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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kroll


It’s hard being the strong medium for everyone every day when I have my own heartbreaking grief, which I have to leave outside the door, so I wanted to share my own private experience.

I recently lost my beautiful boy, Louis. He was a Devon Rex cat, almost 16 years old, with a very unique personality. He was my best friend through many hard times, my confidante, the one I could tell anything to. I cried on his shoulder many times. He had some previous trouble with his kidneys and wasn’t well for a couple of days. I was worried about him & I took him to the vet the day after the terrible storm. They had no telephone reception and wanted to keep him there, so I drove up through detours to see him twice a day. On Friday, I wanted to bring him home. We (me, Louis, 2 x cavoodles & kitten) all go down to stay near the beach every week, but the Vet wanted to keep him longer.

I had a Matchbox 20 concert to go to that evening; halfway through the concert, they sang a beautiful song called “Already Gone”, which, to my surprise, had me shedding some tears. Just after it finished I looked down at my phone, recognised the number, when I answered it was the Vet telling me Louis had just passed away, at the same time my daughter had sent me a message asking how Louis was out of the blue. He used to lie on her very pregnant stomach when she was having my first grandson. I haven’t cried enough; I think I’ve been in shock; I didn’t get to say goodbye. That breaks my heart. He’s been sending me so many messages.

I'm crying as I’m writing this, and I just looked up to see a magpie right in my view. They are almost never in my yard. Louis was black-and-white and has been using magpies as one of the many messages and signs he is with me.

As an encore, they sang a song—not theirs, which they never sing—“Don’t you forget about me.” As I’m writing this, I have a playlist in the background, and Matchbox 20 has just come on.

I knew it would be hard to write this, so I have been putting it off & this morning,

I was scrolling through my very lengthy notes, trying to find some information. The song Louie Louie came on my playlist, which I’ve sung to him his whole life; at the same time, my Notes stopped on his microchip number and date of birth; I didn’t even know it was in there! As I wrote that information to add to this blog, a notification popped up on my iPad at 1.11 “Animal on Camera.”

I have been seeing black-and-white feathers everywhere. Just as I stepped out my gate this morning, there was one right on my path.

The first days after Louis passed, so many amazing messages flooded in, and signs from him that I want to share them. When I arrived at the beach house, there was a magpie sitting on the balcony just staring at us all I went upstairs and it followed me and sat outside the window. Following morning there was a huge white feather on my front door step and another one a few steps away in the garden.

A couple of days later, I had a private group meeting. The GPS took me down a backstreet right past our old house, where we had lived together since Louis was a baby. We spent the first half of his life there, just the two of us. I haven’t been back past that house in seven years.

I’ve been trying to find all of my old photos of Louis, and it seems all of the first ones at the beginning of his life are missing. That has been really upsetting me. I went into the study, where I have shelves, to get some toilet paper. I was drawn to pick up an old Kodak folder. I opened it to see it was full of photos only of Louis, including the one from the breeder when I first picked him up. That was extremely comforting.

The next day, I was woken at 5:30 a.m. by the ducted heating coming on, which hadn’t been on for months! Louis hated being cold; he always slept under blankets. Later that morning, the vet rang me to tell me I could collect him. My whole leg was tingling, where Louis used to tap me with his paw all the time to get my attention.

Signs and messages are different for everyone, and by sharing this, I hope it helps people recognise that your personal signs will be just that—personal to you—and may not mean anything to anyone else. Your loved ones are doing things that will be unique to you.

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