Yay Team Coco!!!!!

Yay Team Coco!!!

“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
–Anatole France

I’ve taken a little break from writing these past few weeks. The last couple of posts were prepared ahead of time in anticipation of knowing that a break in my life was just beyond my sight. And again, I was right. Sometimes things just go wrong no matter what all you attempt to do right. Not long after I had written the post, Her Name Is Marley, things would take a sharp turn south. Marley and I had been bonding and we were bonding tightly. She was cute, sweet, and cuddly. My days of having a sweet kitten in my life were many years overdue. She made my heart smile. But there was something hiding from me, Marley, and the doctors. Marley was sick in a way that I couldn’t love it out of her no matter how much we both wanted. Being sick with intestinal worms and low blood sugar were just symptoms of a much bigger issue. Within a two-week time period that was costly both emotionally and financially we were hit hard. And my little Marley was in the fight for her life.
I couldn’t have asked for more of a very caring staff from the local veterinary office. Marley, more than once, would lay almost lifeless in my arms while the tears streamed down my face hoping that my breaking heart would somehow fix the issues at hand. I could hear the concern in each one of the staff’s voice every time, I would call to check on her. Then suddenly, she appeared like nothing was wrong. She was also about half the size of a normal kitten her age. Within a couple of days, she was in the condition of being nearly dead. The cycle was gut wrenching and incredibly tiring. More than once I was up all night with Marley providing care and just making sure she would make it through the night. But she was miserable from her daily fight for life.

As a pet owner, your mind and heart can make you question humane treatment versus a sometimes-selfish want to keep your animal alive. I had finally come to the time when I asked the doctors, “How much do I need to continue to put her through?” They wanted to take her home to observe her condition closer before giving me any kind of answer. For the weekend, she went home with them and I took my concern and exhausted mind and body to bed for a little respite care. And as the cycle would again repeat itself. Fluids, glucose, and other medications were just prolonging the inevitable and they saw it as well. Marley’s condition would never be ok. I was told that she had a condition with her liver that would never get better. I took my broken heart and prepared myself to be without her. I remember little about those last couple of days. I was truly heartbroken and didn’t want another animal. I just didn’t think that my heart could bare to love another kitten or puppy of any kind. My connection with Marley had been deep and I didn’t want to feel that ever again.

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The universe and my coach seemed to see how much I need the unconditional love like the kind freely given to us by animals. Somehow, they both seemed to try convincing and push me emotionally into just giving the idea some consideration. I was mad at them both. I resigned myself to the thought but decided that I would not actively look for a kitten. If I were to reconnect, a kitten would just have to show up in my life. And that’s exactly what happened.

A litter of kittens had been found under a house and the momma cat had been shot and killed. A good Samaritan took the kittens to the vet and they were looking for homes. There was only one female and she would be mine. I couldn’t believe how big she was. She was normal size for a healthy kitten. Nevertheless, she seemed to pick up right where Marley’s love left off. It took her a couple of days to realize that she could safely be a kitten around me. And it took me a couple of days to realize that she would love me if I would let her.

One of the issues I have is allowing others to love me. The many years of abuse and love demonstrated the wrong way has caused me to put up emotional walls around my heart. I’ve found that love coming from some people has conditions. And what I’ve needed for many years is to be shown and taught the concept of love after abuse. And this little kitten that I fought so hard to not find appears to be just what the therapist ordered. For me, the connection with animals has always been easier and safer than the connection with people.
The first hurdle in our relationship was to give her a name that was meant for her. I watched her for a few days while also searching through lists of names. A 5-year-old alter kept shouting her obligatory pleas to watch one of her favorite children movies by Disney. And the title that also allowed her to keep part of a connection with Albuquerque and the Hispanic culture was Coco. This little kitten seems to look like a Coco to me. I have battle wounds from our many hours of playing. And my heart bares the pawprints for every minute she’s loved me through my tears and wounds that are and are not seen.
Every therapy session she’s close to me and usually sleeping at my feet with her paws touching my foot. She seems to understand that her job is to be by my side when my many tears fall. And so far, her daily work opportunities have been plentiful. As my heart continues to heal and the growing pains continue to hurt, we continue to be a dynamic duo. The pieces of my puzzling life are still being found.

15 Years And Her Destruction Continues

“Millions of lives were changed in a day by a cruel and wasteful storm.”
—–President George Bush

This is a topic that to this day a difficult topic to talk about.  June 1st is the beginning of hurricane season which will run until November 1st. I was in Mississippi at the time about 1 hour north of Gulfport in Hattiesburg, MS. Make no mistake that she left her mark on this area as well. I still have a lot of anxiety when a storm comes around which is often. Katrina was something that this area couldn’t imagine possible after Hurricane Camille in 1969 and Hurricane Frederick in 1979. We had “minor” hurricanes in other years. But after hearing stories from my parents and grandmother I wanted to see one for myself. All I can say is, “Be careful what you ask for and want.” I can say that I have some PTSD from the trauma that occurred from this storm.

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This image became known as, “The Stairs to Nowhere. “August 29th, 2005 will never be forgotten. It’s been 15 years and just talking about this hurricane and tears will come to my eyes. I will never forget the uninvited guests known as love bugs that covered our vehicles and houses. The mosquitoes that were the size of house cats. The heat inside the houses was so hot that sleeping outside in a truck bed was the only way to get away from some of the heat. But the mosquitos were so bad that you also had to keep in mind that West Niles virus was also very possible. The price gauging from the companies from out of state to removing trees off people’s houses. Price gauging for gas and the rationing of gas.

We were told to plan for no food and water for 3 days. It was more like 2 weeks in our area. We all ate good for the first couple of days while everyone’s freezers were defrosting. After the defrosting everyone just had rotting meat and nothing to do with it. There was no sewage working either. Talk about nasty…. the manholes were running over with raw sewage and going everywhere. It was so bad that city officials were riding around neighborhoods telling us to use the bathroom in the woods.

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A good friend of mine who was dating my sister at the time helped my dad with a chainsaw cut the tree limbs that were possible to move and put in a pile for the city to pick up. Sadly, he’s one of my friends that passed away a few years later. He was a good guy and I miss him dearly. We would finally get power restored two weeks later. Cell service would not be restored until November because the cell towers in New Orleans were destroyed. I was able to drive down highway 90 which was along the beach to get pictures like the above because I was a current student at William Carey University. The National Guard had control over the street and highways. I was in awe at what I saw. The mausoleum had been opened and the deceased were lying around on the beaches. The bodies of the ones of the mausoleums were also trying to be identified. Entire casinos barges were picked up and moved across the highway. The magnitude of the situation was finally beginning to hit me. This level of destruction I had never seen. I couldn’t identify street because all the signs were ripped away.

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This was a funeral home where the first level was destroyed, and bodies were found on the beach. The amount of devastation on the Mississippi gulf coast was never acknowledged because New Orleans got most of the coverage. That was the reason for me and a teacher from William Carey University decided to write the book.
Those were the days where you got to know your neighbors and pull resources together just to get by. This is also about everyone being on the same economic level because there’s were no working atm machines and no banks open. I can remember that Sonic made hamburgers for the entire city of Petal, MS to keep the meat from going bad. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to find a place to keep certain medications cold for both children and adults. There were just not a lot of formula and water for babies and no way to keep medications like insulin to keep cool for the adults. There were thousands of people that were helpless during those days. We didn’t finally get cell phone service back until sometime in November because cell towers were destroyed.
We had no way of knowing what was going on in other areas. It was like we were on an isolated island because as a community we were also stuck on survival. The mayors had also called for a curfew in Petal and Hattiesburg and surrounding cities. For those who had generators the issue was fuel. And you also had to be alert for people stealing fuel out of generators, cars and boats through siphoning. There were many tears that were shed in the days after the storm. The storm itself was scary but nothing could compare to the fear and emotional devastation that happened as a result of the storm. Many thoughts of rebuilding, and others moved away forever. No matter what area of the south people lived in the date August 29, 2005 and the vicious Hurricane named Katrina will forever be engrained in people’s memory. And every year when that day comes around, I still shed tears for the tremendous loss that our state of Mississippi and the surrounding states that became our new reality.