Nerdy Cat Scuba Travels

A Cat Lovin' Engineer taking a career break by traveling, doing a divemaster internship, and diving around the world

Category: Family

When is it ever time to say good bye to a pet?

After 17 years of gracing my presence and meowing her way into my heart, I had to say good bye to my sweet cat Jade this weekend.

This morning I woke up without the usual “MEOW.” A quiet room. Walking to the bathroom I found an empty space. No more cat litter. No more water bowl. No food bowl. Emptiness filled my heart and I let out a long sob. Good bye my Jade- I hope you are in cat heaven with Anderson.

Humor Is the best shield for Sadness

To distract myself from the inevitable, I used to crack jokes of Jade’s age and how she would live to 25. Masking the trepidation of the one day I wouldn’t hear her voice. “Darn old cat- meowing all day!” I’d say.
“Meow!” 5 am. “Ok Jade. God damn it. I’m up. Mommy’s getting you food. Hold on you crazy cat.” Spoiled Cat. Only the best food for you. Not in the mood for beef? Ok, let me open up some chicken. Some days it looked like a cat buffet in the bathroom.

Kittens and College- The Memories

I adopted Jade and Andy from a pet shelter in Summer of 2000. Both 6 weeks old and 2 lbs. Almost all my college friends have one or more stories about these crazy critters. I even remember driving Jade to my boyfriend’s house. She peed all over me. Even then she knew she was boss. I was merely the human taking care of these cats. They trained me well.
How time flies. I can’t imagine my life without her. Yet here I am. I can go anywhere in the world now, and yet, all I would like now is for a cat to complain to me. To hold me down and sit on my neck while I sleep.

Carcinoma – Liver Cancer in Cats

You just know something is wrong.

 I could feel that something was different with Jade this week. Over the past few weeks she was on a steady decline. Even more finicky with food. A little weaker. Howling to go outside.
Then Wednesday she threw up. I immediately gave her anti vomit medicine and some pain meds. I waited a few hours and then proceeded to open 4 different cans of food. I even went out to a weed store and bought her CBD oil. I never tried it myself, but I didn’t want her to be in pain. Please don’t be in pain.

I could see sadness emanating from her dark green eyes.

After multiple trips to the vet, I checked Jade into intensive care for an ultrasound, biopsy and fluids. A few hours later I received the call.

Cancer. Tumors. No alternative. Euthanasia.

Nothing could have sounded worse. I didn’t want to hear it.
I knew in my head the time had come. My heart just wouldn’t listen.
I brought Jade home and she was tired. She couldn’t look me in the eye. She barely moved. I fed her ice cream, cheese, some onion dip – whatever she wanted.
The next morning, she tried to avoid me. Hiding. I knew it was time. But I couldn’t call the vet. Tears streamed out of me. I didn’t want to do it. I can’t do it.

Friends to the rescue

Trung saved me- he called the vet and drove me to the appointment. For an hour I sat in the room with Jade. I switched back and forth on hugging and holding her to petting her on the table.
The sedative made her feel like a rag doll. Eyes wide open. Heartbeat fast. Purring stopped.
Can she hear me? I cried and mumbled into her ear “I love you Jade. Now you can be with Andy. I’m sorry for the pain. I’m sorry I left you last year. I’m sorry I wasn’t always there by your side.”

Guilt stabbed me a million times. Why was I such a bad mom? Why did I ever leave her side? Could I have stopped the cancer with love?
The vet consoled me. It was the right thing to do. She was very sick and would never recover.
It took only 2 seconds. Once the final injection started, Jade stuck out her tongue and I could feel her heart stop.

The End

Then it was over. Life left the room and I picked her lifeless body up one more time and kissed her good bye. The pain and sadness I feel right now is hard to describe. Sometimes I forget and I can do other things. Write this blog. Make coffee. Other times, I sob and cry.  I miss her. I wish she didn’t have to die. Life is too cruel.

Rest in Peace Jade. May 2000- May 2017

A Eulogy for my Grandfather

Most times I dedicate this blog to all the fun things in life. But sometimes life gets in the way. My grandfather died. Normal day in a suburb of Long Island. Watering plants in the living room. Falling to the floor, still clutching the water can, he never woke up.

One day someone is here, and the next they are in another place, unreachable.

Every time I spoke to my grandpa on the phone, the conversation would go like this:

Me: Hi Grandpa. Its Lei Lei.

GP: Oh Lei Lei! Hello. How are you? I miss you

Me: I miss you too grandpa. Merry Christmas (or insert any holiday here)

GP: Merry Christmas! I love you, I miss you.

Me: Me too grandpa

GP: I love you, miss you, take care of yourself ok. Ok good bye. Bye. Bye.  


Yes- each conversation would last no more than 3 minutes. My grandpa was from an era of MCI long distance phone bills. Being ever so efficient, he used few words as possible to get his message across.

I don’t remember having long conversations with Grandpa. He kept things simple. Instead, I remember Ralph Lauren Polo shirts. Brooks Brothers suits. A garage full of his favorite things. That forever clean Lincoln town car.

A side effect from divorce, we only spent two weeks out of year with our grandparents in New York. Short summer trips. We all made the most out of the time we spent together.

Niagara Falls. Toronto. Clamming. Shopping. Disney and more.

Here’s an old photo of us crabbing- Me in junior high, Wendy in high school, and Grandpa enjoying retirement.

My grandpa was stylish even at the pier. I was in my frizzy hair phase… don’t laugh.

Thinking about these things make me smile and cry. I miss those simple happy moments. I’ve been MIA the recent years, but I hope he knew that I loved him unconditionally.

After the funeral

After things settle down, we transition to logistics. I Go into my grandpa’s room and clear out his things. I find at least 20+ new shirts. Countless boxes of unworn shoes. I don’t know what I should keep and what I should donate. I fight the urge to hoard everything. Its best to let go.

Emotions running high

I bet my grandpa tried yelling from the spirit world to “Stop! Don’t fuss over me.”

We didn’t hear him.

Arguments. Crying. Anxiety. Headaches.

I don’t deserve to complain. My grandma and grandpa have been married for 65 years. When I leave for the airport tomorrow, she will be alone in the house for the first time ever. Sometimes she is ok, and other times she isn’t. You can tell when she forgets momentarily that he is gone. As if he stepped out to pick up something from the grocery store. I wish we could keep pretending that he is going to be back any minute.

William Chow’s life ended on February 4, 2017. Rest In Peace Grandpa. You were the balance to our madness and we will miss you forever.

If I could phone my grandpa one last time, I would simply say “Hi Grandpa. Its Lei Lei. I miss you and love you. Don’t worry….I’ll take care of myself. Good bye.”