The outpouring of love and admiration so many of you have posted warms my heart. I am, as expected, gutted. Each day gets a little harder as the shock wears off. While I have a good deal of peace, it still does not dull the ache. However, the fact that Timmy came into my life for six years and blessed me and everyone who knew him, inspires me. I’m not sure what a world without Timmy will look like for me, but I am sure we can honor him as he always honored us.
On December 4, 2016 Timmy was diagnosed with a very rare & aggressive case of LGL lymphoma. There’s another note explaining the ins and outs of his diagnosis & treatment if you are interested. His prognosis was 17 days to live, with or without treatment. Timmy thrived with ups and downs for 67 days, but in the end the disease attacked the left side of his neurological system, traveling from his foot all the way to his face. The results of this was a very fast decline. It seemed especially cruel that it affected his hard won mobility as relentlessly as it did. He was always so proud of the places he could go despite being told it was impossible. It was his time.
On February 9th some very beautiful and extraordinary things happened as I spent the day with Timmy in preparation for his final appointment. It was a clear, blue sky day and relatively warm for the Pacific Northwest in early February. I bundled Timmy up in a blanket and took him to sit on our porch so he could watch the Chesters (squirrels) play. There were no squirrels, but a blue jay came and landed about 3 feet from us. In Native American Mythology, Blue Jay is a trickster god who clowns around a lot and has many adventures. Often because of his antics he gets himself into a heap of trouble. This seems fitting for Timmy. The Chinook Indians, native to the Pacific Northwest, have a lovely story here of the god Blue Jay searching for his lost sister and finding her in Ghost Town.
You might remember that a few years ago Timmy had a blue jay play friend who would eat peanuts from between his paws. You can see a video here. After the catio was built, the same jay would sit on the railing outside the catio and hang out with Timmy. They had created their own language of greetings and would “talk” to each other with movement and sound. I don’t know if this jay was the same one, but it’s rare to see jays here this time of year. After the blue jay landed, Timmy lifted his head and did his “Doode” head wobble. The jay greeted him with a head wobble of his own. Then Timmy sighed and lowered his head to rest on my arm, facing the jay. The jay, in response, leaned his head forward too, as if in a bow. These two unlikely friends looked at each other for a long time and then the jay flew off.
Later in the day clouds covered the sun and it became cooler. I bundled up Timmy again and took him to sit outside. This time the Chesters (squirrels) came out and Timmy was watching them, but didn’t lift his head. One came up to Timmy and stood on his hind legs looking at him for many moments before dashing off.
Then something truly extraordinary happened. From all directions a large group of crows gathered, flying in with their usual loud cacophony. There were about 25 in total. They all sat in the same large maple tree, within Timmy’s eye line, and were completely silent. They sat like that, all facing Timmy without a sound for many minutes. A neighborhood cat walked right under the tree and not one crow squawked an alert. In 17 years living here I have never seen this – not the amount of crows, the silence or sitting the same tree facing the exact same direction. Then, as swiftly as they arrived, they all flew off together.
Both jays and crows are from the same family of birds and they are wicked intelligent. Some crows have even been documented creating and using tools which is a marker for intelligent thought and problem solving. Thanks to more recent European beliefs (and Poe’s poem The Raven) crows became harbingers of bad things. However, the crow has for millennia been viewed as everything from the Supreme God, a bringer of the sun to earth, the creator of light and as a messenger of a wide assortment of gods. To me it has special significance. In Scandic Mythology, the God Odin had two crows named Huginn (Wisdom/Thought/Mind) and Munnin (Memory). Each day Thought and Memory would fly out over the worlds and report back to Odin the goings on in the Universe. In the Poetic Edda Odin is quoted as saying “I fear for Huginn (Wisdom), that he may never come back, but I fear more for Munnin (Memory).” This quote meant a great deal to me when I suffered a head injury and memory loss in the 1990’s. After all, you can only be wise if you can remember what you learned. In many ways our memory is who we are and how we experience our place in the world. This crow gathering is a reminder to me to always hold Timmy in memory.
Celtic Mythology says the goddess Morrigan often appears as a crow and many times is accompanied by a group of crows. For those who don’t know, recently a very special and dear friend passed 8 days after her amazing husband. Her name was Morrigan Benton-Floyd and she met Timmy in person. We shared a very special bond and I would like to think she was watching over him and sent the crows because she knows I am a literary geek and would “get the message”. The goddess Morrigan was similar to the Scandic Valkyrie. She determined which warrior would walk off the field of battle or be carried off on top of his shield. Morrigan came to carry Timmy off the field of battle on his shield that day.
To honor Timmy several of you have gone above and beyond:
Too many people to mention (and I still have not gotten through responding to the thousands of posts and comments although I have read them all) have shared stories about Timmy and the impression he made on their lives.
Leslie A Palleria named a star in the constellation of Leo after him. You will be able to see him in the sky most clearly in July through September, the month he was rescued.
Carol Colgate is having a redwood tree planted in the redwood forest of the Santa Cruz Mountains in his honor. This is significant because I grew up very near there.
Maggi Shelbourn and her husband, Hugh, are planting a tree in their yard and marking it with a special Timmy Stone so that any occupant that follows when they eventually move will know the tree is special.
Rebecca Slattery-Kavanagh is sponsoring a T.O.Y Army logo tattoo for me in Timmy’s honor, but also in honor of all our fallen ones. I am thinking of adding a stylistic Victorian 2, 9 and VI. For those who aren’t aware, T.O.Y. stands for Timmy, Oliver & You. The logos were created by the very talented Anthony Smith who does the Learn to Speak Cat cartoons. Please share his work. It’s amazing.
Becky Boo N Mumma (aka Carly) is doing something very extraordinary to honor Timmy – Artistically adding coloring to a special piece I made for him. I’ll release more info as the time draws closer in a Big Reveal.
Heather Gonzales is walking the Bark for Life walk with her dogs for cancer awareness in Timmy’s honor. She still needs sponsorship to reach her goal by the way. If you want to help her, the minimum donation amount is $5, the walk is in April and the link is here.
Deborah Darsie kindly brought her swanky camera when she visited Timmy so that he and I could capture some beautiful final photos.
Jeff Green purchased a beautiful rainbow colored rose in memory of his wonderful bunny Crunchie, who recently passed, as well as Timmy and Topsy.
Shirley Catlover AmRhein sprinkled Forget Me Not seeds in her backyard in a significant place to her.
Georgie Laidler-Brown has been doing some wonderful Rainbow Bridge photos and a gorgeous Tribute Video for Timmy. You can see it here.
Maria Ware Appleby created fantastic cover photos for Timmy’s journey that truly capture his essence – Timmy on his trike making the crossing.
And so many more people have chosen to honor Timmy in ways special to them and continue to astound me. If your special way of honoring him is not on this list it’s merely because the note was written before but each and every one is incredibly special to me.
At 6 pm PST on February 16th, marking one week since Timmy’s passing, over 100 of you lit virtual or real candles to honor Timmy. Your energy is incredible.
Many of you have shared your Timmy stories and memories and are carrying on with his last request of naming the next fur person, reptile or fish, male or female, after him. Still more of you have honored Timmy by choosing one of his photos for your profile or cover picture. Also NOMasDay Everyday was his wish too. Tom Hoffman has been honoring this wish by writing NOMasDay into the snow fall as he travels to where ever he is going. Many have ordered Timmy Stones to place in his honor. Deborah Darsie, Shelly Lyon, Michelle Micklewright Canzano & Elise Murphy traveled to Portland to spend some time with Timmy when they learned he was sick.
My wonderful friend, Dana, had been keeping an urn with bright flowers in his car since he learned of Timmy’s illness. This urn previously housed his beloved dog, Squire, whose ashes were combined with his late wife’s when she passed. He happened to be here the day of Timmy’s last appointment and kindly drove me when I was unable to drive myself as well as gave me this special resting place.