This story is very near and dear to my heart. It is a story about a special little girl named, Ethel. If you haven’t guessed from the title, Ethel is my precious Tortoise Shell cat.
I will need to start at the beginning to create the picture of a cat who has and is still touching hearts of those she allows into her circle.
It all started a little over sixteen years ago, a few months after I put my beloved dog, Sammy down. Needless to say, my heart was broken, and I was looking to help it heal.
The art teacher at the school I was teaching at and I would chat about our love of animals. She was there when I lost Sammy. When I was ready for a new addition to my family, she was the person I went to. I asked her to let me know if she knew of a family that had kittens. A few weeks later, she told me about two little kittens, one orange tiger, and one Tortoise Shell, who were the last two of a litter. It seems that the young kittens had been abandoned. I knew right there, and then I had to check them out, especially the orange tiger. You see, I only was interested in adopting one kitty. Little did I know how those two little kittens would touch my heart and change my mind.
I went, met the family, filled my cardboard cat carrier and headed for home. I was in love. After seeing the two little ones curled up together, I knew that I could not separate them. Lucy and Ethel came home with me. Now how to explain two kitties instead of one. It was an easy sell. I choose to believe on that day the angel of kittens whispered in my husband’s ear. He welcomed them both.
I must tell you that from the beginning, the kitties hid from any visitors. They only came out to my husband and me. Now, I could fill up page after page about the antics of kittens, but I would like to set the scene for two extraordinary events that changed my life with the help of two grown cats.
The first event happened about ten years ago. Both cats always enjoyed exploring in the attic and showering me with silk flowers. I would often find them here and there throughout the house. Well, during a tough time in my life, both Lucy and Ethel started bringing me, angels. One day I found one next to my shoe. Then they started showing up everywhere. Even on my pillow.
In the beginning, I honestly thought my husband was bringing them to me until the night I caught each one of my sweethearts coming down the attic steps with an angel in their mouths. I still have those angels in a special bag to remind me of two loving cats.
Five and one-half years ago, I had to put my orange beauty down. Lucy was diagnosed with liver cancer. Once again, my heart broke. Little did I know, that my heart would hurt even more in the months to come.
My Mother was diagnosed with a fast growing mass In September of 2013. After some discussion, and the sad news, that she was terminal, Mom came to live with me. With the help of Hospice and my family, we kept our Mother as comfortable as we could. My sweet little Ethel who always ran and hid from visitors walked bravely down the steps, into the parlor where Mom’s bed was and proceeded to visit with each family member. During the day when it was just Mom and Me, Ethel would sit by Mom for hours. I couldn’t believe it. Then on the night, that my beautiful, loving Mother was getting ready to take her journey to heaven, Ethel was there. She never left her side. The morning after Mom passed, this precious cat, climbed the steps, sat on the top-level and cried and cried, like her heart was broken. I choose to believe that the angels filled Ethel with the courage she needed to help all of us during this challenging time.
I am going to end my story here. There is not much more to say, only that animals are a gift from God. I believe that Ethel not only helped my Mom in her time of need but indeed helped each one of us. Thank you, my sweet Ethel, for loving me to this day. You are my little sweetheart. My angel sent from above.