Oct 17, 2013 Today marks a week since Rosie left me – left us (pic)

I haven’t finalized her local memorial because I’m not ready. However, Peg Banks is collecting all the information for her worldwide memorial and we have folks from South Africa, Greece, Argentina, France, Sweden, the UK, huge chunks of the U.S. and Canada wanting to help. I am so deeply touched and know that if she was in my lap, the words would be a whole lot more eloquent.

Everything done for Rosie by her vets, her friends, and me was done with an eye toward the future. My dream was that we’d take a road trip. I thought we would drive across the country to meet her FB friends, visit shelters to talk to them about checking on hoarding situations, and help them with ideas on how to recruit folks to adopt the seniors and special needs dogs and cats. I hoped that posting our travels to her page would inspire people to act, to open hearts and homes. Yes, it is very silly, but I thought she would enjoy going to Miami – the ocean being so warm and clear – I pictured me holding her so she could paddle the warm salt water. If you can picture that…you must also picture me fully clothed in my usual black because I don’t own a bathing suit and can’t swim anyway and Rosie wearing her pink doggles and possibly a green rhinestone life vest. That thought makes me smile until I realize it isn’t going to happen.

We – Rosie really – received so many emails from folks with special needs children inspired by Rosie, people struggling with illness, loss, addictions who visited her page for a smile, a diversion, and sometimes inspiration. Some folks said they felt if she could handle what life dealt her, then, they could too. I hoped Rosie could meet some of these folks as well.

Rosie’s foster kitten went to her new home on Saturday. Although Ophelia was too rambunctious to spend unsupervised time with Rosie, they were still very close. Ophelia slept on my head with one paw on Rosie’s head. She preferred to eat whatever Rosie ate. Rosie allowed her to share the food, which was always surprising as Rosie didn’t share her food with anyone. Ophelia knew something was happening last week. She was desperate to sit with Rosie. When Rosie passed, Ophelia was frantic and acting out all night, I could not comfort her. When I returned from the crematory, I put Rosie’s urn on her froggie blanket inside her stroller and zipped it up. (Don’t ask why, I don’t know.) Ophelia tried to get in the stroller and she hissed and scratched when I removed her. She was wild all night. Saturday I showed Rosie’s urn to Ophelia and then put the urn on my dresser. Ophelia climbed into the stroller, rolled around on Rosie’s blanket, and fell asleep surrounded by the smell of her foster mom. It was time for her to have a home of her own with a fresh start to make her own happy memories. Ophelia’s new daddy sent me a text Monday to tell me she is fine and has brought a “blessing to this home…” I know that Rosie is thrilled her little foster kitten is loved and happy.

I’ve been asked if I have regrets…yes of course I do! I regret that I didn’t find a way to make that trip this summer. I regret that I have no words for the folks who looked to Rosie for hope. I regret never sneaking her into the zoo to show her an aardvark since so many people thought she looked like one. I regret not letting her have the chocolate that had dribbled down my cup last Thursday morning. As sick as she was, that got her attention and she wanted it…little did I know that couldn’t have harmed her. I regret leaving the house without Rosie when it wasn’t necessary – I was always happiest hanging out with her.

She filled me with hope, peace and made me think the impossible was possible. I do take comfort in knowing that because of Rosie a number of beautiful animals found their forever homes, had their surgeries/medical needs supported and that people now know what hoarding/backyard breeding looks like.

I marvel at the changes she brought into the life of this middle-aged stubborn redhead. She shook up my routine, she remodeled my soul. I was reminded last night of something Mary Oliver wrote:
“ Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.”

Rosie’s passing is a box full of darkness that I believe will bring about the gift of light and love to animals like her.

Rosie, I hope the garden of Eden is on the other side of that gate…and don’t be afraid of the hummingbirds anymore my love. Miss you now and always. You are my most beloved girl.

Rosie in April 2013 - Point Dume