Saturday, June 22, 2013

Our Sweet Boy, Blackie.

Our Sweet Boy, Blackie, went to be with the Lord on Thursday, June 20, 2013, at approximately 12:15pm.

Words cannot even begin to describe how much I already miss the little pit-pat of his paws around the house.

Blackie was born on a very, very windy afternoon on April 17, 1997  in Buford on our front porch. His mother, Mince (I heard my mother talk about mincing garlic, therefore, I named her Mince), was a stray who took residence on our porch when she was pregnant with Blackie, Timmy, and their two other siblings, Pumpkin and Wendy. Blackie was the third one born with Timmy (his twin) following immediately behind him.

Blackie was certainly the smartest one of the litter. He was the first one out of the box in the basement and the first one to walk steadily for the longest period of time. I can clearly remember putting him back in the box with his siblings in the evenings after he went exploring for awhile.

When the kittens were old enough to be adopted out, we had every single one adopted, however, Blackie's adoption fell through. We wouldn't have had it any other way. We had decided to keep his twin, Timmy, because he was timid, but hysterical. Blackie always balanced him out by being respectful to our old cat, Ms. Rabbit (she had bunny ears, not even kidding), and always was the butler of the family.

As a kid, I can remember coming home and playing downstairs in the basement with Timmy and Blackie. Since I am an only child, the bond with my animals has always been insanely strong. Needless to say, I have participated in spoiling our animals completely rotten throughout the years.

Ms. Rabbit passed away on May 4, 2003 when she was 16. 5 years old and is deeply missed. About a year after we moved up to Rabun County, Ga, Timmy went missing and never returned back to us. We already had Taylor (who was primarily my cat), but he went missing on the night of my junior prom in high school and never returned. We believe coyotes are to blame for both, and miss them very much as well. So, Blackie became the alpha cat of the house.

Blackie and I became really, really close during high school and college after I lost Taylor in 2007. He and I were close beforehand, but not to that degree. Coming home on the weekends meant me getting help on my homework, belly rubbing time, and snuggle time with Blackie. Words cannot describe the unconditional love that Blackie had for Dad, Mom, and I. He always knew when I was sad or sick, and always knew a way to comfort me, no matter what.

Then came Bobbie Lou Butterbean Fartina (don't ask). Bobbie's tail was either bitten off or cut off when she was little, and she was likely abandoned and/or abused. One cold December night during finals, I noticed this little black and white cat looking into the dormitory door, soaking wet with ice forming on her fur. Needless to say (sorry past RA's...), I brought her in, took her to the vet the next day, and brought her home. Blackie didn't necessary LOVE the new addition, but he tolerated her in his gentlemanly way. And it didn't change our relationship at all.

When Dad was going back and forth taking care of my grandparents, I came home more often to be with Mom and to help out with giving Blackie his insulin (he was diagnosed as a diabetic early on in my college career). Snuggle times were more abundant, he slept underneath my covers quite a bit, belly rubbing time was expected often, and I enjoyed taking him out for his romps in the mornings. He even let me kiss him on the head (which I was the only one in the house that was granted this privilege).

Moving to Richmond was difficult, but even harder knowing that I would have to leave him and Bobbie Lou behind, but especially him since I knew his time with us was limited. Every time I came home, I would leave crying hysterically every time because I was afraid I'd never see him again and wouldn't have the chance to say goodbye.

Blackie was a very well traveled cat as well. We would throw him and Bobbie into the car and take them to the beach each year. Traveling first class as a feline with the Nelms family meant pillows for them in the back and cold cuts from Subway on the way down. I'm so thankful that Blackie got to go to the beach with us just a couple of weeks ago. 

As his health has declined since I've been home for a bit, I would take him to do his business, take him to his food and water bowl, and tuck him in underneath my papasan chair. I would sometimes have to wake him up in the night due to his snoring. :)  In the mornings, Daddy would take him out for his morning romp, feed him his tuna and pate, and give him his morning insulin shot. Then it was either nap time for Blackie, rub time, or more pate and tuna time during the day. On a couple of occasions, I would even scramble an egg with tuna and cheese for him for brunch or lunch.

Earlier this week, I had to go to the ER for, apparently, a lack of potassium and anxiety problems (stupid thyroid). Blackie would come in and check on me during the day before I went to the hospital to make sure I was ok, even though I don't remember much of it. That night, when I got home, we had our nightly ritual, and he slept soundly under my papsan chair the entire night.

Blackie's Last Morning Romp (June 20, 2013)

Thursday morning, even after 16+ years, will always have come too soon.  Tuesday and Wednesday night consisted of snuggle time on the couch with Dad and Bobbie included, which I am so thankful for. Thursday morning, Blackie had his tuna and his morning romp, which was something he really enjoyed. On Thursday morning around 11:15am, Dad and I heard something as we were sitting at the kitchen table and rushed to the living room where Blackie lay on the floor. Dad and I knew that it was time, and needless to say, the tears began to flow quite heavily, but Dad and I laid down on the floor with our arms around him as he began to pass. He purred and purred quite a bit, looking up at me and Daddy.  Bobbie, seeing him in discomfort, came up and bonked him gently on the head one last time (this is a sign of affection with her). We had hoped that he would pass with us there with him at home, but as soon as we detected discomfort, we took him to his vet of 10+ years, Dr. Woodward, who helped him pass comfortably with Daddy and I with him the whole time.

Even with Dad, Mom, Bobbie Lou, and I in the house, the house feels so incredibly empty to me. I miss his little meow, his comfort, and his companionship more than anything.

It's amazing to me how a pet can make such a huge difference in your life, including comfort, unconditional love, and constant companionship, especially after 16+ years. There are only 2 years of my life that I can remember not having Blackie in it, making his passing extremely difficult. He was a staple of home for me, and as an only child, even at 23 years old, it's hard to fathom them being gone.

I miss my Sweet Boy more than I can even describe in words. I'm so thankful that I got to hold him when he was first born, but even more thankful that Daddy and I got to hold him when he passed.

Remember to always love your animals, make time for them, and ALWAYS spoil them rotten, because they represent the unconditional love that humans are not always capable of.

I love my Blackie cat always and forever. He is and will be unbelievably missed.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

It's Been a Year

I remember a specific text message to the likes of,  "You are a strong, beautiful, and intelligent woman...don't let someones mistake determine the rest of your life. You will get through this."


I carried that text message as a picture for a long time as support, and when I felt down, I always referred to that picture/text to get me through. His words meant more to me than anything. 


Cadman and I met in my freshman year of college at Piedmont. He was a religion and philosophy major, and I was majoring in vocal performance at the time. He and I have two separate stories of how we first met. He remembers meeting me at my freshman fall Chamber Singers concert when our mutual friend, Jacob, introduced us, and I remember working in the residence halls on a dark, stormy August night when him and Jacob came to keep me company at 11pm. I always thought he was an interesting character, and, apparently, he was always interested in me. 


Last summer, I forgot to grab yogurt from Ingles on the way home from work. It was late, and I knew that I would not be a happy camper in the morning if I did not turn around to go back. There he was in a suit and suspenders in the check out line looking handsome as ever. Words were exchanged, smiles, and a brief hug. 


And then came Jacob's wedding a couple of weeks later. We went to the rehearsal dinner together (I the photographer and he the groomsman), stayed up late, and enjoyed each others company. The rest is history. 


                                                 So, it's been a year.....

                                                              It's been a year

             ...A year of happiness, of strength, endurance, learning, companionship, and love. 

A year of cheering each other on.

     ....because we knew that the other could always do it, no matter what the obstacle. 

A year of endurance.

       ...through sleepless nights of nightmares and illness. 

A year of love that has grown stronger every day.         

    ....especially when working through bumps together.

A year of encouragement.   

    ...and learning how to give each other strength where one of us is weak.

A year of learning.      

   ....about each other, our endearments, our interests, and incorporating them into everyday life.


A year of laughter.

    ...between refrigerator doors, cinnamon rolls, moooostaches, volcano brownies, and walking into walls.

A year of being broke students.

    ...yielding to the best memories that will last a lifetime. 

A year of fun.

   ...between swing dancing, cooking together, dinner parties, double dates, and goofing off.

A year of unyielding companionship.

   ....becoming one.

A year of being ourselves.

   ....and always feeling accepted with each other.

A year of gaining a new family.

  ...for both of us.

                                                 It's been a year unlike any other.

                             To my best friend, fellow legal beagle, Polar Bear...

                                                       Happy One Year! :)

                                                I love you very, very much!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Home for Just a Few Weeks


Northeast Georgia.


Old friends.


 It has been a busy couple of weeks. I finished school at the University of Richmond and am home for a few weeks visiting family and friends before heading back up to Virginia!

 I got to spend some MUCH needed time with my parents. We went to our typical beach house down at Tybee Island for a week post-graduation, and spent the days swimming, walking up and down the beach, shell hunting, and people watching. Here are a few pictures from our stereotypical family beach photo shoot.

My Daddy and I. Between sci-fi talks, Intellectual Property discussions, plans for the future, and running as fast as humanly possible in the hot sand in order to not get our feet burned, we had a wonderful time walking on the beach!

My Mom and I. It is nearly impossible to capture a normal picture of us because we are unbelievably goofy 99.2347928374% of the time.

....and pretty impossible when you put us together reciting the marriage scene from The Princess Bride in perfect unison.

...but we finally got a semi-normal family photo (whatever 'normal' means).


This past week, I traveled to Hartsfield-Jackson to say good-bye to Cadman for a couple of months while he spends the summer as a JAG intern for the U.S. Army in Honolulu, Hawaii (life's rough, isn't it?). Words cannot express how unbelievably proud I am of his accomplishments and his endeavors! I already miss him terribly, but know that he is making a big difference.

Immediately after I said good-bye to Cadman, Dad and I ventured down to south Georgia to see my grandparents. Going to see them is always a joy and a tug at my heart strings, as my grandmother has Alzheimer's. She sometimes remembers me, but usually thinks I am my Dad most of the time. This time, we had the opportunity to play and sing hymnals together until midnight. While she first thought I was my mother and then did not recognize me at all for the rest of the time, we had a wonderful time playing piano and singing just like we used to. Below is a picture of my grandparents who are going on 63 years of marriage and they are still holding hands. 


Ms. Abigail Grace Edwards: 7lbs, 20.5" long!

 On Friday, I traveled to Asheville, NC to meet Rachael and Charlie's first child, Ms. Abigail Grace Edwards! I am so excited and still over the moon that I got to hold her when she was barely 6 hours old. She is the most perfect and the most beautiful baby I have ever seen in my entire life. Congratulations, Rachael and Charlie!

 I got to hold Ms. Abigail Grace for a couple of hours while Rachael and Charlie rested. She is so perfect and precious!!!


Yesterday, I attended the Bridesmaid's Luncheon for my 'big sis,' Lauren Steedley about-to-be Mrs. Lewis Pulliam at the Swan Coach House in Atlanta, Georgia! I had a wonderful time with the other bridesmaids, Lauren, and her family. It had been far too long since I had seen her! I cannot until her wedding, and I am honored to get to stand beside her as she marries a such wonderful man!

It is so good to be home for a few short weeks. I have missed my family, old friends, and the familiarity of my small town that I grew up in. After traveling all over the state to see friends and family, I earned a stay-at-home, rainy, lazy Sunday to catch up on sleep, cook, and paint.  For you fellow traveling readers, here are a few pictures of good ol' Tallulah Falls, which is right outside my back door. There are 7+ waterfalls in the gorge with hiking trails and camping areas all around. Enjoy!


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My backyard after the storm this evening.


Always remember to make time for travels to visit home, family, and old friends. I miss home so much, and I am so glad I have the chance to stay a couple of weeks!