Iowa Specialty Hospital

Notes from Steve

October 20, 2016

Black cat

So in twenty years I have written a lot of these weekly musings. (Around a thousand I think) Some are funny. Some are boring. Some hit a nerve, and some try to impart a lesson. Some are really close to my heart and are hard to write but are really necessary for me. Today's one of those.

All of you have heard my stories about my mom and dad. I don't always mention my friend, Lorraine, but a lot of you knew her either personally or through me. Lorraine and I shared the journey of special people in our lives passing away and we became close friends through it. When Lorraine's daughter passed in 2003, (we,my sister Amy, Lorraine and I) decided she needed a cat, so we went down to Ames to the shelter and picked up a feisty, one-year-old, Bombay black cat with one white whisker. She named him, Jocko. 

When Lorraine passed away on Valentine 's Day in 2010, the family honored me by asking if I would take Jocko. I decided that he was depressed and immediately overfed him because he always seemed hungry. (FYI - this was a mistake) In the 6 years he lived with me, the last half were spent trying to get him to lose the weight he put on in the first half. 

I had to put him down yesterday. I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say, it was time. My friend, Priscilla, once told me when I wanted to miss a service club for no good reason that if I didn't want to do everything at the top of my game - club member, friend, son, brother, boss, employee, pet owner ... if I wasn't ready to give my whole self, then don't do it. With Jocko, I can say that I did everything possible after Lorraine passed to assure that he had the best life possible. I owed that to her. And him. 

This ends a chapter or even a book in my life that started with my mom's illness. Throughout the last 16 years, lots of people who were close to me and my animals died that were interlinked - Dad, Mom, Priscilla, Lorraine ... and Jocko. So I think my emotions are linked to the journey. In some ways, it's been a really hard slog, but in other ways, I wouldn't change a thing. If you are going through tough times, take the goodness and the lessons and do the best job you can - whether you are a son, daughter, pet owner, mom, dad ... you'll never regret it. 

Rest in peace, little buddy.


-Steve Simonin, President & CEO

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