Friday, May 20, 2011

Flashback Friday: Shamrock Elizabeth

Today's Flashback Friday isn't one I want to write. I wish more than anything that I'd never had to write this, but I also think it's important. After all, if anyone deserves to be remembered in this blog, she does.

On March, 17, 1994 my sweetheart, my dear friend, my first "baby" was born. Shamrock Elizabeth was the most beautiful kitten you've ever hoped to see, and she was my best friend for years. As odd as it must sound to someone who had never experienced a bond like that with an animal, she was just a part of me. I was 10 when I got her, and she was there for most of the major moments in my growing up years.

Shamrock was there before my little sister was born. She was there through middle school and high school and all the horrible awkward moments those milestones hold. Boyfriends, best-friends, fights with both. Times I felt I had no one, even my parents, I had this amazing little cat who always seemed to know me. Better than that, she always knew just what I needed from her. If I needed her to snuggle up to me with purrs and kisses that's what I go. If I just needed her there, she was that too. When I was sick I always knew that my darling little girl wasn't far away. The same when I was sad. All the happy times in my life have shamrock memories as well, because she quickly became a part of the lives of everyone in my family. She was just that kind of cat.


She was born a runt. When she went to the vet to be fixed the simple surgery turned into something much more when they discovered fluid around some of her reproductive organs. They ended up taking out everything that was "bad", but warning me that she had a common condition for runts and that fluid could easily start to build up around other, more important organs in my little Princess. It scared me that I could lose her, but apparently Shamrock never got the memo. Always small and delicate, she was also a fighter who had small bouts with illness in her life, but never let them stop her from being what she was.


She had never liked any of my boyfriends. Shamrock could be standoffish like no other cat I've ever met, and she adopted that persona with every single boy she ever met...until she met my Michael. He hadn't been in the house 10 minutes before my picky kitty was in his lap purring up a storm in apparent approval. People have often jokes that if Shamrock hadn't approved we wouldn't have been permitted to marry...but Michael and I are both very aware that it isn't as much of a joke as most people think. lol! After all, no one ever owns a cat, they own you, and no cat fit that description as well as my Shammy. She adopted Michael as surely as she had me, and we were both completely hers.

I don't think Michael would have had it any other way. I know I wouldn't have.

Shamrock Elizabeth on her 10th birthday in March 2004.

As she had been there for all the major milestones in my childhood, she continued to be there for the same as I became an adult. She was a presence in my life when I got married, as Michael and I made our first home together...She was my calming center when the military moved us across the country and away from everything and everyone I had ever known. Every night in the hotels as we made our way further and further from everything we all knew, Shamrock would curl up as content as though we were in our own home. Both Michael and I figured if she wasn't scared or upset, why should we be. Her attitude seemed to say that as long as we were all together, we'd be fine.

She was right of course. She always was.

When I became a mother, Shamrock was there for that too. Old as she was at the time (Shamrock had turned 15 the month before Parker was born) she was up with me during late night feedings. She alerted me when he would cry, and I lost count of the number of times I would walk in to find her laying near his pack and play as he slept. Never in it, she knew better, but always close by. As she always had been.

I had convinced myself she always would be. 

She made the trip back to Ohio with me once more during this deployment. Though she had suffered from an apparent stroke back in September, she was doing well now. Right back to her old self, and I was sure that Shamrock would be there at the door to greet me when I brought home our next child in August. After all, she treated my babies as if they were hers too. I was sure we would all make the trip back to Idaho together in the Fall and be together as a family to greet Michael when he returned home. Shamrock, however, was tired. I know that. I had known it for awhile. If she had to leave us, Ohio was as good a place as any. After all, it was home.

On May, 2, 2011 Shamrock Elizabeth passed away at the age of 17 years 1 month 2 weeks and 1 day old. I am still in shock. For someone who was so a part of your life for years and years to just not be there's not easy to describe, and like I said, someone who had never had a pet and loved a pet like that would never get it. I wouldn't have before Shamrock. 

Goodbye my girl! I will love you forever, and know you'll be waiting for me, wherever I end up. :0) (For I am one of those people who believe that our animals do get rewarded, just as we do...I think God loves all His creatures. And if ever a kitty deserved the afterlife, it's you Princess!)

Shamrock, a week shy of her 15th birthday in March 2009. 

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