IMAG0137This week my cat Bradley passed away.  He was 12 years old. He had liver disease and his illness slowly took its toll on his body. It was difficult to watch. I literally tried everything to heal him. From conventional medicine and pharmaceuticals, to acupuncture, to Chinese medicine. Unfortunately, none of it cured his disease, but at least all of his treatments kept him pain free. By the end, I had to make the difficult decision to have him put to sleep. My heart is broken over this loss, since no matter what people had come in and out of my life in the past 12 years, through my past health issues, my divorce, and picking up all the pieces of my life to finally live it fully, this wonderfully silly cat I called Bradley was always there.  It was love at first site for us both.  I don’t even think I have ever loved another person this much, much less another animal, crazy as that may sound. He was my loyal companion, giving me love and joy even when my world was upside-down.

Bradley himself had no idea he was sick until the last month he was alive. This prolonged his life, I believe, and I treated him like he was healthy. He was an indoor cat his entire life since I always lived in urban environments, but since I recently moved to the suburbs, I started taking him for walks in a harness and leash. He loved it! We traipsed through the woods, winding our way through the trees. Birds, chipmunks, squirrels beware! Bad Brad was on the move! It was a great time for him, even though our adventures were cut short as he became too weak to walk around very much. I carried him outside then and let him sit on my lap on the porch. He was still very alert and aware and loved looking out at this wild new world, wanting so much to be a part of it. And at least he was for a short time.

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I am not writing this post to depress anyone, though if you have experienced the death of a pet before, you know how deeply sad it really is. No, I am writing today to reflect on the fact that even though death is inevitable, the life we have to live until that moment should be lived fully and just as we desire. The greatest gift we can give ourselves is to love deeply, conquer our fears, and be free like we were meant to. We deserve to allow ourselves the freedom to be ourselves and to love ourselves so we can put away our negative thoughts, heal our own pain, and use our strengths to live as we always wanted to – and to give love to those who are weaker than us, who need to be lifted up.  I gave Bradley love and joy when his world was upside-down too. He knew it. And he was happy until the minute he died.  How awesome is that?!

“Grieve not, nor

speak of me

with tears,

but laugh and

talk of me

as if I were

beside you.

I loved you so…

Twas Heaven

here with you.”

–Jsla Paschal Richardson

What will you start doing today to live the life you desire?  If you step out of your comfort zone, what wild new world will await you? You won’t know until you try…

Rest in peace, my good boy.

Eat Real Food. Be Free. Live Wild!

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