On my 19th birthday I was a freshman in college. My first Birthday away from home I drove up to Port Austin Michigan where my nearest realtives lived (Aunt Julie and family) with my room-mate and best friend, Meg for a home-cooked dinner. We took the 1.5 hour drive as an opportunity to enjoy the scenery and made a mini-road trip of it. We passed by a "yard sale" and little junk collectors as we were... we just HAD to stop!
As we were looking around, rummaging through someone else's junk, a blond lady (Probably in her late 20's early 30's) came to the door. She told us "every thing is for sale, even come inside, it all has to go" It led me to believe things were not going well in this woman's life. She had to sell all of her things and leave... maybe being evicted?? Anyways, just as she was telling us that, 2 kittens came at her feet and were just circling her feet. I couldn't help but ask "are the kittens for sale too??"
She replied "No, no, please. Take them we will give you food, whatever you need we have to leave and they cannot come with us".
I was in love. One problem though: I had a roommate that did not like cats... not really at all. I begged, she laughed... we also lived in college dorms where cats are not technically allowed... but there were aonly a handful of weeks til school let out for the year. We were planning on moving into a rent-house off campus.
So we continued on our journey had a nice dinner... on the way back passing the yard-sale again... Meg gave in to my pathetic begging. We stopped back and they were so suprised and happy to see us, this time there were 2 little blond girls (Probably about 3 and 5) loving on the kittens. They were crying and holding them not wanting to let go, at the same time thanking us for taking them to give them a good home. They told us their names were "Katie and Molly" ... well obviously the names had to be changed... but sweet.
So on we went, we stopped at a walmart for a litter pan and litter. When we arrived back at school we snuck them into the building (which wasn't very hard to do).
Those first several weeks they just slept on my head and went with me everywhere I went. Into the back pack and off visiting!
School let out... and we had a helluva summer. Our rental "lease" idea fell-through. Meg and I went our seperate ways crashing with different friends (looking for residnecy going to class and working) our stuff all stored in the garage of a house in the woods. A storm one night uprooted a 100yr old monster tree crashing through the roof of that garage... ugh... everything I owned, clothes etc had to be fished out removed from the garage and cleaned up... but where to take it??
Anyways... me and the Girls "Iris and Lily" had to move on.. another friend let us crash for a couple weeks, thanks Yang :) And finally Melanie had a friend moving out of a one-bedroom on the other side of town. I decided to take it! Me and the girls moved in and loved it there! We planted Roses with the nieghbor ("Chick" Boggin from Tennessee a 75 yr old Shriner with a heck of a life-story) in the back cooked and did art projects all night long sometimes, cooked dinner for guests and danced while no one was watching... everyday!
Lily loved to hang out on top of the kitchen cabinets, Iris by the window. I had to be careful bringing in my groceries... if I brought the bread in first and went out for more I'd come back to kitty bites through the bread bag. Every night we locked ourselves into the bedroom... because that's somehow safer.. and we all snuggled up on my twin bed with a foulrescent rainbow striped quilt.
After that year, It was time to move back home. My dad said the girls couldn't come with and said I had to find another home for them. I called my cousin Brian and my Aunt Joyce asking them to say no to what I was about to ask them, but I had to make the call because I told my dad I would. Awe shucks, they said no. So they "Had to stay in my room" haha... I was home for less than a week and caught my DAD going in to visit with them! Guess that means they got approval :) They got free reign of the house with Misty and Spice. Everyone pretty much got along... Iris and Lily brought a lot of love and laughs. Although I had a brief 5 month stint living in Wrigleyville (Probably home half the time anyways 'cause I worked in the suburbs painting on my days off) when I first started with United, the girls stayed at my folks 'til I married Mike.
When they first met him... they must've known he'd be around for a while. We were at my folks watching a movie... Iris hopped right up on his lap... Lily sitting on the back of the couch by our heads... something they have NEVER done before with someone they just met! I got mono while we were dating, in bed for 6 weeks straight! My mom joked about my nurses... they were clearly taking shifts... one would leave, the other would come.. never leaving me alone. Day after day, week after week.
They came to South Elgin with us the day we got home form our honeymoon... we HAD to go get the girls! During our stay there... We thought we were going to lose Lily she was only about 5-6 yrs old she got a horrible stomach problem... several visits to the vet, we nursed her back and were so thankful.
We moved to Palos Heights shortly after that. They loved it there... it took a little getting used to but everyone picked their favorite spots. We put a cat door in and left the back door open all day... they had free reign of a "huge" yard and hardly left the patio. I would come home and the neighbor lady would tell me that she chatted with "the Girls" while I was away working all day... Cute :) During our time there we learned of my dad's illness... during the short time we had with him after that, I would go home and cry my eyes out every night... the girls taking their turns coming in to comfort me, I soaked their fur with tears. They knew.
Then on to Oklahoma! When we first moved in we would find Lily in the Laundry Room cabinets... then one day we found her in the kitchen.... in a brownie pan! Yes, I washed it before I made brownies again.
Last fall Lil's stomach issue came back. At first they said she had a tumor the size of a human fist in the intestines. A couple weeks of antibiotics and it was the size of a golfball. A couple more weeks of antibiotics and it was gone! It was a miracle, unexplained, but we were so glad and thankful. Again in April, she was getting sick again, losing weight... they took and image and it was back, and a different shape leading us (the doc) to believe it to be cancer. I was just heart broken, Mike too... they had a special bond. Thick as theives.
We went ahead with surgery. She opened her up, got what she could and closed her up as quick as possible... the cancer was everywhere, the intestines scarred together :( Things not looking good for Lil, we brought her home and spoiled her for 6 weeks. I prayed that God let me know exactly when was her time so I could take her in before she suffered for any length of time. Last friday I woke to hear her sick, rushed out of bed to check her out... maybe she just ate some grass. I let her outside and she was sick, falling over, I picked her up and ran in with her, cleaned her up and tried to give her medicine... she couldn't keep anything down. I was panicking but knew it was time. God answered my prayer. Thursday she was rolling around in the sun, Friday it was time.
Mike cam home from work early, we loved on her 'til it was time to go. We brought her in and said good bye. It was really really heard. I knew 13 years ago these girls would break my heart. Lily did. But she was a gift. A gift that brought me joy and I cherished for 13 1/2 years.
At bed time and in the morning Iris cals for her. I woke monday morning at 6:07 to her calling for her sis, again at 6:07 on tuesday. Today she was with me. She spends every moment I am home within a couple feet of me. She's my girl, we been mourning our loss together. All 3 of us miss the heck out of Lil, she was "always under our feet" as Mike accurately put it.
Some folks don't take too much to animals some get attached. What I do know is that they are a gift. Iris and Lily were a gift just for Me, and 3 years later for Mike too and God knew Mike was going to come along :) . They have been a constant source of joy and unconditional love in our home.
Lily will be greatly missed by all 3 of us and Iris will be loved by the both of us, hopefully for years to come.