Some, like my friend Jen, are in our lives for the long haul (we’re at 34 years and counting!) – others, like her kitty Halley, are shooting stars, physically present only briefly, yet the lessons we learn from them remain. Jen left her teaching job, friends and LA life behind last year and moved home to care for her aging parents. She has never looked back, and handles the stress and challenges with nothing short of grace, patience and humor. I am in awe of her fortitude and attitude; I am in awe of her. She is a voice of reason, a passionate supporter of human rights. She leads by example, stands against injustice, is informed and engaged, generous and considerate, has great taste and never lets me get away with anything. She actively engages life, glass blowing, visiting friends, going to concerts and our high school reunion, taking care of herself physically and emotionally. I love you, man.
Halley, short for Hallelujah, was living “on the streets,” having been fed by a neighbor once her elderly owner moved to assisted living, when Jen befriended and adopted her in August. She pieced together Halley’s story, took her to the vet and into her heart. A few weeks ago I got a text from Jen asking me to come take photos – that Halley’s cheek was swollen, the vet did bloodwork in preparation for a dental procedure and found that she had only a month to live. As devasted as she is by the diagnosis, Jen set about to make this the best month of Halley’s life: special lickable food for “critical care” kitties, lots of petting, a rhinestone collar, a soft bed, and a photoshoot so we’ll always have a tiny piece of this sweet girl with us. Halley is resiliently pushing the envelope, not showing any signs of weakening and, in fact, proudly brought home a bird the other day (ewwwwww).
Jen and Halley, Halley and Jen ~ Hallelujah, Amen.