Sunday, 16 October 2011


Dear all,

Our kitten was born in March 2010 around the time when the wild cherry trees were flowering.  We named her Sakura as she reminded us of the foaming white Japanese cherry blossom.  We were also aware that Sakura symbolised the ephemeral nature of life.

We did not realise of course how fleeting our sweet cat's life would be.

Sakura died on Saturday morning and I am certain you can all imagine how sad we are.

I am simply relieved she is no longer suffering.  

The flowers (with dahlias, naturally) above were picked by the children to put on Sakura's grave which is in an idyllic spot in the woods by the vineyards.  The weather was heavenly and the children wrapped up poems they had written and gifts to accompany her.

We shall get through this grief together but if any of you have any tips on how to help the children along I would love to hear from you. It was their first cat, you understand.

Sakura was a gentle soul who reflected back ALL the love our children gave her.

Sakura napping two months ago

I will return soon with happier thoughts.

I wish you ALL a peaceful week with joyful moments.

A bientôt,



  1. Dear Stephanie,

    So sorry to hear about your tragic loss. Sakura looks like a very sweet cat. The flowers the children put on the grave look beautiful and match her Japanese name.

    Your book and your beautiful work of embroidery came in the post yesterday. I felt so happy! Not only with the book, but with the daisy too. You made it beautifully!!!! I took it with me to my garden house, to give it a special place.

    Hope you will be receiving your Country Living soon.

    Take care!

    Lieve groet, Madelief x

  2. Stephanie I am so so sorry to hear this news and, as a kitten lover myself, can imagine just how awful you will be feeling. Your poor children, what a horrible thing for them to experience at such a young age.

    Are you familiar with Judith Kerry's 'Mog' books? She has written a whole series on the escapades of Mog the cat and wrote the last in the series called Goodbye Mog which is when Mog dies. I'm afraid it's a different scenario in that Mog is old and ready to go but all the same, it is such a lovely, sensitive story, the point being to gently tell young children about the death of a pet. Perhaps that may be a good book to read to the children, although I have to warn you that Mog is replaced with a kitten in the story.
    Sending you all a big hug.
    Kate x

  3. I'm so so sorry to hear about Sakura, that's such sad news Stephanie, she looks like she was a lovely and kind natured cat. Take care of yourself and your family, sending blog hugs xxx

  4. I'm really sorry to hear about Sakura, that's so sad. She looked like such a sweet cat. *hugs* to you all!

  5. Dear Stephanie,
    It's so lovely to see the tenderness that has been bestowed on this kitten. We have been through similar circumstances. I would recommend getting one(or more)new pets. There is more love waiting for all of you!

  6. Oh Stephanie, I am so sorry to hear about your loss of Sakura. She certainly was beautiful and obviously well loved. I think it sounds like you have done the perfect thing with your children to help them with their grief by having her grave in a beautiful spot and sending their poems along with her on her journey to the otherworld.
    Blessings to you all.

  7. Oh Stephanie,

    I am so sorry to hear about this..it hurts so much to loose a gentle pet...I cannot bear losing an animal. I just can't! Sweet one, you have a quiet place to walk and think, CRY and be alone....and rejoice over the beauty that the world of nature gives us. I extend my heart to you dear one, Anita

  8. I am so sorry - it's a hard thing to bear losing an animal which is part of your family. Children are never too young to hear about your philosophy of life, and if you are always completely truthful with them you are building a firm foundation for the future. They can learn that grief is part of life and that we must sometimes suffer and feel sad, but also that we can learn to smile again one day. From my experience also, they are never to young to listen to poetry or the Bible, or whatever helps you through life, and they are also amazingly resilient, too, especially if you talk to them openly and answer their questions honestly.

    Pomona x

  9. Oh Stephanie I am so sorry, that is just terrible news.
    Losing a dear animal friend is one of life's hardest things, you have my sympathy as I know exactly how you feel.
    She was such a beautiful cat and I can understand how sad you all must feel. I think that it's a good thing that your children picked flowers for her and wrote poems, that will help them grieve which they must do.
    Hugs to all of you,
    Vivienne x

  10. Dear Stephanie, how unutterably sad for you all this loss must be. I will be thinking of every one of you.
    When my own children were very small and we lost much loved pets (two dogs in quick succession, a hamster and a guinea pig) they wrote messages to them telling them how much they were missed and tied them to a helium balloon which we released. We did this once every few days until they, frankly, lost interest, which took a couple of weeks. Children are very resilient and often move on more quickly than we adults do. Hugs to you all xxx

  11. So sorry to hear of your loss, Sakura looks like she was the most beautiful cat. I am sure she had a wonderful wonderful life with you and your family.
    Take care,

  12. What a lovely little cat was Sakura. I am so sorry that she had such a short life, but can easily tell how she found such love from your family.

    As years will pass by, that love will remain.

    Perhaps in future your family will have the opportunity to give more love and care to another kitten.


  13. Such a sad time for you and the children. We just lost our sweet sheltie last month. I truly believe it eases the ache by everyone talking about their favorite memories - funny antics that only your own precious companion was known for. Keep the talk flowing and I bet there will be more smiles & even giggles as the moments go by.

  14. Oh Stephanie, I'm so sorry. It hurts so much to lose a dear pet, especially one so beautiful and sweet-natured. (When my last cat died I cried for months.) I wish I had some magic words to ease your little ones' sorrows, but I can only echo Pomona's comment.

    My sincere sympathies to you and your family.

  15. You poor things, I am dreading this moment myself. We have two cats, Otto and Spooky, and poor old Otto is now 21 and very frail indeed. Two years ago he nearly died and we all stood weeping in the vet's surgery. I don't know what you can do that you haven't done already. In a way this is part of what having pets is about - love, responsibility and loss. I second harmony and Rosie's suggestion. There is also a very lovely book, with pictures by Mary Fedden, about the mysterious arrival of a cat just as another cat dies. The title escapes me at the moment, but I'll add it in a comment later when I track it down.

  16. Oh Stephanie, so sorry to hear that news. Such a tragic loss of a life still young. The children must have taken it hard. Big love and hugs to you all


  17. Dear Stephanie,
    I'm so sorry to hear your sad news.
    Sending you a virtual hug.....

  18. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss, Stephanie, I know the feeling of loosing a sweet friend, Sakura looks so sweet on the photo ...
    Thanks for your nice comment,
    take care,

  19. So so sad. Bless her. Oh I hope you are all ok. I once had a little kitten called Megan who died suddenly and it was so upsetting.
    I think the fairies took a few hours each.Not terribly quick, but much quicker than the dolls. I think that is what sidetracks me with the big dolls, they take me so long still.
    I need some wire to make wings, as I think they are not really fairies without.
    I love Betty BIB!She makes gorgeous dolls too.I also love the fairies by Sam McKechnie, of the Magpie and the Wardrobe,which I think you would love.
    I'll make you one when I get some more pipe cleaners. xxx

  20. I am so sorry Stephanie... Sakura was so young! I once lost a kitten, my very own kitten, and it still wrenches my heart every time I think of it.

    I hope the children will manage to cope with the loss... Seconding the suggestion to adopt a new pet - just a very different pet (male for instance, or one with a very different colouring), so that the children understand that he/she will not truly replace little Sakura - just be another companion to help you cope with the void left by Sakura. My thoughts are with you!

  21. aw, so sorry for your loss.pets are such a part of the family.take care...

  22. I'm so sorry for your loss. Sakura is such a beautiful little kitten, it's so tragic when they pass away so young. Do you know the Rainbow Bridge poem? It helped my children when they were young and various animals which we had passed away. Here is the link, but make sure you have a tissue handy when you play it.

  23. OH dear Stephanie, what a sad blow, how tragic, how sad......I am so sorry that Sakura did not make it after her run in with the bigger cat ~ words seem so inadequate right now, but I really do send all my love to you and your family....Sakura may not be with you in a physical sense anymore, but she will always occupy a place in your hearts.
    Much love,

  24. Dear Stephanie I was so sad to read the tragic news of the loss of Sakura, such a young and much loved cat. The flowers your children chose for her are very sweet. Sending you and your family warm wishes.
    Helen x

  25. Stephanie...my heart breaks for you. I know exactly how you are feeling right now. Sakura is so sweet. Please know I am thinking of you.

  26. I am shocked to hear about little Sakura. My heartfelt sympathies for the loss and sadness for everyone who loved her so much.

    I think that is the key for helping your children get through this unhappy time. Remind them how happy Sakura was, how much she was loved and had the best possible life she could have had. Some lives are short but hers was filled with love, happiness and a full tummy. She couldn't have had more.

    If possible bring your cat home to bury or scatter her ashes somewhere relevant and nice - ask the children what they want to do. Little details are important, so let them write poems, buy or pick flowers etc. If you can't bring her home, then maybe plant a rose bush for her. Talk about her and the joy she gave to you all. Cry too and don't be ashamed of it, animals are our friends and we love them dearly.

    One day - you will know when the time is right, perhaps 6 months but maybe sooner or maybe later, it may feel right to have another cat. This will not be a replacement. Sakura was one of a kind but it will be a loving pet in its own right and there are many that need caring homes like yours. One day you will think of Sakura with smiles and not tears and just be happy you knew her.

    With love
    Sara xx

  27. So sad to hear your news about Sakura. Pets touch our hearts and become part of our family. the photo of her looks so beautiful. Thinking of you at this time.

  28. Oh my goodness, that is so sad. sending you all love and hugs.
    love jooles x

  29. Dear Stephanie,

    I am so very saddened by this news ... you must have thought she was turning a corner and recovering after her awful experience. Poor Sakura, as you say she is at peace now so all you can do is hold on to that comforting thought.

    I know what it is to love a cat and to feel such loss when they depart. My own dear puss Daisy died in February 2009 at the grand old age of 19. I was totally distraught. She had been part of my life since her early kittenhood.

    But to lose a young cat just as she reaches maturity is very sad indeed.

    I'm afraid I have no words of wisdom to help your children through this. Death as part of life itself is a bitter lesson to learn at such a young age but children are more accepting than we often give them credit for. Keep Sakura's memory alive for them, talk about happier times and treasure those memories.

    She was indeed a very beautiful cat.

    Thinking of you.


  30. Dear Stephanie,

    I meant to add the following quote to my previous comment.

    These words of wisdom offered me comfort in my grief on the loss of Daisy and has indeed been on my pinboard ever since. It somehow puts a greater perspective on the loss of a pet in a very humanist way. I hope you don't mind my posting it.

    "Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills."

    Voltaire - French author, humanist, rationalist, & satirist (1694 - 1778)


  31. Oh that is sad :( I would just be gently truthful with the children. Having a pet is a good way for them to experience life and death.Each family finds their own way. Go with your instinct x

  32. Oh! I am so sorry to hear this. Losing a pet is so hard, and especially so young. She was a beautiful little kitty, and Im sure she had a full and happy little life~

  33. Dear Stephanie,
    This is such sad news that you have lost your beautiful little Sakura especially at such a very young age....
    It is so difficult when you have little one's around but I have found through the years that children can teach us so much at these times in their uncomplicated way of dealing with such sad moments....they can often seem so much wiser than us 'grown ups'...
    Take care,
    Susan x

  34. Dear Stephanie - the book I mentioned is called Motley the Cat, by Mary Fedden and Susannah Amoore. I don't know whether or not it is still in print, but you could probably find it somewhere out there in the ether.

  35. I´m so sorry to hear that, Stephanie, she was such a beautiful cat and much too young! Maybe the story of the "rainbow bridge" (you´ll find it through google) will help you and your children a bit through the grief. I myself find the idea of a beautiful world behind the rainbow bridge very, very comfortable.

    Liebe Grüße, Bärbel

  36. So sorry to hear of your families sad loss of Sakura, Stephanie. A pet is so much part of the family, they will always have a special place in our hearts.

    Gill xx

  37. soooo sorry to hear your sad news, but im sure you gave her the most happy times and lovely home life ;0)x
    love your photography its stuning and homely charms x

  38. Oh bless - I am so very sorry. I'm most definitely more of a kitty cat person and would be devastated myself - which I can only imgine you all are.

    I agree with Kate - Judith Kerr's books about Mog are just brilliant and cover all aspects including saying goodbye.

    take care and big hugs

    Nina x

  39. Dear Stephanie
    I missed your blog too! And I'm so sad about beautiful Sakura ... call me childish, but I imagine her sleeping on a soft cloud dreaming of her next meal ...
    and thank you so much for introducing me to Montague Don or at least his books!

    Barbara x :)

  40. Oh Stephanie, I'm so sorry to hear about Sakura. Such a loss to a family. We recently lost a beloved pet also, so I know firsthand how unexpectedly painful this can be. Be comforted in knowing that Sakura had a good life and that time will ease your own suffering.

    Thinking of you,

  41. Dear Stephanie,

    I'm sorry to hear about your loss of Sakura. When we lost a treasured pet, what comforted my son most was other people in his life telling him that they had lost pets, too, and they understood his sadness.

    I have cried when I lost pets, but I know that they are in another world, woofing and meowing, playing in heavenly meadows and waiting for me.

    Many loving thoughts to you and your children, Barbara

  42. I'm so sad to hear that you lost your lovely Sakura, what a lovely pretty kitten she was. I can understand the grief as I lost my cat this year too to cancer but she was 14, how cruel it is to lose a kitten. I just know that it gets easier to live with but it hurts. Sending love to you all.

  43. Dear Stephanie,

    I am so sorry to hear of your sweet Sakura's passing.
    At any age it is hard to lose a beloved pet and more so, for the little ones.
    Wonder if you can plant a lovely tree, where they can think about the happy memories they had with the kitty.
    Sending hugs and hope that as each day passes, it will be a little easier.


  44. Oh no! I came by to say hello and I am so distressed to see this news! Pets just break your heart, don't they? I am so so sorry. She looked like such a lovely cat. Your family must have adored her and I hope you all have some lifted spirits in the not-too-distant future. ~Melissa

  45. So sorry for you and your children. we had lots of animals here and each time one of them passed away, my children were sad, but we just listen to them and answer to their questions . A big hug to you and your children. Catherine

  46. love to you and your darling ones x

  47. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss Stephanie, that is a tragic story, you must be feeling devastated and at a loss as to how it could happen so quickly. Sakura looks like she was a sweet gentle soul, it really comes across in the photograph of her. Take care Stephanie. Love Vanessa xxx

  48. Oh dear, how is Sakura dearest????

    THANK YOU FOR COMING TO VISIT; I am extremely touched by the response of my readers for even though I am so busy, I try to write as much as I can for my blog. But my desire is to write poetry, and though my writing is quickly composed and lacks the "STEWING" that a good poem requires, I am glad that at least I can evoke feelings from my readers. BLESS YOU dearest for coming to visit me. AND YES MY DEAR, I LOVE SHADOWS AND SHADOW PUPPETS! In fact, this summer, I had so much fun making them, and I don't know if you know this, but I have several little theatres in my home that I have made, one in particular where I stage little shows with shadows! So my header does reflect the love I have for the grays and dark shadows that I love.

    Here is wishing you a mysterious and glorious season of change in LA BELLE FRANCE!!! BISES, Anita

  49. Your little angel. I hate to see animals pass early, but she got to have a good look around before she left for her continued journey.

    HUGS and thank you for your support of my work, especially thoughtful of you now when you have your own hole left in your heart.


  50. I sorry to hear about Sakura, the for the grave flowers are beautiful. - Annie

  51. Dear Stephanie, I am so sorry for your loss. I have two cats myself who are part of the family, and I can only imagine how sad you and your family must be feeling at the sad loss of Sakura. I'm sending a hug through the internet ether. Em x

  52. Hi Stephanie,
    First of all, thank you for the loveliest comment you left on my blog! You are very kind! Really made my day :)
    Secondly, I am so sad to hear about your kitten. We had a kitten death two years ago and we still don't understand what happened. We had Leo, a beautiful gold kitten, for exactly 40 days. We visited him weekly at the farm he was born until he was old enough to leave his cat-mama. He was perfect and brought so much joy! Then he was no more - just like that. Even though he was our 2nd cat (the other cat was very surprised that Leo was no longer alive and joined us in the burial), we all felt a huge loss. We were able to get a cousin from Leo, who is loved, but he is neither so beautiful nor so gentle. Leo was special. I know your cat was too. I can understand the sadness that must be in your family right now. Hugs, Karen

  53. I am so sorry to hear about your kitty cat.
    There is a wonderful children's book called "The Tenth Good Thing About Barney", by Judith Viorst, that was very helpful to us.
    And there is another book called "Cat Heaven", by Cynthia Rylant that I made sure to include in the children's library at our church.
    Hugs to you all.

  54. I'm so sorry to hear your sad news Stephanie, hope that you are all ok.
    Thanks for visiting my blog and I must try beetroot soup when I get it again.
    Take care, K xxx

  55. What a beautiful kitty. So sorry for your loss. My grandchildren just lost their dog, I made them sympathy cards and spoke of all the wonderful things about their dog that they will remember always.


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