Three Positive Secrets In Heart Rending Farewells

“To make heaven the perfect resting place for loved ones we adore, God made sure those Pearly Gates contained a kitty door.” – Unknown

“Many beautiful angels are leaping through heaven with a meow.” – Unknown

Finding positive secrets as one’s heart is breaking takes some processing.  Saying goodbye to another of the Cullen cats at Maison Steinbuchel has been one of those seasons.  I really hate these decisions.   No amount of reasoning makes it easier.

Strut, Our Gentle Giant


  • twenty years old,
  • having difficulty getting around,
  • deaf,
  • and recently lost what little eyesight he had.

The latter was the most difficult.  He could no longer find his way around and was eating and drinking less and less.  He was tired.

With the number of cats we have owned, “the” decision is not new to us.  Yes, some cats have met with tragedy or wandered off and disappeared, but a majority have lived long – very long lives.  For instance:

  • Tricot lived to 12 years of age
  • Bosco lived to be over 20
  • Clochard was 15
  • Midfield 14
  • Wings 15
  • Flaps 21
  • Flywire 19

So Strut joined the crowd of kitty centenarians at Maison Steinbuchel.

The Last Of…

But with Strut, he was the last of my hangar home cats and the last living creature from my family farm.  When we purchased the Hanger property in 1999, we needed help with rodent control.  My first three were Pitch, Roll, and Yaw, which served their purpose well but came to unknown ends.  The next was Stick and Rudder filling in nicely.  Stick disappeared and Rudder, unfortunately, was hit by a car.

positive secrets
Wings, Strut, and Flywire

Then Flaps showed up, joined by Wings, Flywire, and Strut.  We sold our hangar home recently.  We had taken Strut there for one last visit a few months ago.  Only after he was gone, did I realize he was my last connection to that era.

But there is yet another “last” that Strut represented:  He and his two siblings, Wings, and Flywire, were also the last creature connection I had to the family farm.  Although the farm has been gone from the family for many years, and I have many mementos from that time, Strut’s passing made that all the more final.

So Where Are The Positive Secrets?

Now I know it sounds quite maudlin even as I write, but as I process all this, I have discovered positive secrets among the loss and letting go.

First, letting go makes room for a new season.   We are at the cusp of some major house rearranging.  This is hard on kitties, especially the older ones.   As we have moved forward with this, it was always in the back of my mind. but what about Strut?  Letting him go has made space for more freedom going forward.

Second, this new season allows for fresh adventures.  The vision, and planning for our house reno have been with us for a long time.  However, this process of letting go of our gentle giant of a cat and all he represented – the hangar home especially, has opened space to embrace the next steps.

Third, there is healing in letting go.  Yes, we miss Mr. Strut.  When I see the space empty where his bed by the fire occupied, I am sad.  Yet, as the days pass, and I yield to the open space, healing fills that space.

Positive Secrets Demonstrated

The story of Abraham in Genesis is an example of these positive secrets in difficult farewells.  Abraham was called to leave his family and all he knew.  This surely would have been difficult.  The writer of Hebrews puts it this way:  “By faith Abraham when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. ”

This new season has a lot of unknowns, but hanging onto loss and what is missing will only hinder what God has planned.  I know these are good plans because, in the face of the hard things in this world, He is always with me in His Goodness.


I am a former air traffic controller, pilot, Aircoupe owner, married 42 years to a great guy. We live in a 125+ year old historic Victorian, enjoy cats, vintage anything, precious friends. My passion is Giving Lost Stories A Voice – Giving Found Materials Fresh Form and Purpose!

2 thoughts on “Three Positive Secrets In Heart Rending Farewells

  1. Nancy, I’m so sorry you lost Strut. I know exactly what you are talking about when the loss of a pet brings the emotions of other losses back to the surface. But you are right about moving on to the things that are ahead. I’m thankful we carry in our hearts those who can’t go on with us.

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