“She Adopts Babies Who Are Left to Die Alone”

I recently read an article in Reader’s Digest about a woman, Cori Salchert of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, who has adopted two babies who little to no chance of living. Cori was a registered nurse and perinatal bereavement specialist who helped families cope with the loss of a pregnancy or newborn child. When the parents were not emotionally equipped to hold their child, Cori cradle the child in her arms so that they did not have to die alone. About five years ago, Cori was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease that rendered her unable to work. However, she was able to connect with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s treatment foster-care program and foster hospice infants.

The first baby was two weeks old and nameless with no one to care for her. She was born without the right or left hemisphere of her brain and doctors said there was no hope for her. She was in a vegetative state  – unable to see or hear and only responding to painful stimuli. If left with the hospital, she would have died wrapped in a blanket and set aside since she was being sustained by a feeding pump. The hospital contacted Cori and asked if she would take the baby in.

The baby girl was given the name Emmalynn and was gifted with a full life for the 50 days she lived. Cori and her family gave Emmalynn the honor of becoming the youngest of nine children. She was held constantly and taken everywhere the family went.

When the night came that Cori knew Emmalynn was dying, the whole family held and kissed her. Cori’s husband “tucked her close with her little head tucked under his chin and sang to her”. As most of the family “drifted off” to bed, Cori and her daughter, Charity, stayed awake with her.

Emmalynn died snuggled against Cori’s furry warm bathrobe as Cori sang Jesus Loves Me.

Two years later, Cori and her family took in four-month-old Charlie. Typically a child with his type of brain damage dies by age two. His condition is not considered terminal but is “life limiting”. Charlie is on life support and has been resuscitated at least ten times in the past year. He will not be resuscitated should he code again. This time, he will be let go. Cori and her family give Charlie the best quality of life possible given his limitations.

Giving these children love and affection even though they cannot give back is considered a gift by Cori and her family. The family gives deeply of themselves, loving and cherishing these babies and grieving their loss. Cori compares her families’ hearts to stained-glass windows made of broken glass that has been forged back together. Though their hearts are broken, they are even stronger and more beautiful for having been broken.

by Leah Ultatowski – Reader’s Digest November 2016

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Daisies and Dad

My favorite flower is the Daisy. One morning I walked out to the creek and this is what I saw…

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Then in a few days, we went for a drive and this is what I found.

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And every day after that until the last week or so, they were everywhere!

The thing is…I have loved daisies since I was in junior high school. All my corsages were daisies and my 9th grade prom dress had daisies around the high waist. But the best thing was that my dad painted a perfect 6′ daisy on my bedroom wall. I didn’t ask him to and he never told me of his idea, he just did it.

Every new experience I have and every family get together, I wish my dad could be there. He never knew Danny or our kids or grand kids. He would have loved them all. And to see Colorado in all its glory…would have been a great gift to him. So every time I saw the daisies, I believe it was a sign that my dad is indeed here in spirit and it brings me comfort. I don’t care that daisies are considered a weed here.

 

 

I Care

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Whether I know you personally or not, I care and this is for you:

Sometimes we do not feel

like we want to feel

what we want to achieve

Sometimes things happen

that do not make sense

Sometimes life leads us in directions

that are beyond our control

It is at these times most of all that we need someone

who will quietly understand us

and be there to support us

I want you to know

that I am here for you

In every way

and remember that though

things may be difficult now

tomorrow is a new day

Susan Polis Schutz

Anti-Depressants and Psychotherapy

I have had people tell me that they do not want to take anti-depressant medication because it will cause them to be unable to cry. I would suggest that anyone who has this experience should check with their doctors or get honest with themselves. I have been on anti-depressants for many, many years and I have no problem crying when emotion calls for it yet I do not cry constantly with no clearly discernible reason as often happens with untreated depression.

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Many people do not understand that depression is not always situational. There are those of us who have a chemical imbalance that brings about depressive  symptoms. When depression is situational, most people are able to stop therapy or taking anti-depressants after the situation comes to a resolution or they come to terms with the outcome of the situation. However, please be aware that getting off anti-depressants is not something that should be done without the guidance of a medical doctor, psychotherapist or psychiatrist who will instruct the patient in the best way to taper off the medication.

I have a friend who refused to take anti-depressants because she didn’t like the way they made her feel. I spent time with her after our not seeing each other for a while and she was like a different person. She was happy, positive and upbeat images.duckduckgo.com because her doctor put her on an anti-depressant that worked for her. My sister has gone off her anti-depressants from time to time because she is very health conscious and didn’t want to take pills. She has gone back on them every time because if you need them, you need them. Unfortunately, there are times that a person has to try several different anti-depressants until the right one for them is found. It is understandable that one would get frustrated and want to give up but when the right medication is found, it is worth the necessary journey. There are anti-depressants that I cannot take because I metabolize medications slowly or because they aren’t a good fit for one reason or another. The medication my friend has found that works so well for her is one that I cannot take. I have had it prescribed and/or suggested by doctors because it would seem to be the perfect medication for me but it has the undesired of inhibiting my focus.

Another thing about anti-depressants not always understood is that it is sometimes beneficial to change to a different brand or strength after a period of time. I have changed several times over the years because there is a more current, more effective or more beneficial drug or strength for me.

I have tortured my mother all my life by trying to get answers or justifications.

There seems to be a stigma about psychotherapy just as there is about anti-depressants. That stigma can be quite dangerous because depression can14867860-broken-heart-carried-on-a-stretcher-by-box-men destroy not only one’s quality of life but can destroy one’s life itself. I have also heard that some will stop psychotherapy because there comes a point when they cannot stop crying. This is a valid point because emotions that have been stuffed inside or ignored are released by talking through experiences or opening up about thoughts and/or needs. This phenomena is referred to as “getting your feelings” and is an important point in therapy. Rather than being something to be avoided, it is a desired effect of therapy.

Anti-depressants are so widely prescribed these days that some researchers think that the symptoms could be caused by poor diet, lack of sleep or evolving changes in the environment. I believe those could be valid causes as I also  believe that the tendency to have depression can be passed down from generation to generation as mine seems to have been. In Ala-non, we learn that when you have a sudden and/or temporary change in mood or experience depression-like symptoms, you might ask yourself if you are hungry, lonely or tired. I have found that any one of these three conditions will cause me to experience a temporary anger or depression.

If you are hesitant to seek treatment for your depression, I encourage you to re-visit your decision by doing research and having a discussion with a physician or psychiatrist. You may be in serious trouble long before the realization hits you or even worse, it may not hit you until it is too late.

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Grief

14867860-broken-heart-carried-on-a-stretcher-by-box-menI don’t think many realize that grief is not just about the loss of a person to death. There are many types of losses and each loss is as important as the next. The most difficult losses for me are the loss of a relationship or of a dream. I don’t know about you but in my earlier years I thought it would be easier to lose a love to death than to lose them in life. To lose someone who is still living, you know that they are still out there living their life without you and it not only hurts but it can give you a sense of desperation.

In order to truly accept a loss, we must grieve. If you do not grieve, you will keep running from the feelings and someday, somewhere you will blow up and wonder where your reaction came from. It is referred to as “coming out sideways”. “Coming out sideways” is when your reaction to a situation is actually due to emotions left over from a past situation that have not been dealt with. When you don’t grieve each loss, the emotions build up until you can no longer contain them and they have to come out somewhere.

Grief is not fun so we often try to avoid it by putting our attention to other things or any other thing. In crisis counseling, many callers had a situation they had not grieved. It could have been the loss of a job, a friendship, a home but whatever it was, they would admit that it had an impact on their lives and left unresolved emotions. Each person grieves in their own way but there is a model that grief typically follows and it is referred to as The Seven Stages of Grief and are as follows:

SHOCK & DENIAL-
You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. YouTetsu420full798969 may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.

PAIN & GUILT-
As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable 2592pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.

You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn’t do with your  loved one. Life feels  chaotic and scary during this phase.

“DEPRESSION”, REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, aI am O.K. today.

long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be “talked out of it” by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.

During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.

ANGER & BARGAINING-
Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for 7822968-gay-couplethe death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.

 

THE UPWARD TURN-
As you start to adjust to live without your dear one, your life becomes a images.duckduckgo.comlittle calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your “depression” begins to lift slightly.

 

 

RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you stock-photo-young-blonde-needlewoman-fitting-dress-on-dummy-248408176will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.

ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to12358046-vector-illustration-of-justice-scales accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.

You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.

Recover from Grief.com

Though this version of the model covers loss through death, it can be applied to any type of loss. When you experience an anger or depression for which the reason cannot be pinpointed, ask yourself “What is missing?” and/or “What has changed?”. You may have to think back in time but there will more than likely be some feeling that you have been avoiding or running away from.

Rather than thinking of crying as being a weakness or self pity, see it as cleansing. Crying is a release of pent up emotion and is healthy.

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Have you just forgotten to be Happy?

So happy to have discovered this blogger! This is one of the most brilliant posts I have ever read.

The happy Quitter!

being lost

I follow so many bloggers who seem to be struggling with their own identity. “I feel lost,” that’s a statement I have read over and over. It always makes me wonder what happened to them. How can you get lost, if you are always there?

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Be Kind to Yourself

Why do we treat strangers and our families better than we treat ourselves? Be kind to  yourself today!

  • Ask for help.9319250-two-young-business-people-talking-and-discussing

 

  • Craft

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  • Take a walk in the park alone.Featured Image -- 1615

 

 

  • Read a good book for an hour.

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  • Watch a silly television show.

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  • Spend time with your child doing something you both enjoy (just the two of you).

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  • Have breakfast, lunch or dinner with a friend.

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  • Take an extra 10 minutes in the shower just enjoying the spray on your face.

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  • Buy yourself a wonderful herbal shower gel.

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  • Have a date night.

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  • Do nothing for a half hour.

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  • Don’t think about any problem for 20 minutes.

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  • Take a nap.

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  •  Go Window Shopping

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  • Spend the night alone or with your spouse in a hotel just because…

Historical Galvez Hotel Galveston, Texas

  • Give yourself a hug.

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No guilt! We all have a “child within” who needs to feel special. You will be surprised at how 22673131-child-with-gift-box-near-white-christmas-tree-isolatedhow much more relaxed and happy that child will feel. You don’t need for someone else to give you a gift, give it to yourself. Let yourself know that you care. Sound silly? That is because it is outside your comfort zone. Inside your comfort zone, you 

  • Put yourself last!
  • Worry about what others will think!
  • Are waiting for someone else to show you appreciation!

Martyrdom is not attractive and your life is passing you by.

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So take a ME day, you deserve it!

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Is it just Me???

There is no accounting for taste!

In the previous house, I had to live with this:

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I requested permission to replace these cabinet handles but was told I would have to put them back when we moved out. Unfortunately, to Danny’s delight they are glued on. Oh there are more in different styles but to me this is the most offensive. They are all elk horn but I get the feeling they sneaked in elk penis. Can you imagine having to look at this every day, much less touch them. On a funny note, we happened to get into a conversation with the guy who makes these abominations not knowing who he was. As he is walking away, someone called to him and he told them he had to go make elk handles. It was fortunate that while we were talking about the differences in Texas and Colorado (he too was from Texas as everyone here seems to be), I didn’t mention the hideous handles.

Yea 👏 👏👏we don’t have to deal with them any more but…wait for it….

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Now this! Needless to say, my formal dining room table has to live under this monstrosity because I have no other place to put it. I would have used the breakfast table but then where would I put the dining room table? We tried to politely ask the owner if we could replace it at our own cost but he said it had to stay because he believes that it will “sell” the house. I think it might sell the house “down the river”. The wagon wheel is supposedly from some war or other.

O.K. I get that what we call a “house” is considered a “mountain cabin” and I can live with the horseshoe decor but in my opinion this is definitely “personal taste”. However, when I showed the picture to my daughter-in-law, she really liked it. My sister-in-law suggested this as a replacement:

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Uh no…

49908225-auckland--dec-25-2015-moose-taxidermy-the-last-proven-sighting-of-a-moose-in-new-zealand-was-in-1952When we were looking at property in the Texas Hill Country, most of the houses we looked at had dead animals hanging on the wall. Oh, I’m sorry I meant “trophies”. I kept asking if the dead animals came with the house. I was assured that they didn’t.

I think I would have preferred this:

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This was my dining room in Texas:

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I wouldn’t want to go back to that lifestyle though. I am much happier with the more relaxed simple lifestyle, we just don’t want to part with our furniture that we worked so hard to choose. Can’t we have both? We made a sitting room with our formal living room furniture in a spare bedroom and some furniture is going into the bunk room but our formal dining table is an orphan. We were able to use it in the old house as our every day table but we haven’t set it up yet here. I think if we throw a table cloth over it, we will be fine. Really, who cares?

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I guess I just like what I like and others like what they like and when you are renting, you take what you get. I love the uniqueness of the mountain “cabins” but just would prefer that they be a little less “cutesy”. Am I a snob?

 

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So You Think You’ve Escaped Alcoholism

2592So you think you’ve escaped alcoholism, not a chance. You don’t have to be an alcoholic to be effected by alcoholism.

Alcoholism affects everyone who comes in contact with an alcoholic. It could be a parent, a sibling, a relative, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, husband, wife, friend, child, or a co-worker. That is why Ala-non, is a support group for families and friends of alcoholics not just families of alcoholics. You may not have the disease but I can say that you have the ism’s  without ever having met you.

It is said that alcoholism is a family disease and I believe it with all my heart. I grew up in an alcoholic home. Why do I call it an alcoholic home? Does that mean that all my family members were alcoholics? No, our home revolved around my alcoholic mother because her actions or in-actions affected every one of us. Our emotional make-up developed around coping with her drinking and the effect it had on us. I like to see my mother as having alcoholism rather than as an alcoholic but it is my habit to use the term alcoholic which is unfortunately a label. She grew up in an alcoholic home just like I did.  I have the utmost love and strive to understand because but for the grace of God, go I. As alcoholism is said to be genetic, I could have followed in her footsteps. I am lucky, I don’t like the taste of alcohol and yet I am unlucky in that I don’t like not having control. Why is that unlucky? Because I have to fight the tendency to control everything around me to ensure that it doesn’t give me that feeling of not having control over my life and to avoid the helpless feelings I had growing up. I also believe it is a learned behavior, we do what we know and alcoholism is what we know.

That is why even though you think you have escaped the parent or ex, you are wrong. You were affected and I can prove it.

Do you have problems with authority figures?e75f70e61261afa370d84fcbf1da6be7

Do you have problems getting along with others?

Do you have control issues?

Is your relationship picker broken?

Are you hyper-vigilant?

Do you fight depression?

Do you lack confidence?

Are you an under or over achiever?

Are you a people-pleaser?

Are you a care taker?

Are you a fixer?

There are many other symptoms but I’m sure you get it and you know which one of these have developed in you.

In my work as a Crisis Call Counselor, I could pretty much bet that regardless of the crisis, the conversation would eventually reveal that the caller had been affected by alcoholism, either theirs or someone in their past or present life. I consider alcoholism an “emotional” disease because it can bring about anger, sadness, depression, resentment, etc. in the alcoholic or those affected by a person’s drinking. The reason persons affected by another person’s drinking are considered to be co-dependent is that while the alcoholic is addicted to alcohol, the affected person is addicted to the alcoholic. I have had so many friends, boyfriends and a husband who were addicted to alcohol and in the beginning of the relationship, I didn’t know there was a problem. It’s like a magnet! I have friends in Ala-non who say it is because alcoholics are charismatic and exciting. Perhaps we see something in their personalities that we wish we had.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “I’m not with him/her any more, so I don’t need Ala-non.” I have thought that myself but I always end up going back because my ism’s become overwhelming. This post is not meant to advertise or push Ala-non or Adult Children of Alcoholics, yet it is what I know so I do highly recommend them. Just like the person with alcoholism, only you can decide that you need help and what support is best for you. I have been told, “When it hurts bad enough, you will get help.”

“Co-dependent No More” by Melody Beattie is a really good book for understanding the effects of alcoholism. I read this book like a person dying of thirst drinks water. It told me that I was not crazy and there was hope.

People addicted to alcohol and/or drugs will to try to convince others that it is your fault, don’t take it on. Think 3 C’s – You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it and you can’t cure it. Seeking help is nothing to be ashamed of, alcoholism in you or someone else is not your fault but it is your responsibility. If you are afraid of the alcoholic becoming angry because you are seeking help, 12 step support groups are anonymous as is therapy. If you go to a meeting or see a therapist and you are not comfortable with the environment or personalities, try another meeting or therapist. There are many meetings and therapists available. If you are in a remote area, I understand that there are meetings online. Just do an Internet search of Ala-non or Adult Children of Alcoholics. There are two daily readers, One Day at a Time in Ala-non and Courage to Change that are utilized by Ala-Non. I find ODAT (nickname) useful when you are in a relationship with an alcoholic and Courage to Change is a good all-around book. I mostly use Courage to Change and it seems to be a favorite among recovering Ala-Non’s. Before using these books, it would be helpful to do some research on alcoholism. People active in Ala-Non attend open AA meetings to learn what the person with alcoholism experiences.

I have tortured my mother all my life by trying to get answers or justifications.

Whatever you decide to do, know that you are not alone. Everything you have experienced, someone else has experienced. It helps to talk with other people who are experiencing the same thing or who have been there and survived.

There is always hope.

 

Burt and the Bunny

10829048-cute-toy-rabbit-on-white-backgroundWhile reading our local rag, I came across a column by a man named Burt Baldwin. I was drawn to the article by the picture of a stuffed bunny on a bookshelf. It was a fluffy sitting-bunny with big feet. Something told me there was a heart-warming story behind the picture and I am a sucker for heart-warming stories, I was not disappointed.

As Burt was getting his mail, he saw something that he said looked like a leg protruding from the ice on the road. Most rural residents have mailboxes on main roads and this one happened to be on a county road. Burt was intrigued so he looked around in the growing dark and found a stick to dig it out. When he got the thing out, it turned out to be a “small tattered stuffed rabbit”. The rabbit had been lying face down so he turned it over and it was missing one of its glass eyes. He surmised that the rabbit had been thrown out, replaced by a newer gift during the holidays and probably had fallen out of a trash bin before the trash was picked up. Burt says that he looked at it for a minute and “a strange warmth” came over him. He picked it up and dropped it onto his passenger side floorboard and headed home.

A few days later, Burt noticed the rabbit smiling up at him from the floorboard as he was gathering groceries from the passenger side of his vehicle. He says there was something about that smile that made him grab it up with the groceries and throw it into the washing machine. He talked about how important stuffed animals could be to us as children. He talked about comfort, companionship and a feeling of protectiveness our stuffed “friends” provided to us in a sometimes-harsh reality.

I know that my two of my grandchildren had these “friends” that would bring about not just tears but extreme crying spells if their stuffed animal could not be located. When they came to stay with us, we always made sure that the stuffed friend came along. A grandson has a stuffed giraffe named “Ba” that has been torn apart by dogs many times. Its leg is partially missing and has been taped up looking like an amputee after having surgery to remove a limb, his fur is patchy and matted and he is missing an eye. You would think my grandson would be more careful with Ba but he abuses and leaves him lying around inside and out. However, when he is unhappy or sleepy and always at bedtime, he cries for Ba. Ba often smells bad even though he gets washed often so Danny has tried hiding him and/or trying to convince our grandson that he doesn’t need Ba any more, to no avail. There are several Ba’s, each grandparent’s house has one just in case Ba gets left behind and he has one with his mom and one with his dad. The Ba’s have names like Daddy Ba, Mommy Ba and Baby Ba. No one but his mom will keep Daddy Ba on a permanent basis. When our grandson sleeps with us, Danny and I have awakened in the night to hide Daddy Ba under the covers or toss him onto the floor because he stinks, mostly like bad-breath. Yet, no one will toss him into the trash. One of our granddaughters had “Piggy” who was a stuffed Piglet. Piggy was replaced many times without incident but the necessity to have it was just as important. When we were packing to move, I found the “Piggy” that was kept at our house and when I told our granddaughter who is now 6, she kept asking me where it was. We finally found it and it was returned to her bringing a nostalgic smile to her face. I believe that these animals were as important to the children as was “home”.

Burt believes that certain events can thrust us into curious activities. When his wife discovered his new friend in the washing machine, she removed it with the tips of her fingers and stared at him in “disgust”. She scolded him for bringing the “germ-riddled” thing home and it was isolated to a separate wash. Burt was undaunted and was happy to see that the bunny actually looked “pretty good” after his “bath”as he had fluffed up in the dryer. Secretly, Burt replaced the bunny’s missing left eye  with a button from his wife’s sewing basket, sewing it on himself. When his task was finished, he placed the bunny on the bookshelf in his studio. That is not the end of the story, however, because a few weeks later, Burt heard a crying in his back yard. He opened the door to a “pitiful” black cat. The cat was emaciated and oddly had a severely damaged left eye. He took the cat to the vet and was told that the cat would never see out of his left eye again but would “make it through with tender loving care”. No doubt, Burt was just the person to provide that care. At the end of the article, Burt tells that the cat was sleeping quietly on the couch “just under his new friend’s abiding smile far from the darkening, frozen county roads of winter”.

So do you think that it was a coincidence or divine intervention? Whatever it was, I can say that if I were abandoned cold and lonely on a county road, I would wish that Burt would find me.