Coming Full Circle

Chapter 21, In Which Ripley Gets Kittens
September 1, 1998

Today is the first anniversary of Gene's death. Of course, the incredible pain has faded but the sense of missing him is still acute. I think he would like the household these days. He and Austin are looking down from Rainbow Bridge right now, laughing that Mom the "cat hater" is bringing even more cats in to the house. But I still want a dog, too!

Ripley has done pretty well. She has never gotten good regulation of her diabetes and recently had another non-emergent (just urgent) hypoglycemic episode. Overall, she seems to be in good health except for the mysterious loss of most of her teeth. That and being a bit chunky, but hey, us older girls are entitiled! She is still beautiful and has the most wonderful fur. She isn't so pleased with the household additions, though.

We got new kittens in July! One of the cats of some friends got pregnant before she was due to be neutered. There were 3 little kittens in the litter, but one died quickly. The remaining two, brother and sister tabbies, enjoyed a comfy six weeks outside in the country. Alas, no permanent home was located. Our friends were getting ready to go on vacation and wisely had us over for dinner before taking the kitties to the pound. My niece, Amy, and I fell in love with the little guys and we pretended to convince Paul we should give them a home. We only had to pretend because I knew Paul, no matter how reluctant he seemed, would never let these cats go to the pound.

So now we have the terrible twosome, Buckley and Beckley. Buckley is a huge, handsome, smart, and loving guy. Beckley is a midget, ratty-looking, independent, and afraid of nothing. They are both wonderful! They adore their big sister, Ripley, who thinks they are the biggest pests in the world. As long as we always pet Ripley first and tell her she is the Queen, she tolerates the little nuisances, but she rules with an iron paw. I do think it is interesting that her insulin needs have DECREASED since Beck & Buck joined the household. Ripley was definitely lonely. Now she has a purpose in life...


December 17, 1998

Miss Ripley is definitely Queen of our hearts. Buck and Beck are sweet but very rambunctious, and we are definitely too old for kittens. Ripley is calm and regal. We love her so much. She plays some with the kittens now and definitely plays more on her own. She has even taken to sleeping on Eugene's old pillow next to Paul's head. Both Paul and Ripley are very happy about this. She seems so low maintenance, amazing for a diabetic cat. Of course, we do have to make sure someone is there to give her a shot, but otherwise she is just a wonderful cat.

Hope some of that rubs off on the baby gatos!

Happy Holidays to all from Rebecca, Paul, and Tres Gatos.


January 8, 1999

Miss Ripley is looking MAHVELOUS! We made her lose some weight and she looks terrific, plays a lot, even had a true "bunny tussle" with Buckley this morning. Beckley looked on in amazement as those two tumbled and played together for almost 3 minutes. Of course, Ripley didn't know how to end the play session, so she stopped, looked at Buck for a few seconds then applied the ole "head dribble" paw swats to his head, causing him to run for his life.

Austin has been gone almost a year and I still dream of him several times a week, still think of him everyday, and still get teary-eyed. How can a little cat mean so much to a human?


January 10, 1999


Miss Ripley has been with us for ONE YEAR!!! We celebrated with low fat turkey slices. She refused to wear her party hat, insisting she would only wear a crown. Even my tiara wouldn't do. The Queen of Linden St. rules! We love her so much.


January 24, 1999

Just dawned on me this morning after getting a nice email from Pieter (some of you will know him because of his diabetic cat, Wanja) that all the dreams about Austin are probably an anniversary reaction. Austin has been at Rainbow Bridge for almost a year. Hope he isn't calling me to join him just yet!

Work has been a bit stressful, the kittens are getting more adorable every day but no less rambunctious, and Ripley is such a terrific but complex cat. It does disturb me to dream so much of Austin. I do need some good cat hugs. The gatos are learning; little Beck will sit in my lap often (probably thinking I will feed her!) and Buck snuggles to my legs every night. Ripley will even come back to bed many mornings after Paul leaves, curl up on the pillow next to me, and press her back against me. I wonder if I have enough love to give them all.

No matter how much I miss Austin, I am so glad we still have cats in our lives. Austin was the cat who taught me that life is incomplete without a feline companion. Maybe he is just trying to remind me of that!

February 2, 1999

The dreams took an interesting turn last night!

I am fuzzy on the details, but first I was dreaming about Eugene. Eugene brought a tiny nearly dead kitten, also a piebald, into the house and laid it on the bed, and I began to try to revive it. Eugene knocked the kitten to the floor, I turned around and there was no Eugene, no kitten, but Miss Ripley! And it seemed very natural.

Next, I let Austin out of the back door and told him not to stay gone too long. When I went back to let him inside, there sat Buck and Beck, but no Austin. I brought them in and said, So this is what Austin left me...

In September, I named this episode of the diary "Coming Full Circle." Maybe we really have finally come full circle. I am sure the boys are sitting up at Rainbow Bridge laughing at me!

February 22, 1999

I got home late last night after a few days out of town and found a package from Molly, designer of our logo. The Feline Diabetes t-shirts I ordered had come in the mail. I sat there, looking at Austin's handsome face, thinking that this was the first anniversary of his death.

This morning Los Gatos and Miss Ripley were especially sweet and affectionate. Maybe they sensed it was Austin's anniversary. Their good behavior went a long way toward easing some of my sorrow.

And then this afternoon, I got the following email:
"To all our Feline Friends: The sugarcat humor board has posted a TRIBUTE page to AUSTIN, one of the co-founders of the Feline Diabetes Board (with EUGENE and REBECCA.) In honor of the anniversary of his death today, we pause for a moment and thank Rebecca, Eugene, and Austin for making it possible to share our experiences and knowledge towards a better understanding in the fight against FELINE DIABETES. Austin and Eugene, and all the other sugarcats who have joined you, may you rest in peace. Thank you Michael, for making the tribute possible. You are a real gem! Thank you Rebecca, for making our lives, and our kitties' lives, more meaningful and for linking us all together. We have made some GREAT friends through the FDMB! Pam and DJ, and all the other Sugarcat Humor Board Members the link is at: "

What wonderful, wonderful friends are the people and cats on the Feline Diabetes site!

Gene at the Rainbow

September 1, 1999

The last week I have been having terrible dreams about Austin & Eugene being in danger. For example, in New Orleans this last week, I spent one especially horrible night having the same dream again and again about danger to our boys. I would wake up in a panic then calm myself by saying that everything was okay, that Austin & Gene were dead and were safe and happy forever. Then the dream again. Last night I couldn't sleep for missing the boys so badly. Buckley was sleeping curled against his dad's knees, so I scooted down in bed so Buck could sleep with his head in my hand. Finally I fell asleep, but still had the dreams about our boys.

Today I was emailing my brother Patrick about these dreams when DUH! I logged onto the Piebald home page and sure enough, today is the second anniversary of Eugene's death. Now I feel even sicker. Gene's Memorial

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