Commentary on Christmas, Costa Rica, and the Death of a Beloved Cat

To begin with, I make no apologies for loving the holiday season.
I embrace the full concept of decorating our home inside and out and that includes a large Christmas village that I magically feel comes alive every year.

I also enjoy Christmas shopping and that is admittedly helped with a job that allows me to bolt to various stores in the afternoon to avoid the evening rush. However, I must admit that my annual attempts to reward friends with movie CDs that I know they will like has been all but destroyed by the reality that they can hunt down most of these films on television without being forced to deal with my all-but meaningless presents. I’ve tried my best to adjust, but it has proven to be extraordinarily difficult.

However this season was rewarded with an 8-day trip to Costa Rica where Monica and I took our son (Chris), daughter-in-law (Tonia), and our two grandchildren on a memorable excursion that we will never forget. We stayed on the west coast of the country just north of Manuel Antonio, a large national park, and it was a trip filled with languishing around a pool looking out from the mountains over a beautiful bay to a Catamaran Trip where we snorkeled, zip-lining through the trees followed by an all-day trip in the national park where we hiked to three magnificent waterfalls. On top of that, our guide led us to ledges where you could leap 15 feet into a lagoon below the falls in addition to sliding down one of the waterfalls to a large drop into the pool below. My grandkids did all of that and I felt that a 72-year-old grandfather had to follow them. On the upside, I lived!

However, our trip was tragically marred when we received a phone call from Indy concerning Lola, our pet cat. She was found by our housekeeper dead in the bed where she slept. She was an aging beautiful Persian cat and Mo found her one winter over 15 years ago lying on a warm vent outside of her office in the middle of winter. We made her one of our own and she became a member of the family.

Let me say that she learned long ago how to exist with our multiple rescue dogs, and that includes the five that presently live in our home. On top of that, she always joined me in the bathroom off of her bedroom that I called “Lola’s Poopatorium”. I always brought a cup of coffee and a laptop with me, and she joined me every morning where I could rub her neck, back, and belly. She loved that, and the last time I did it was early in the morning on December 28, the day we left for Costa Rica. Though we learned that she died in a call two days later, I looked into the sun as it set and could see her standing there, looking at me and saying, “Thanks, old man, for the wonderful years that I was able to spend with you and Mo.”

While I cried when I learned of her death, I take profound comfort in the joy that she must have found as a member of our house. From a Christmas standpoint, I have a bunch of stuffed animals that I place on our stairway where a string of lights are wrapped around the rail. We have pictures of Lola where she regularly came down and sat next to one of the largest stuffed bears as if it was her personal friend. It was emotionally difficult putting that bear and the other animals away to end the holiday season, but I shall always consider it a tribute to our beloved Lola.