About a week ago, I cleared out my email inbox and sent a couple of emails to friends I hadn't heard from in a while. Included in that bunch was an email to an animal rescue friend, Kay, in Pennsylvania. We haven't spoken since before I found out I was pregnant, well over a year ago now. Kay doesn't know anything about Alex (I don't know if she even knew I was pregnant). I wonder if I should tell her now.
I'm not sure how old Kay is because she's had a tough life and it shows in the lines on her face and the grey in her hair. She's not what you would call a soft and cuddly person (some would say the same about me). She does things her own way and didn't give a hoot what other people thought of her. So it seemed natural that Kay and I took to each other like old crows who gather together (usually around some roadkill somewhere) and squawk about this and that.
Today I received this return email:
This is Kay's husband. The wife is in final stages of cancer. No more transports except her move to heaven. please remove her from all transport and rescue lists. Thanks, Jim
I knew in my head that she would eventually get sick and die. She smoked too much and was suffering from emphysema when I met her. But she seemed so strong and straightforward that I never guessed it would be so soon.
I remember one particular transport last summer where I mixed up the directions terribly and we sat at the wrong exit on the highway for a good hour with a pup that Kay was supposed to pick up for the next leg. She didn't make me feel stupid, just rolled her eyes and said, "Get it right next time." I SO have this urge to drive over to her house and tell her the same thing right now.
I hope that Kay finds peace wherever she goes. I know she has helped more souls on this planet than will ever be recognized by anyone outside our animal rescue community. There are literally hundreds of dogs and cats who owe their lives to Kay and her crusty old heart. And there are a few of us humans, battered and beaten by life's circumstances, who love her for her friendship and caring. I hope her family finds some measure of peace in knowing that the work Kay did here on this earth was good and pure and loving. I know I speak for Steve and myself when I say that we will miss her.