We interrupt this epic road trip for tragedy

Benny greeted me with kisses for my puffy eyes.

Benny greeted me with kisses for my puffy eyes.

It doesn’t feel real right now, but it did two days ago. My friend called me to tell me my sweet kitty Lenny was very sick. They were at the vet and she didn’t know what was going to happen. Within two hours, Lenny was gone.

The vet said Lenny had “severe, extreme” renal failure. His temperature was 95°. He was extremely dehydrated. His numbers or factors or whatever were very bad (I was numb by the time he got to that part). His kidneys had simply failed.

What could I do? I was a two-long-days-drive  away from home. The vet said they might be able to keep him holding on that long, but it would be very expensive and hard on Lenny, and there was hardly any chance he could recover, even then.

We decided to put him down.

I hate that phrase.

My friend was there with him and would hold him and talk to him as he went. I tried not to sob uncontrollably as I talked to Lenny over the phone and told him I was sorry I wasn’t there with him, but that I loved him so much and he had been such a good kitty.

Oh, God! Is this really happening?

I reminded myself that I would have given ANYTHING to relieve my mom of the pain she felt in her past hours.

I reminded myself that that would be ok.

But for next 36 hours or so, I was pretty dazed. I guess I slept some, but it didn’t feel like it. My thoughts were racing. I didn’t know what to do next… continue with the trip? Lenny is gone. There was no changing that. Rush home, where he won’t be there to greet me?

I picked up Benny from the kennel and we checked into a place outside Vegas to rest. Ultimately I decided to head homeward, but try to see some things along the way and enjoy it as much as I could.

The drive to Santa Fe was longer than I thought it would be, but it was beautiful. Retracing my path between Las Vegas and Albuquerque, I remembered all the places I’d been, things I’d seen. I remembered how inspired I’d felt. Those experiences were still real. The painted desert was still there to take my breath away. And then, as I crossed into New Mexico, I saw the most spectacular double rainbow arching over red rock formations. I’ve never seen a rainbow shine so bright. You could see every color from one end to the other — twice!

It lasted for a while, and then finally, it just sort of disappeared.

Unfortunately, my cell phone was FULL so I couldn’t take a picture of it.

I shall have to remember the beauty and the feeling of wonder in seeing it.

It was a reminder of the temporariness of joy, but also the temporariness of sorrow, for in those moments, I wasn’t sad for my kitty.

My goal now is to savor the grief when it comes, and savor the joys that present themselves in between. I’ll stay in Santa Fe for another day or so and then head home, where the loss will feel so real — where Lenny’s absence will be all too present. And I will love on Benny and my other kitty, Sophie and soak up the goodness they bring me… while they are here.



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