cat-looking-at-sky

Reach for the moon. Even if you fall short, you’ll land among stars.

Last Saturday, a dear friend of mine died after a brief illness. This is the first time a friend close to me in age has passed away, and it’s hitting me hard.

Ronnie was my pet sitter for more than 20 years, until she realized her dream of living in Hawaii four years ago. She took care of all of my cats, all the way back to my first cat, Feebee. And she didn’t just take care of them: she loved them like they were her own. She didn’t just feed my cats and clean out their litter boxes when she came over. She spent time brushing them and playing with them. She often scheduled the second visit of the day at the end of her daily schedule, and then stayed longer than her normal half-hour client visit and spent the evening at my house watching TV, often with one of my cats in her lap.

We became friends not long after she started pet sitting for me. Ronnie was a kindred spirit. She loved animals, she loved life, and she believed in finding work that makes you happy. She was one of my biggest champions when I left first my corporate job to work at an animal hospital, and then that job to start my own business.

Ronnie was one of the most positive people I ever knew. She always had a smile on her face. She faced some challenges in the time that I knew her, but she handled them with grace and optimism.

When she first started talking about moving to Hawaii, I had very mixed feelings. I didn’t want to lose my pet sitter, and more importantly, I didn’t want my friend to move so far away. But at the same time, it became apparent very quickly that living in Hawaii was Ronnie’s dream, and of course, as her friend, I supported her in making it come true.

She moved to Hawaii in December 2012, taking her two 16-year-old cats with her. Puddy and Tweety did remarkably well during the long flight, and adjusted quickly to living in paradise. After they passed away, Ronnie adopted Bilbo, a beautiful special needs kitty (he is diabetic.) Shortly after, Piper, a stunningly gorgeous tortie, joined her family.

Ronnie-cats
Ronnie with Piper and Bilbo

The last four years were some of the happiest years of her life. She loved everything about her life on Maui. She quickly formed an “ohana” (a Hawaiian word meaning family in both the literal and extended sense). I don’t think Ronnie ever met a stranger who didn’t become a friend. She volunteered at the Maui Humane Society, socializing cats and preparing them for adoption and taking dogs for long walks on the beach.

In spring of this year, Ronnie was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. True to who she was all her life, she faced this final challenge with the same courage and grace with which she approached everything in life. Despite some horrific side effects from the treatments she received, she was still able to enjoy her beloved island. The last photo I have of Ronnie shows her just a couple of weeks before she passed, with her wonderful big smile, enjoying lunch with friends.

I will always remember Ronnie's smile
I will always remember Ronnie’s smile

I’m so sad that Ronnie’s dream got cut short, but also glad that she never had to say “I wish I had.” Her passing is a poignant reminder for me to not put off anything that I know will make my soul sing.

In Ronnie’s memory, I ask you to think about something that you’ve always wanted to do, and take at least one small step toward doing it today.

37 Comments on Conscious Cat Sunday: Don’t Put Off Your Dreams

  1. Ingrid- I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend Ronnie. You wrote such a beautiful tribute. And good for her for following her dreams.

    This post is timely for me as I have finally decided to follow my longtime dream of working with animals. Thank you for this beautiful reminder that life is too short to waste it not doing what you love.

  2. Wonderful friends, kindred spirits come into our lives for a reason. You are blessed to have found one and realized it!
    Hugs to you as you mourn her leaving, how wonderful she didn’t have to suffer for too long. One of my sisters passed away last year after fighting cancer for 17 years. She was a warrior, a cat, dog, bird, fish, frog, lizard, you name it kind of pet lover.
    You offered a wonderful tribute, and as always great advice!
    Thank You.

  3. Oh Ingrid I am in tears…I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear friend and what sounds to be such a loving and amazingly strong and caring woman. We’ve all lost an angel on earth. My heart aches for you and for all those who loved her. What a special lady. What strong woman. My thoughts are with you and all her friends and family.

  4. Ingrid, sorry to hear about your friend. Ronnie was, and is, a very special lady. Love your tribute to her. You mentioned losing someone close in age to you. This is what happened to me. I lost my dear, sweet sister Sally on 4-18-2016. We had talked about moving to San Diego, CA. We traveled a lot together. We traveled to Maui in 2012. Our last trip was May 2015 to Old Lyme, CT, for our nephew’s wedding. He said he was so glad Aunt Sally had been there. It has been very hard for me. We are close in age and did so much together. I know how hard it must be for you too. Maybe Ronnie and Sally have met in the afterlife. Sally and I have always had cats. I have 2 cats now. They are such a comfort in a house where Sally used to live with me. The approaching holidays make me sad. All of my family live out of state and are unable to visit. When Sally passed, I kept praying that only good can come from this for our family. I am grateful for all that we shared! Sally and I took Reiki 1 & 2 together. I am sending you Reiki, love, and prayers.

    • I’m so sorry about your sister, Judy, and thank you for the Reiki and the love and prayers. The first year is the hardest, and I know the holidays will be difficult for you. Much love to you.

      • Ingrid, thank you for this sweet reply. I am praying for the most benevolent outcome in all you and I are doing after such difficult experiences for both of us. Much love to you.

  5. Ronnie looks like she would be a wonderful friend, and it’s wonderful that she touched your life..How lucky all the cats were who met her too! Count your blessings for having known her, and thank you this lovely tribute and reminder..

  6. Ingrid,

    Sorry for your loss. Ronnie is in a place where she can do some good for her beloved felines left behind. And all felines.

    The written tribute to Ronnie was beautiful. Your advice for each of us was good.

  7. I am sorry for the loss of your good friend.
    Just made me Think about the fact that my friend (she lives in Utah) and I talekd about celebrating our 40th birthdays together in Maui…this is soon 12 yrs ago. My friends’s sister still lives in Hawaii, so I am taking small steps/plans on actually making this happen!!

  8. Ingrid thank you for this beautiful post. I have now signed up for my reiki 3 with Kathleen Praad in California, I will be travelling from England, so an adventure! Xx

  9. It’s so sad that she passed away! I’m sorry for your loss. But it’s beautiful that she never had to have any regrets, she wasn’t afraid to live her life as she felt she needed to and that’s so valuable.

  10. I’m so sorry about Ronnie… but loved seeing how happy she was! I hope that is how you always remember her.

    P.S. The cat in the photo looks like a blue Somali!

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