Sunday, July 6, 2008

~ Hillary ~

Go there to see what's wrong with me.

I didn't watch the news last night or this morning because I was so busy. I arrived at the park to a whole hell of a lot of fire engines. I woke up this morning to an overcast sky and that old familiar smokey smell. I wondered what was going on. Did the wind shift? Was there a fire nearby? What? When I arrived at the park, the entrance booth was unattended and the the bike trail was closed and fire engines were every where. I felt a degree of panic hard to describe. Initially I told myself, "Oh, they're having a practice drill," but I knew they weren't. I walked immediately to the guy who was heading off runners and those on bikes. I said "Hi, I'm Suzanne, I feed the ferals," and he replied "Hi Suzanne, I'm Tom and I've been waiting for this moment." Tom is the Director of Discovery Park and we've spoken on the phone so many time and he has spoken with Rob as well. It was just one of those magical moments and I'm grateful for it. We shook hand and told one another how much we appreciated the other and then we got down to business. I said "I need to feed my ferals." And as I looked past him I could see there was nothing left of the forest. Nothing. I started to cry and repeated that I needed to see my cats. He said he didn't think that was possible. I told him, in tears that I wasn't going to leave the park without seeing my space and to please help me. Please just help me. And he did. I know I'm one of the only people allowed into the park. We went in and looked and my space was saved. Everything around it was burned, but my spaced was saved. We walked back to the car and I got my food and water and he escorted me back to feed my kitties. I called and Hillary came. She had babies only two days ago. I can't imagine they survived, but she did. I'm crying so hard because you must understand what we've all been though the past year. I still have her. Nothing survived, but she's alive and safe. And Tom honored and help me find her. I don't know what the future will bring, but my heart is just broken because I know, I know, I know, I know many of my dear friends didn't survive. I don't know how to find my way. You have to understand I have struggled to save their lives, and to look at what I did today, I know, so many didn't survive. I feel absolutely broken and sit here in tears.

I didn't have my camera because I posted yesterday and left it near my computer. I wish you could see what I saw. It was absolutely horrible and surreal. Words can never describe what I saw today. Zack and Denim, I love you. I understand completely.

With love,


Travis Erwin said...

So sorry to hear about your devastating loss. Try and keep you head p and be thankful you still have Hillary.

Robyn said...

OH Suze! I am so very sorry girly! I don't have have any words to describe how I am feeling dear friend! You and your ferals are in my heart and thoughts!
Many hugs dear friend!
Hang in there Suze, there may be small miracles to soon appear, keeping fingers and toes crossed!
Love ya!

Anonymous said...

Suze, sweetheart,
I don't know what to say. I read the link that you posted, and it just sounds horrible.
Yes, it's a tragic day and the pain of not knowing, but assuming, that the others didn't make it must be so, so, so painful. But remember, dear Suzanne, that the space was saved - somehow, miraculously. That's the first thing to be thankful for. Secondly, Hillary survived and came to you when you called her - that, in itself, is a miracle. Someone was shining down on her that day, and therefore there must be some hope for the others. If, as feared, they didn't make it, then you must remember to be thankful that Hillary survived - that's something that you can hold on to. Another thing to remind yourself, is how you have helped all those in the park - without you, they probably wouldn't have survived on their own. You're their angel - remember that sweetie.

Thinking of you and your friends.
Lots of love,
Peter xxxx

Kookaburra said...

Oh, how terrible that the fires have encroached on Discovery Park!
I watched the link to the newscast twice! From the video the fire appears to be in hilly and rugged terrain. The Fire Chief said that fortunately the fires were contained in an isolated area of the park. I guess that's what you have got to be thankful for. Like Peter said, The pain of not knowing what has happened to your kitties hurts - because you simply don't know. You must have some hope and faith that they will know how to fend fend for themselves. They are wild after all. Suze, I can't take away your pain. It is something that only you can deal with. For what it is worth I will be here to support you, but I can't take away your pain.

You are in my thoughts and prayers. I can only wish that in the next few days your strays come back home to their park.

Mark. xox

G'day everyone

Debbie in CA : ) said...

My Dear Suze, How heartbreaking for you! You are in my prayers today. Thank you for sharing the painful along with the amazing story of Hillary and her babies. Such a sweet miracle nestled among the charred ruins for you to find. AND she came to you when you called -- that's amazing as well! My sister puts on a feral feast in her backyard in North Carolina and the kitties come from all around the forested areas. She has been gifted with many a kitten from a grateful though reticent mamma cat. Here's a hug "X" to help make it through the day. How precious your gift of helping the needy, feeding the hungry.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Suzanne,

There are no words to help ease your pain of loss...I'm just so glad that Hillary and her babies survived.

Give yourself the time you need to grieve. Just remember, and I know it's hard during times like this, life has this cycle of birth, blossoming, deteriorating, and death...but it always renews itself again. There will be more ferrals who will need you. You always have the beautiful memories of your time with the others. Nothing can take that away from you.

I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.


just bob said...


I am so sorry to hear what happened. It seems none of us can escape the fires that are ravaging the state. I know nothing that I can say will bring back some of those precious cats, but animals are resilient and made have made their way to some sort of safety.

Please know my heart goes out to you. I don't know you all that well, but I do know feeding the cats means a very great deal to you and it brings you solace and peace. I'm not a religious person, but you are in my thoughts. Never be afraid to lean on your friends for support. With enough of us standing together, there's no way we can fall.

just bob said...

The first "made" should have been "may". I told you yesterday that I spoke fluent Suzannese.

CIELO said...

Oh sweet friend, appreciate the mystery and paradoxes of life, do not let apprehension steal your joy, we will always be surrounded by multitudes of causes and consequences inherent to this life... just appreciate the fact that life is complex and believe that God will make everything right for you one day.



Maithri said...

Sending you love across the miles my friend,

May their softness and joy live on in you,


Leah said...

Oh, dear, Miss S, I come back from the Adirondacks and this is what I find. I'm really very sorry. But you are and have been such a good friend to all your animals, I'm so proud of you and know you'll continue to do all you can through adversity.

You know, others have said it to you, and maybe I've said it before, but I'll say it again, because it's true--it's hard to feel so deeply about things as you do, but as a "deep feeler" myself, I've always thought it is, in the end, worth it in some ineffable makes life more vivid maybe, and lets you care about things and help where you can...

anyway, xoxoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

Hillary is so beautiful! I feel terrible about the fire and all the other little animals that were there. Again, I sit here reading your blog, with tears running down my checks! At least your space was safe and so was Hillary, more might be safe, just afraid to come out at the moment! Have faith and keep us posted. Lots of hugs {{{{}}}} going your way.

kylie said...

i have heard lots of stories about cats who disappear after a fire and come back a day or two later and i'm hoping that yours are just hiding out til they feel safe.
i'll post a prayer for you later today, until then, breathe deeply and have faith that hey are survivors

Cecile said...

Cats are so resiliant Suze,
I would almost bet that if Hilary survived that the babies did too. She most likely sensed the danger and moved them to safty. Please don't stress yourself over it. If they didn't survive, just think of it as Mother Nature's way of taking care of things.

Gig said...

I am so sorry about what you have been through at the park. Everybody before has expressed my feelings too. I am glad that Hilary was there, and hope her babies are ok. I too think maybe the other kitties are hiding waiting for everything to settle down. I will be thinking good thoughts and prayers for all the animals. Please take care of yourself, cuz they need a healthy Suzanne!!

Love you,

Skeeter said...

Hi Suzanne,

This really puts a face on the wildfires they show us on the television at night. Glad you got through to feed the kitties. The ones who made it through the blazes are going to need some extra care in the hard times to come. Hope you can rescue Hillary. She's a cutie.

Best wishes,

Suzanne said...

Thanks Travis. I will.


Suzanne said...


Hi honey. I'm crossing everything I have.

I don't think I can respond to comments tonight because you're only my second and I'm starting to cry. I don't even know if I can blog anymore. I feel very empty.

I love you baby. The roses are still looking good, but the suckers won't open. They are such little stinkers. I think they'll dry well, so I'll still have you hangin' around at Christmas.

Thanks again for the beautiful bouquet.

Love you,

Suzanne said...


Thank's for your beautiful words. You're right. I should be grateful. Hillary made it and Emma (Ireland's sister) showed up today, and somehow my little space made it. It is a miracle because as I looked at all the devastation today, I couldn't help but wonder who had protected us. But to watch Emma try to figure out where to go after she ate just broke my heart. Her home is gone. It simply vanished and there's no where to go. It's all black and ugly. I'm still missing a few kitties and the skunks (yes, the skunks think they're kitties and are very funny ~ I love and feed them too). We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Love you dear friend and thank you.


Suzanne said...


How am I ever going to make it though this comment page. I don't know. Thank you sweetheart. It's pain that is so raw, but I'll make it. I try to imagine my life a month from now and I think I'll be fine if I can just get through 30 days. Why is life so hard? Why?

If I don't stop crying I'm never going to get throught this comment, so I'm going to knock it off.

I love you and thank you for your support. I'll keep you informed. And yes, it's a very rugged area because it's wilderness. It's just off the river. The area near the bike trail is pretty flat, but for firefighters very hard to navigate because of all the undergrowth. I can't imagine being a firefighter and coming into the area for the first time and having to find my way. They managed to stop the fire within 5 feet of the area where I feed my kitties and I can't believe it. I looked very closely today and I just cried. What they do is remarkable.

Love you dear friend,

kylie said...

posted for you suze, it's different to my usual so i hope it means something
much love

Suzanne said...


Thank you my dear. I can almost feel every prayer. Getting through this day has been so difficult and I'm now at the beginning of a a new day and I have no idea how to get through it. You all help.

Helping ferals is an honor. They have changed my life and so has Discovery Park. To experience such loss and pain is indescribable. I feel the same way I felt during the San Francisco earthquake when our early 1900's brick bank collapsed around us. We were all over the news, but a camera couldn't capture the horror. This feels like that. And I'm not a writer. I'm not Travis, Leah, Kylie or Bob, so I can't find the words to express my grief. I just know I hurt and that one day this will be okay, but not right now.

Thank you for your kind words and prayers. I need this next week to hurry up so I know what I have to deal with.

Thank you my dear,

Suzanne said...


Hi honey. Between writing to Debbie and writing to you, Kylie posted a pray for me on her blog. I just read it, so I come here in tears and humbled. I'm going to get through this. I know that. I just need a little bit of time to find my way. I haven't found it yet. I just feel sick and broken. I can't eat or sleep and have no idea how to pick myself up. Maybe that's the answer. I need to pick myself up and give myself a big hug and let me know I'm okay and that life is life, and it goes on.

I love you.

kylie said...

just so's you know ....i don't always have words for what i feel but i will worry away until i have the words, it's therapy. it has taken me literally years to get the words for some things
bless you

Suzanne said...


Hello my dear. I know how you can't deal with people who cry, so everyone reading this, and who knows about that is probably laughing! I'm laughing. Thank you for that. Yes, I'm crying.

Your words mattered a great deal. In all this madness all these comments matter. I can't imagine trying to go through this alone. I never thought I'd be able to write another word on this blog and was going to end it, but reading the comments made me realize life goes on and everything will be okay, eventually. The love and support is real and appreciated. As I navigate this comment page I realize how lucky I am. And as I write all my comments I have to look at Travis holding that poor dead fish (I'M A VEGETARIAN TRAVIS!!! REMEMBER???) That itty-bitty photo's gonna be the death of me.

Honey, everthing's going to be okay. I just need time. Time to figure out what I have to work with and time to heal and adjust. I can't go back and rewrite history, so I'll just do the best with what I have.

Thank you so much for your beautiful words. You have no idea how much they mattered. And what's so funny is I know you can't stand this sort of stuff, but you handled yourself brilliantly.

Love you,

Thank you for

Suzanne said...

Whoops, "Thank you for" should have been deleted.

Anonymous said...

So there is hope!! Hillary AND Emma - that's good, sweetie, that's really good. Hopefully, they will start to turn up day after day.

Keep doing what you're doing sweetie, and everything will start to seem better.

Love ya sweetie,
Peter xxx

Lydia said...

Hello Suzanne,
I'm so sorry to hear of this tragic event that took place. Thank god that Hillary is safe and you saw her. It's something that your spaced was not affected by the fire. This is truly a message from the angels. My heart goes out to you and all you little friends.

Suzanne said...


I love you and you know that. Sometimes when you arrive I exhale. This was one of those moments. I just need a little time to heal and wait for what is to come. Obviously I'm hoping for the best, but I'm also realistic so have been holding my breath. It's nice to exhale.

Take good care of yourself. Love you and I'll visit soon.


Suzanne said...


Hello my sweet friend. Thank you. I still have hope you know. This week will reveal the truth and after getting this far in my comment page, I now realize I'm prepared. I wasn't before coming here. Somehow you all managed to help me realize I'll be okay with whatever comes my way. Yup, I know it's going to be hard, but life goes on. Doesn't it?

It's so nice to see your beautiful face and have you back. I'll stop by to read your words when I can fully absorb them.

Love you,

Suzanne said...

Dearest Leah,

Hi honey. Welcome home.

As I just told Maithri, writing these comments has helped me work though my pain. You're right, I'm very sensitive. When my sister got married a decade ago, something happened and I remember my mom saying to me "Suzanne, you're just too sensitive." I replied "Mom, I wouldn't be any other way because I see things others don't." And I do. I'm sure you do too. It's hard to feel and see so much, but it make life meaningful because apparently we're the only ones!!! Seriously thought, it's a wonderful thing.

You're a very spiritual woman, so I know you have the answer. I'm going to be okay, right? I'm giving myself a month. That's a reasonable time to heal, isn't it? Leah, I feel like my heart is broken. I'm sobbing because it's a new day and I have to go back to the park and I almost can't bare it. But I will. I just have to get through this week and I think everything will be okay.

I love you,

Suzanne said...


Thanks sweetie. I'll keep you all posted. I didn't think I could until now. Responding to comments has helped me find my way. No, I'm not doing very well, but eventually I know I'll be okay. What an amazing mess life can be. Hold on.

Love you dear,

Suzanne said...


Hi honey. Thank you. You know how much your prayer means to me.

I'm going to make it, but today seems hard. Hopefully tomorrow will be easier.

I love you,

Suzanne said...


You're so practical. I'm not. You're the sort of person who thinks with your left brain. I don't. I'm right brain. That's probably why my whole damn left side is numb and void! I'll get through this. After writing all these comments, I know I will, but how soon, I don't know. It's a struggle. Cece, what's I've lost is so much it's hard to describe, but as everyone has encouraged me to think about, life goes on.

I love you so much,

Suzanne said...


Hi you. It's all going to be okay. No matter what I have to deal with, I'll figure it out and move on. And yes, I say that with tears in my eyes. This week is so important because I know the truth will be revealed. So I'm waiting and about to face the second day. Everything's going to be okay.

I love you,

Suzanne said...


Hi honey. Hillary's absolutely beautiful and she's a tough gal. I rescued her and she went insane. I didn't realize she was pregnant and I know she lost her babies because of me. I had her in the carrier for more than 20 minutes then let her go because I knew I couldn't help her at the point in her life. I had my chance and I let it go. I will probably regret that all the days of my life. I don't think I'll ever have that chance again.

She just gave birth again 3 days ago. I can't imagine she was able to save her babies because the fire started so near her den. So it is with the biggest lump in my throat that I open my eyes and start every day.

I love you,

Suzanne said...

Kylie and Peter,

I love you both so much. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. I'm absolutely confident this will get better, but right now if feels just horrible.

Love you,

Suzanne said...


Thank you sweetie. It is a miracle. When I look all around our space, it seems almost impossible, but it isn't. It's still there, it's just that everything else is gone. So it feels as we're an island in a sea of devestation. It's such an odd feeling. On the one hand I'm so grateful, on the other I'm completely lost.

Love you,

Suzanne said...

Sorry, spelled "devastation" wrong and so many other words. Just not thinking. Forgive me.


krystyna said...

It was horrible Suzanne, I know.

Suzanne said...


What do you think happened to the one sentence I was trying to write. Man that made me laugh!


MARIA said...

I love cats too, and dogs,
and all animals.


thanks suz.... fire is in one way a complete destroyer.... it does just eat everything in its path... its odd, what it chooses to save and what not to... but you must, MUST look at it with some positive spin. it is also a way for the planet to be reborn, to give new life where old once stood... i am sorry for you and the potential loss of you feral family... animals are smart, wild ones for sure... if they arent back now, new ones will emerge for your heart to wrap around and care for...

Karen ^..^ said...

Oh my God. that post was so sad to read. I am so sorry for your loss. I love cats, and I feed ferals too.

I am also having to put down one of my oldest and dearest babies, as she is suffering and too sick to come back from. So I know your pain. And I am sorry.

Anonymous said...