when we’re in our prime. May we find a way to keep weapons away from incoherent fanatics, fanatics of any kind, who are not able to voice opinions in a civilized way and resort to heinous acts that include nine-year-old girls in their video-game-like scores. Let’s all be human beings first and think about religion and politics later, respect as we want to be respected.
And last, let’s open out hearts and homes to cats and dogs in shelters. They become the most loyal and loving companions and that unconditional love makes a huge difference, for everyone involved.
God bless everyone who is suffering tonight. And God bless Lacey and her new Mom.