Friday, May 1, 2015

Happy Birthday, Birney!

Birney is 12 today.

I adamantly say  joke with Brian that we only have 13 years left with Birney so we better make the best of it! He gives me a grin and says, "Yes, dear. Birney is going to break a record of some sort for living happily ever after." He's so good to me. :)
But for real. 
Birney will probably live well into his 20's because he knows he has to. 
For me. 
I created a hashtag for the pictures I take of Birney which is
#birneysavedmylife. I know this seems a bit dramatic but it's oh so very true. 
Birney showed up during the very darkest time of my life. 
I was in Sheridan, WY for Matt's funeral. It was the morning of the funeral and I was upstairs at my best friend's house getting ready. She came in and said that one of Matt's friends had a gift for me. I didn't really think much of it, as many people had brought over flowers, cards and small tokens to help me in my grief. But there was a look on her face that I'll never forget. It was a cross between being really, really confused and really, really sure of something--a knowing of some sort. 
She led me downstairs and sitting in the living room was a couple holding a kitten. 
They had said that they found the kitten wandering in the park and they knew that the kitten was from Matt and that he was meant for me.

I absolutely know this sounds hokey, but if there's anything I have learned on this journey of grief it's that reminders of hope and love show up in the strangest of ways.
This is Birney's first picture.
 If his smile doesn't say hope and love, I don't know what does! 

The couple proceeded to tell me that one of the last times they spoke with Matt, they talked about tiger striped cats and how he thought that cats with an 'M' on their foreheads means they were divine in some way. Matt had lots of theories for why certain things were certain ways. "M" cats, he claimed, were present at Jesus' birth--the 'M' stands for Manger.
I know, totally hokey {and a little out there}'s so Matt to have this sort of theory.
His friends knew this of him and therefore knew that this kitten, who was wandering alone in the park, sporting an 'M' on his forehead belonged to me.

I remember holding Birney for the first time and knowing too.
He purred wildly and with conviction and I swear that in that purr I heard Matt say,
 "He's here for you, my love."
His purr makes everything better.

Matt and I had talked about getting a cat because we already had a name for him.
We started our relationship on a youth group outing in a little town in Montana called Birney.
So, I knew when I met him that he was my Birney--our Birney.

When we brought Birney to the vet for the first time he said that he was most likely born in May. I decided to make May Day his birthday because it is a holiday that is celebrated with flowers and happiness. I also picked it because I was calling out for help--I was crying, "Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!" and Birney showed up...See? He saved my life.
Birney at the vet looking at his weight...I know, 18.8 pounds...
18.8 pounds of love!

Birney, thank you for being on this journey with me and for saving my life.
Matt, thank you for bringing him to me and for showing me your love in this way.
Friends, thank you for letting me tell my story here and for loving me...and for loving Birney.


  1. Bawling. I knew parts of Birney's story, but now I get it. Thank you, Birney, for saving my friend.

  2. Aww, Birney's story touched me very very much. <3 I am sure you had a wonderful birthday together. He is such a sweetheart! Sending lots of love! <3 PS: The woman who owns the bakery I always buy me bread has a cat who is 23 years old. :)