cat in grass

On Another Train, Picking up Speed

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orange and white cat
Russell Sprout as a young man.

I am back in a familiar place that I don’t want. I wrote in January about being on a Runaway Train that’s out of control. Now, I’m back on the train, and it’s picking up speed. We’ve already lost two of our family this year (Nutty and Jackson) and Russell Sprout’s looking like he could be a third.

orange and white catHe was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease in February, and he has been doing well on a special diet and a couple of medications. Then, a few weeks ago, he developed a lump under his jaw on the right side. It morphed from day to day, bigger, smaller, longer, wider. One day, it was almost flat again, but there was a pea-sized lump further down his neck. I’d hoped that it was just a draining lymph node, but I couldn’t ignore it. We finally got him in to see a specialist today. They aspirated the lump and sent it off for analysis. Now we wait, but the doctor seemed to indicate that it was just a question of bad or worse; a good result isn’t expected. It’s just a matter of determining which type of treatment he needs.

orange and white cat
Hiding from the dogs

Russel Sprout is a typical cat, and he doesn’t like medication. I also sense that he is at peace with dying, but he’ll stay as long as he can. I recognize that my resistance is what’s causing me pain, but it’s difficult to let go. Russell has lived with me for eleven years, and I’ve come to depend on his solid presence. He seems so young for this.

cat in grassRussell has a special fondness for the backyard, and I get a feeling that he takes credit for the thriving garden. Whenever I go out there, he accompanies me and puffs up with pride and a high, straight tail when I talk about how good the grapes or tomatoes look. He spends a lot of time there, loving on the plants. I can tell that he doesn’t feel as good as he did a few months ago. He comes to me at night, to sleep close to me and seek comfort. He was more indifferent last year. Now, he needs me, and I’ll do my best to be there for him emotionally and physically. But I still feel a heaviness about it, a combination of helplessness and dwindling hope. And as much as I want to be optimistic, I know where the train’s last stop is.

The train is picking up speed for Russell Sprout, and once more, I’m there for the duration.


  1. I have big tears in my eyes. I’m so sorry. I hope that you and Russell have special time while you can together. Big healing hugs to you. I know how hard this part of life’s journey is. I understand xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems like this is a year of letting go for me. 😣 Russell Sprout is pretty stoic about it, but he is more clingy, making it easier to comfort each other.


  2. Ohhhh….I so get the runaway train analogy. The other day I just burst out with “I feel so LOST!” There is no real way to describe that feeling though….like life is both standing still and barreling on ahead without you. Prayers for you and your multi-species family!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, standing still and barreling ahead without me. That is a good way to describe it. I’m sorry that I’m not the only one with this feeling right now. Sending peaceful, comforting thoughts to you and YOUR multi-species family.


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