This is a story about a special gal who brings happiness to me everyday. Just the sight of her makes me smile. I have known Ethel, for about twelve years, and consider her one of my dearest friends.
So bear with me dear readers, as I tell you about the incredible Ethel…….
Ethel is very shy. She doesn’t say much, but yet the two of us have no problem communicating. I understand when she is happy, and when she is sad. Three years ago, when she lost her brother, her heart broke. Ethel moped around, and did not have much of an appetite. She would pace around her home, expecting her brother, to be sitting in his favorite chair, gazing at her, as he often did. I was always there for her, talking to her, telling her, that everything would be okay. I felt her pain, and told her I would always be her friend. In time, Ethel did feel better, and slowly started enjoying all of her favorite things.
Seven months later, I needed Ethel……
Mom, was diagnosed with a fast growing mass. She was only given a few months, if that, to live. I wanted to take care of her. It was important to me that Mom would be in a familiar surrounding, with those that loved and cherished her. So with the help of Hospice, and my sisters and brother, Mom came to live with me. The first day was busy, as all the days to follow would be, but something amazing happened that first night.
Mom, was sitting on my loveseat, when a special visitor appeared. My dear shy friend, came for a visit. She walked into the front room and went straight to Mom. What a smile my sweet, blue eyed Mother had on her face. Ethel did not visit very long, but the happiness she brought Mom was priceless.
The next evening, my sister and her husband came to visit and once again, Ethel entered the room and greeted Mom first, then the others. She was really dealing with her shyness!
Each day, brought new challenges for Mom, she went from walking independently, to needing assistance to get up from a chair. Each night, Ethel would visit her and Mom would smile. As the weeks went on, Mom got increasing worse. At night, after she was in bed, Ethel would sit with me. There was no need for words since I felt her unspoken love and support.
Ethel started coming and spending more time with Mom as the weeks went by. She sat on her air mattress bed one day, and was a little startled when the bed adjusted to her weight! Mom and I both laughed.
That very day, when Mom was sleeping, I heard her crying and went in to kneel by her bed, but somebody had beat me to it; Ethel of course. When I ask Mom why she was crying, she told me that her mother told her, she would be coming for her soon. By that time, I was crying too.
Mom, who was never afraid of anything, asked me to sit with her at night and to please keep the light on. Ethel sat with me that night, never leaving my side.
The Monday, before Mom’s passing, my home was bursting with family. Mom had stopped talking and her organs were starting to shut down. My shy friend, could not handle the number of people, so she sat upstairs where she could be close, but not feel threatened. There was raw emotion that night and tears of sorrow flowed. Then, there was silence ,and I could hear my dear sweet friend crying as she sat at the top of the stairs.
Each day, brought major changes with Mom’s health. When she managed to open her eyes, they were not the same.
Mom’s lips looked parched and I gently gave her drops of water from an eyedropper, hoping it would help her, but nothing helped
The days flew like the wind; Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…..
When I woke on that Thursday morning, I thought Mom had mucus in her throat, but soon realized that it was the death rattle. My dear, sweet, Ethel never left her side.
My family came to say their goodbyes. I knew they were struggling. My brother was the last to leave that night. We all knew that it is was almost time for Mom to leave us and join her family in her forever home.
Soon, it was just my husband, Ethel and me…….
Ethel looked at me, then looked at Mom. Then all of a sudden, she looked at the ceiling. I watched her eyes move along the ceiling above my Mother’s bed. Then she did something strange, Ethel got in bed with Mom. She put her head on Mom’s chest and kept one eye on the ceiling. My wonderful Mother died early the next morning. She had a loving smile on her face, and her eyes were closed as if she were sleeping. As family members arrived on that very cold, very early morning, I noticed that Ethel was no where to be found. She had gone upstairs, to escape the commotion that death brings
I called to Ethel to come down, but she would not. Soon, the funeral director came to take Mom. I heard crying coming from upstairs. A high pitch cry, a sad cry. It was Ethel, she had lost her dear friend.
My heartfelt feelings……..
I believe that family members come to take us home. I also believe in angels. Without a doubt, Ethel saw something that night. Whether it was my grandmother or one of Mom’s many deceased sisters or brothers, or an angel or two, Ethel saw them. And I know it be true in my heart. The sweet smile, and that little golden glow on Mom’s face said it all. She had made it home and Ethel saw her soul take that glorious trip to heaven.
My dear, sweet friend…….
I see Ethel everyday, in fact she lives with me. She doesn’t visit with anyone anymore, just Rick and I. She is still my best friend, who is always with me. This is the end of my story about the Incredible Ethel, my sweet, sweet, adorable cat who never came out to visitors but came out to Mom and my family.
If I learned anything during that time, it was to always tell our loved ones just how much they mean to us. Dear reader, life is precious, it is fragile, live each day loving, and caring for family and friends. Reach out to help those in need and remember a smile can go a long, long way.