Sunday, September 29, 2013

Smokey - Remembered

Look at that face. How could you not love it? The sweet smile, what were you dreaming about Smokey? That little paw.  And with this picture, Smokey began to be recognized as a pal in Twitter.  

He had been there longer, but I didn't know much about avis, photoshopping, and so I had put a picture that to me said, "Hey! What's going on? Let's meow!" But the napping Smokey seemed to make him more recognizable.

Today makes a month that Smokey crossed and I want to reminisce about him.  The real Smokey, not @Smokey8 Twitter purrsona or Smo Key Pino from Facebook. 

Smokey was born Valentines Day 2005 in my cousin's home.  Smokey's name was given to him by my cousin's grandchild.  She ended living by herself with her dog, Rosita (who came to live with us after my cousin's passing) and Smokey.  

The year 2005 distinguishes itself for two things: my beloved cat Frutty, 17 yrs, crossed over -and- Smokey was born.  Both proved to be different in temperament, in fur color, in health, and in death.  One thing they both had in common: they left me heartbroken when they crossed.  

I'm always being asked how many cats I have.  I love cats; I get their personality. However, I consider myself a one cat woman.  I inherited most of the cats I have.  My father started bringing cats to our home and he loved feeding them, taking care of them.  After he passed on, my Mom took over the feeding and then when she became ill, I inherited the job of feeding the cats.  Frutty was my one and only at that time.

In 2008, while my cousin was hospitalized, we brought Rosita the dog and Smokey the cat home.  It took all of 24 hours for me to fall in love with Smokey.  He was the shyest cat ever but he couldn't help himself.  He needed to be loved.  He became chief feline officer and when my cousin came over to pick up Rosita and Smokey, I told her I wanted to keep Smokey.  She readily agreed as she was planning to give Smokey to her daughter and she knew Smokey would be loved by me.

Smokey was not the type of cat you could show off to your friends when they visited.  He would get panicky.  He didn't like to be carried either.  If I carried him longer than 3 seconds, it would be a fight and I would bear the scratches.  However, when it came to cuddles and napping, he would jump up in bed and would fall asleep while looking at me.  Most of the pictures I have of Smokey are while he was falling asleep.  He hated to be photographed.  Something about this box in front of his face that scared him.  He loved to be groomed.  Did not like my Disney theme song for him.  Probably my singing voice is at fault rather than the Disney song.  He loved his treats! Boy, did he love to eat.

Smokey was an indoor/outdoor cat.  He was not a fighter.  If he had to, he would do the slapping around but I never saw or heard him get into an all drag down cat fight.  He was a bit mischievous when he wanted to cuddle with me and there was another cat on the bed.  He would start edging over to the cat and put his paw near, knowing it would bother the other cat.  He hated when my back was turned. 

Smokey did not have the street smarts that our other cats have.  He didn't have to.  His eight years were healthy and he never suffered like some of the other cats who have had to survive out in the streets.  Yet, his last living hours were the most horrible he ever had to endure.  I cannot think about it anymore.  I pray he forgives me for not being there the one time he needed me.  

I think of him in a cloud with all possible modern conveniences at his disposal when he tweets.  Otherwise, I see him with my father and our other cats waiting peacefully until we all meet again.  I also think of him keeping my cousin company until Rosita her dog crosses over.  I wish I could have some beautiful dream where I can see him again.  

I thought about closing Smokey's account when he crossed but for now I would like him to be remembered, albeit with halos, wings and clouds and also with all his costumes that I so lovingly photoshopped for all the pawpawties, Nipclub pawties, pawties and events that he attended.  I will probably make some minor changes in the blog but that's in the future.  For now, he remains in Twitter and is Angel Smokey along (and sadly) with a growing list of angel pals.

This was Smokey's last photo taken the week he crossed:
Look at those whiskers! Bit more mature but still his Mom's handsome lover boy!

Til we meet again my most beautiful and darling Smokey! I will always have you in my heart.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

My Annus Horribilis - The Year I Wish Never Would Have Happened

It has been a hellish year beginning last December when my dear cousin passed away from cancer.  She suffered much that last year and now I miss her wit and companionship.  Insofar as humans go, ours is a small family.  I have a younger sister.  Two cousins:  one was Isabel, who passed away last year and her brother, Gus. 

My dear and beloved Mom passed away on March 29 of this year after a long battle with Alzheimers.  She spent her last five years bedridden under home hospice care.  Hospice had warned me that she would only have seven months to live and that I should prepare myself.  They didn't know my Mom.  My Mom had a will to live and she outlasted everyone's predictions.  So much so, I had to fight with the hospice last year when they wanted to take her out of hospice.  I have had so many angels who have helped me taking care of my Mom.  During the week, I would have live-in angels and then I would take over on the weekends.  It was an honor for me to be able to care for my Mom during her last years.  She was an angel who bore her disease with dignity.  I will write about her in the future.

One week after my Mom passed away, I had to help her own cat, Princess, cross over the Rainbow Bridge.  It was sad, yes, but at least I was able to make the decision of letting her go in a gentle manner.  In my arms, surrounded by some of our pets, my sister, and softly singing to her.  She was 18 years old.  

About a month before Smokey crossed, one of my charity cases, Vampi (Vampirito which in Spanish means little vampire), crossed over on his own.  I had been taking care of him and had told the vet I thought it was time to let him go but she wanted to keep on fighting for his life.  Cats know when it is time to cross over.  One day, I left for work and when I returned, he had crossed over.  Smokey (or perhaps Lazarito) will write about Vampi.

And then, just as I felt that my life was beginning to return to some semblance of normality, the unimaginable for me happened:  Smokey's death.  The shock, the horrible way he went sent me on the darkest spiritual and mental agony I have ever experienced.  It was a horrible way to cross over.  

This past month, culminating with Smokey's crossing, has brought me to the edge of a dark abyss I thought I would never be able to recover from; a free fall that I could not stop.  It will still take time.  I am still in mourning for my Mom, my cousin and my sweet and beloved Smokey. I have some wonderful people that have seen me through this dark period.  Some of them I have never met -- the Twitter pals.  What kind and generous people you are!  My own co-workers have been extremely kind.  My sister, who in reality, is the only family I have left, was so kind and supportive.  Mom told me once: "You have to love each other always.  After I'm gone, you will only have each other." 

So I believe (and hope) that this dark period is over.  Life, I suppose, will bring me ups and downs.  However, if I have some control over my life, I cannot be forevermore in a depression and grief that serves no useful purpose.  I have my Mom's example who was the most positive person I have ever met.  Never complained and always had a smile on her face.  I am so greatful to all the wonderful people who have carried me on their shoulders through this time, including God and his Angels!

I'm ready and anticipate my Annus Mirabilis.  Let it begin -- sooner rather than later!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Earning Your Angel Wings

My Dearest Smokey,

Today makes one week when you crossed over to The Bridge. I have made an uneasy peace with that Bridge. I hate IT because you, like so many of your pals, crossed it. That Bridge has broken many hearts, including mine. Yet, I know until we meet again, and we will meet again my sweet boy, you are free to run or take wonderful long naps. All the treats in the world are yours to have. When it is time for us to meet again, I will run down that bridge and we will spend eternity together.

Six years was just too short. You were my one true joy during these six years and I thank you for those years you spent with me. You certainly didn't have to earn your wings because you had them all along!

I will always love my sweet and darling Angel.

Your Mom

Monday, September 2, 2013

In The Arms Of The Angels

Dear friends,

This is Kristin, cokiethecat's mom.

Sweet Smokey has gone tragically and unexpectedly over the Rainbow Bridge. He was inexplicably trapped under his home when it was tented for termites. His loving mom Tess is completely devastated. @Smokey8 has been a stalwart in the anipal community from the beginning. Those who know Tess - and Smokey - know how much she adored him, and will forever. You may also know Tess to be one of the most generous people in the anipal community.

Cutest Sleeping Kitteh Ever!
She's donated countless prizes to pawpawties, nipclub pawies, Anipal Times pawties, and every other kind of anipal pawty - usually beautiful pieces from The Animal Rescue Foundation, so the purchases of the gifts themselves also help animals. She also regularly contributes pawty prizes in the form donations to the charity at hand in the name of the winner.

Always, caring and supportive, only she and Joan @zaziart know how many custom Rainbow Bridge portraits she and Joan have joined forces to donate when Smokey's anipal friends have gone OTRB, to help ease their family's pain with a beautiful remembrance of their loved ones. An Anipal Times article about them is here:

Of course, PepiSmartDog escorted Smokey to the Rainbow Bridge in his pram, with Smokey looking perfectly regal on the ride over, and is helping him settle in with all his friends there. Pepi has written a beautiful tribute on his blog at

Here's another article Maggietkat wrote about Smokey and Tess in The Anipal Times:

Please light a candle for Smokey & Tess by clicking on the image below:

Seeing Smokey on Twitter is always a joy, and Tess has said she'll be back after a break tweeting as Angel Smokey - still @Smokey8, so he doesn't lose touch with all his pals.

Please be so kind as to take a moment to leave your memories and words of encouragement in the comments here for Tess and Smokey, and to let their friends know to come here and do the same.

I hope this post will bring as much comfort to her as she's brought to so many of us in our most difficult times.

We love you Tess & Smokey!