After the loss of Honeybee’s grandpa I was thrust into finals. You should’ve seen it: a fit of frenzy taking pictures and editing for my photography class and hand making a box for my bookbinding class. My best study buddy was always Pokie. She’d curl up right next to me. Well, somewhere in there she developed a tumor. At first I couldn’t really tell, but over the next few weeks her neck’s swelling was more than apparent. The vet took wonderful samples of the growth and promised to get back in touch with us with the results. Before they could, though, Pokie’s breathing became strained. I’d been blending up her food, but even that didn’t help. We took her in to the emergency room where they put her on oxygen.

Our test results came in while we waited. A very malignant lymphoma was suffocating our keety. She was suffering and even though it was positively impossible to cope with the fact that all her best purrs were behind her, we had to make the tough decision to say goodbye. I missed her and she was only in the other room. I love how she always curled up on my purse if I wouldn’t sit still long enough. Or would wait patiently for Matt to wake up so she could get her pets.

I never really loved a pet before. The only other cat I had hated me, so I drowned my sorrows on internet cats until I met Matt. For five years my favorite place was next to my Matt and his cat. She was with him for five years while he was single and another five when he was married before. At least 15 years old, but probably 17. She definitely lived a long keety life. Pokie passed from this world on March 16th (the day before Honeybee’s birthday).

Oh, but we miss her. We keep having these ghost feelings of her at our feet.

I framed up this picture of her years ago, now it sits with her empty bowls. I love how she seems bigger than the frame, larger than life. True, when I met her Pokie was a bit overweight. But we developed a system and fed her better quality food and her health had improved. She was always active, always sweet. When we first met I thought she didn’t like me. Or maybe that she did, but she was nipping gently at my hand, either way it was a bit freaky. Turns out she just had a little snaggle tooth. So damn cute. We figured that out because when she didn’t like you she would actually sigh. Very expressive exhalations. As though it took all the strength she could muster to deal with my imperfect pets or not-fast-enough food service. I could tell she loved me cause any time I was bedridden with lady-cramps, she would make biscuits on my belly. How many kitties do you know give massages? Only Pokie. Even on the day she died.


What about you? Have you ever lost a pet that was a family member? Does it get any easier?

rip Pokie Loo




Good Grief

There’s no limit to grieving the loss of a loved one. It’s an ache that fades with time, but can resurface at any moment, sometimes even stronger than before. I look at this photo of Matt’s Grandpa Verl and I’m immediately drawn to tears. Even in a photo of the photo in low lighting his eyes are so alive. He looks as though he’s just won the first prize. In fact, you could say he had. This was his wedding day.

Grandpa & Grandma See, Grandpa Verl’s brother, Joe, married Verl’s wife’s sister, Jackie. Is that confusing? Basically two brothers married two sisters, then purchased adjoining farms and lived happily ever after. The result is a close-knit family with excellent bone structure. Grandpa Verl was laid to rest in a beautiful Catholic ceremony. He looked so peaceful, as though he was only blinking.

His obituary: (source)

Verl John Leonetti (August 19, 1927 – February 18, 2015)

Lifelong resident Verl J. Leonetti passed away Feb. 18, 2015, at Mattie’s Group Home in College Place.

Verl was born Aug. 19, 1927, in Walla Walla to Giovanni Leonetti and Assuntina Cinnanite Leonetti. He attended Prospect Point Elementary and Walla Walla High School. Verl met his wife, Mary, at church in Milton-Freewater. They were married March 12, 1949, at St. Francis Rectory in Walla Walla. Verl served in the Army in 1945 in the occupation of Japan.

Verl enjoyed spending time with his family and loved his dog, Itty Bitty. He lived on his family’s farm and liked to sit outside in the warmer weather and look at the Blue Mountains. He enjoyed doing word searches that kept his mind active. He also loved wrestling whether live or on television.

Verl worked at Rogers Cannery and retired from there after 47 years. He worked on the family truck garden at the farm where they raised vegetables, etc. Verl is survived by his three children; sons, John Leonetti (Sandi) and Mike Leonetti; daughter, Kathy Leonetti; brother, Joe Leonetti, all of Walla Walla; seven grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Leonetti; brother, Frank Leonetti, who was killed in action during World War II; his sister, Natalie Sumerlin; and his parents.

Viewing and visitation will be held on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. at the Herring Groseclose Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder, Walla Walla. The funeral service will be held on Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, at 2 p.m., also at the funeral home with Father Brian Sattler officiating. Interment will follow at Mountain View Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Walla Walla Community Hospice through the funeral home.

 Shadows of Leonetti Family It’s hard to imagine Grandpa without Itty Bitty. Pictured here with Uncle John, you can tell he needed a hug. Itty Bitty

This is kind of strange to say, and to feel, but this particular grief is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever experienced. Seeing all the family come together in the same place Verl was born, cars lined the driveway, everyone sharing stories. My husband is manly and tough, but sensitive and caring. Even when I thought I knew that about him, seeing him confront his grief was sad and difficult, but beautiful. I felt lucky to be there. We got to go up in the attic where we found all sorts of treasures: an armadillo puzzle, a calendar up on the wall turned to February 1971 and a dead bird. The spread was fantastic, especially Dan’s Famous Salad. Yum-my and well paprika’d.

So, if you’re wondering where all the rest of February went, that’s it. Between school, work and traveling things have definitely not been dull around here. That said, I have a whole heap of posts to share with you. Stay tuned, y’all.

  xo, Sunshine

Matt in a Hat

Somewhere near Ellensberg stood Matt in a Hat

Matt in a Hat

It was cold, but bright as I busied my fingers to capture the light

The way it engulfed him on the edges, absolutely just right

Matt stood there, freezing, with all his might

But, for me, it was the most lovely sight


Sunshine Wray

(in an attempt to briefly brighten your day 🙂 )