The Gray Cat With Blue Eyes

Wednesday nights, all of us place the trash and recycle bins on the curb. As I was rolling the trash can to the curb, I heard a “meow” from the garage. I went back for the recycle bin, and I saw the gray cat standing next to the car. I tried to call him out of the garage, but he kept walking towards the back door.

I crept down in the driveway and called to him again mainly because I didn’t want him to stay in the garage! He kept meowing and looking at the back door.  We’ve never been “cat people”; we have always rescued little dogs. I’m not really sure how to act around cats.  As I squatted in the driveway, I called to him.  He finally came over and gave me “cat kisses” on my hand and legs; he kept rubbing his neck and body against my legs. He put his head in my hand and wanted me to pet him and rub his head and back.

I started crying and talked to the cat through tears, and said “why are you here of all nights? I’ve been asking John to speak to me all day, and now it’s dark.” I have no idea how to take care of cats. I kept crying, petting him and letting him “kiss” my hand. Then I asked, “by chance, is your name John? Are you trying to tell me something?”

He kept returning to the garage and sitting in front of the door, and then he laid down in front of the car. At this point, I had to find a way to get him out so I could close the garage. I took the garage door opener out of the car and coaxed the cat outside again.  I started walking down the sidewalk. The cat followed me, and I closed the garage. He walked with me touching my leg as we walked.

I decided to try Mac and Bambi, hoping they would chase the cat away. I put Mac’s leash on, and he went crazy as soon as he saw the cat.  Mission accomplished — the cat ran away.  Mac and I went for a walk down the sidewalk about a block and then returned home. We went through the front door, and I tried to collect myself.

Now, Bambi was ready to go out, so I let her out the back door. As soon as I opened the back door, I heard the meowing. The cat had returned and was sitting on one of the patio chairs by the grill. About this time, my sister, Beth, called me. I told her about the strange encounter. Because she has had cats, I asked her what should I do?

I described the cat to Beth. He is mostly gray with white “boots” on each foot. He has white patches over his nose and white-striped “eye brows” that look painted on – three vertical stripes over the top of each eye. Across the bottom eyelids, it looked like white eyeshadow was painted across. Once Beth saw his picture, she said “I’ve never seen a cat with those kinds of markings.”

Beth said, “he might be hungry, but cats won’t eat dog food. Do you have any canned chicken?” I didn’t, but I decided to try Bambi’s nuggets. The cat ate every nugget in the bowl.

While Beth and I kept talking, I sat down on our glider. The cat crawled up on my lap and wanted me to pet him. She said, “cats don’t come up to people, especially ones they don’t know.” And then she asked, “what color are his eyes?” I know why she asked . . . John has blue eyes.

After a few minutes, the cat wanted to go back outside, so I let him out. And then Beth said the most beautiful thing to me.  Maybe the cat is a God-Wink and “maybe he knew you needed comfort and sought you out.”  She told me that cats don’t “kiss” people, but this one “kissed” me. She said cats rub against you because they want to be touched and loved, or maybe he knew I needed to touched and loved at that moment.

I haven’t seen the cat since he left the patio last night.  I believe Beth is right . . . the cat was a God-Wink sent to me last night.  I needed to know that my angel, John, is watching over me, he loves me, he misses me . . . as much as I love him and miss him.  Last night, I was blessed with a beautiful gray cat with blue eyes.

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“Go Ahead, Make My Day”

Trish cleaned our room around 4:30 p.m. each afternoon. The first couple of times, she was pleasant, said hello and went about her cleaning, not a lot of conversation. Very meticulous, you could tell she takes pride in cleaning the room, bathroom and disinfecting all surfaces. After all, a sanitized environment is critical to the patient’s health and recovery. She spent about 15-20 minutes and then left to take care of the next room.

After a few days, John struck up a conversation with Trish. One of the many qualities that appealed to me was John’s desire to know a person, no matter what their responsibility may be. She takes her responsibility seriously but is a lovely, caring lady. Trish’s husband adores her, much like John adores me! She likes to do yoga on her days off to recharge and meditate. She takes an annual gambling trip with the girls which just so happened during his second week. If it was up to Trish, she’d have all of the floors stripped and waxed! Another example of her high expectation for cleanliness, patient comfort and satisfaction.

Within a couple of weeks as John’s hair thinned, she mentioned how he resembled Clint Eastwood especially when he furrows his brow, looking very serious. She’d say “make my day”, which would make John smile. Such a simple thing, but so delightful – something he anticipated to brighten his day. Needless to say, John’s nickname on the floor became “Clint”!  Each evening before she left, she would blow a kiss and say she would pray for us.

Over the next five months, John would leave and return three times. On each arrival, Trish was one of the first people we saw when we walked onto the 4th floor. Despite the circumstances, it was comforting to see her smile and hear her say, “there’s my cutie-pies”!

So, back again for a third and last time. Trish was the first person we saw as we walked onto the 4th floor. Her face lit up when she saw “Clint” and let us know she had cleaned the room prior to his check-in. Before clocking out, she made a point to say good night, and she would pray for us.

Tuesday, I stepped out of John’s room for a phone call to discuss the next step in his journey to healing. The reality of this finale is overwhelming, stirring up suppressed emotions while producing new ones. I took refuge in the handicap stall in the public restroom. I hadn’t been there more than a couple of minutes when I heard Trish call out, “Mrs. Boxx, are you in here?” I had lost track of time, and John’s procedure was just minutes away. Trish made sure to find me before he was transported away.

I can count the number of hours we’ve known Trish, but she’s as dear as my friends I’ve known for 30+ years. Trish didn’t have to befriend us.  Trish didn’t have to pray for us. Trish didn’t have to come find me because she had her own job to complete. Trish didn’t have to hug me to comfort me. Trish didn’t have to help wipe away my tears as her own eyes welled up. But in the famous words of Dirty Harry, “go ahead, make my day” is what Trish does daily.

Bea Positive and take time to make someone’s day!

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