(This was originally shared in my newsletter but I thought I’d copy it here onto the blog as well, so that those who might have missed it can read it too!)
A while ago, I received a lovely email from a reader fan whose message brought tears to my eyes. She has kindly given me permission to share her message & photos on the blog, as I thought other readers might enjoy it too:
“My beloved 90-year old Dad passed away last June. He loved your books and eagerly downloaded them on his kindle. Dad had macular degeneration, and although he tried audio books, he loved “pure” reading. His kindle allowed him to continue reading. He would adjust the brightness level and expand the size of the font. In June 2016, Dad was enjoying a warm California afternoon on his back patio. Suddenly, a very skinny but friendly black & white cat hopped up on his lap. My Dad was certainly surprised as the cat had appeared, as he said, out of thin air. Dad pet the cat and realized the poor little guy was nearly starved. Well, that was the start of a beautiful friendship. Kitty, as Dad called his new friend, became his constant companion. Kitty followed Dad like a small dog.
Dad’s health declined during his last year. Fortunately I was able to spend the majority of that year with him in LA. Almost 4 years to the day that Kitty hopped up on Dad’s lap, Dad suffered a massive heart attack. Although the doctors were wonderful, his body just gave out. With the Covid virus causing such havoc in California, my brothers and I were not allowed in the hospital. And, as you can well imagine, Kitty was missing Dad. Fortunately we were allowed to bring Dad home under hospice care. The ambulance brought Dad home from the hospital. Kitty was distressed and unsure of all the hospital equipment and loud breathing generator. My beloved Dad was not really conscious, but comfortable. My brother and I were finally able to bring Kitty into the living room. The two of us sat by Dad’s hospital bed – my brother holding Kitty on his lap. I gently took my Dad’s hand and placed it on Kitty’s head. My Dad breathed his last breath at that moment. I believe Dad was waiting to say goodbye to Kitty before he left us.
My Dad was a strong willed man who never complained. He was truly a great role model – I developed my love of reading from him, as well as to try not to let adversity overcome my well-being. His cat Kitty is now part of my family and is just as spoiled as before. It’s such a pleasure to read your books as it is still a connection to my Dad.
I miss my Dad every day. I’ve attached a couple pictures. One is a couple years old of Dad holding Kitty. It’s the way I remember him. The other photo is of Kitty in his new Florida life – still a great and spoiled Kitty.
Thank you for listening to my story about Dad and Kitty. You can see why he loved stories involving cats. And thank you again for bringing him joy.
I was incredibly touched by Sharon’s message and feel very honoured to have been a small part of her amazing father’s life. It is always humbling for an author to hear about the way our books touch our readers’ lives – so a big “thank you” to Sharon and to all of you who take the time to write lovely notes to me. I treasure every one of your messages, even if I’m not always able to respond personally to every one. ❤️
I know it’s been a tough time for many of you too, as many have written to tell me about losing loved ones or suffering sickness and other loss. Although I don’t know most of you personally, I do keep you in my thoughts and I’m glad that my books are able to bring a little light on dark days. 😊