“Kitty Cat Kitty Cat…”
“Kitty Cat… Kitty Cat” That was what I thought I heard while lying in bed one morning.
It was a sunny October morning in 1985…”Kitty Cat… Kitty Cat”…I heard it again! I was sure that was what I heard, in a whisper coming from my son CJ’s nursery. (His little nursery was actually a small little room adjoined to my bedroom. The sun rise would shine so beautiful in through the tiny window in my son’s nursery, made it such a perfect little room filled with warmth. I decorated with little sleepy time teddy bears.) I was tiptoeing closer too the nursery doorway. The door was one of those BI-fold open slit doors. I always left the door open at night so I can hear if he stirred at night. (CJ…that’s what I called him…short for Curtis Jr.) I stood outside his door. “Kitty-cat, Kitty-cat”… whispering came from his room again… What could that be? I thought. He’s only 6 and 1/2 months old…it couldn’t be him… I peeked in around the corner. CJ was sitting up in his crib. “Kitty-cat, Kitty-cat” his little lips were moving! I couldn’t believe my ears! I had to stand there longer just to make sure. “Kitty-cat, Kitty-cat!” I stepped in closer; the floorboard creaked and gave away my hiding spot. He turned and saw me and screeched excitedly. He pulled himself up using his crib rail and giggled. I reached in and picked him up and hugged and kissed him. I smoothed his blonde hair and looked into his big blue eyes and said “Silly baby boy! I thought first words were supposed to be momma or dadda?” “No-one is going to believe me! ”
CJ and I used to sit in the living room on the floor on an oval braided rug. I would sit cross-legged and plop him right in the middle of my lap. I had a children’s book with hard thick shinny pages filled with photos of all sorts of kittens playing. Every day, we’d sit there and I’d make up wonderful stories about the kittens as I’d point to each one I’d say “ooh…look at that kitty-cat! And look at that kitty-cat”. There were so many photos silly kittens playing. He’d put his hand on the kittens pictures and screeched with excitement all the while I was pointing to them and saying “ooh…look at that kitty-cat!”
“I just killed our son.” My husband said too me as I walked in the front door.
It was a Sunday. January 12th 1986, 9pm. The day will be etched in my memory for eternity. I had just come home from work. I was a cashier at a local super market a few blocks down from our apartment house. When CJ was 9 months old, my husband was laid off from work. I worked part time at a local super market down the street at night so he could look for work in the day. It was too expensive for daycare or a baby sitter and this way we could both take turns watching him grow up and being able to witness his first steps and first words etc.
“What do you mean you just killed our son?!!!” He just stood there in the doorway with a blank stare on his face. I shook my head in disbelief and thought to myself… “what the heck is he talking about.” I turned and looked at him. He was still standing there in the doorway with this strange look on his face; then I noticed he had his coat on and thought how odd that was. I got a horrible feeling in my gut and became frantic and said, “Where is he?” He just stood there with that blank look on his face. Then he pointed toward our bedroom. I quickly went into the room. We had a king-size bed that took up most of the room. I had to walk around it to get to my son’s nursery. As I walked around the bed, something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. A tiny little figure in the upper right corner of my bed…It was my son. He was lying still…Lifeless. As I ran toward him I noticed the blood, it was everywhere. His beautiful little perfectly shaped head was no longer round, more like flattened, his soft blonde hair caked in blood… a scream tore out of me before I knew I was even screaming. I felt it coming from bowels of my soul. I could feel my heart crushing. I just screamed and screamed….”This sort of thing only happens in the movies… please tell me this is not happening too me… to my baby!!! Please!!! I must be having a nightmare!!!! Please someone wake me up from this horrible nightmare!!”
“Come on mommy!!! You can do this…don’t be sad” As the next days, nights, weeks started to blur into one, my friend Kim would say..”you know Shirl, CJ is up in heaven and looking at you right now..and telling you not to give up..come on mommy! You can do this don’t be sad..” “Do it for him!” With that and the love and support of my many friends and family, I somehow found the strength to go on. I went on to speak with other’s who had lost loved ones violently. We participated in group therapy sessions. I found myself becoming an advocate for crime victims. The group we had went to Albany to petition for bills and laws for homicide victims.We actually got some passed.
Life saving words those were and still are.. “Come on mommy! .. You can do this..don’t.. be sad..” I force myself to remember these words of wisdom.
“I can’t believe this is happening again”
A few years had passed since CJ’s death and I met a man who I thought was my soul mate. In November of 1991, I gave birth to another little boy (Dylan). I had complications during childbirth and as I was about to deliver him I had to have an emergency C-section. As they were putting me under, I remembered saying, “please God… I don’t care what happens to me, just don’t let anything happen to my baby”! I woke to find I had given birth to a beautiful little boy. In all my wildest dreams, I could not believe I could ever be that happy again.
Sunday, January 5th 1992, 1 week from the anniversary of CJ’s death, Dylan was 7 weeks old; I woke to find him not breathing. He was rushed to the hospital where he would later be pronounced dead. Dylan died of SIDS. I don’t remember much of that day or for the months to follow except how much my heart ached. I was a zombie, just a shell of a person wandering aimlessly. How in the world could this happen to me again? After a while, I tried somehow to find a reason to go on. I forced myself to believe that I guess it was better to have had him for 7 weeks than to have lost him at birth. I had to convince myself because it was the only way I could cope.
“Cancer?!!” (If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all..)
In 2001, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (Cancer of the lymphatic system). There are aprx 38 or so different types of NHL. I have relapsed/refractory follicular, B cell, CD20 postitve, center cell stage, IV. (Stage IV because it’s above and below my diaphragm and in my bone marrow. My tumors were so massive inside my body I had no choice but to undergo aggressive chemotherapy. As I under went Chemotherapy, I lost all my hair. At the same time (as luck would have it or not) I also lost my job. To make matters worse, I fell and broke my leg in 7 places and detached my deltoid tendon from my foot. I needed 2 plates and 8 screws to hold my leg together. Because of all this, I gained a lot of weight. My so-called soul mate, who I thought was the love of my life, then told me I wasn’t good enough for him anymore. I found out he had been cheating on me pretty much the entire time we were together. I was living a lie and he was swearing to it. My heart was crushed (again)…now only Band-Aids hold it together. (If it wasn’t for bad luck…yada yada yada) “I know… it sounds like a bad country song, all I need now is an old pickup truck and a dog that ran away.”
Well, to say the least, I was pretty down and depressed. I started drinking a lot to try and forget I guess, but no amount of alcohol can make anyone forget, and it really didn’t help… It just kinda made me numb. I wanted to give up, but I had already fought so hard not too, it would seem like such a waste. I don’t consider myself a quitter. I didn’t know what to do anymore.
Angel’s Do Exist!
One day I was visiting my mom and she said, “you know, you should get a cat”… she said “I have a cat and she makes me happy”. I told her my landlord didn’t allow cats. I said, “besides…If I could ever have a cat, I’d want something small that always looked like a kitten, and there is no such cat. I’d also like a cat that is talkative (like Siamese cats) but I don’t want a Siamese. I’d want something different.”
Not long after telling my mom about my imaginary cat, we heard this meowing outside. My mom went out to investigate and said “look what I found outside!” as she held a tiny, little brown, gray and black striped, spotted cat with a white chest and white paws and a little pink, black and white nose. We were both surprised! The little kitty couldn’t have been more than 6 months old, if even that… she was so tiny. Poor little thing looked very scared and seemed really hungry. I gave her some of the cat food my mom had for her cat and she gobbled it up. She seemed to like me right away and cuddled in my lap and started to purr. My heart melted.. I couldn’t help but fall in love with this cute little kitty cat.
The next day, my mom and I took her to the vets to get her checked out. When I asked how old she was, the vet she must be at least 4 years old. I was surprised and said “but, she’s so tiny… are you sure?” The vet said judging by her teeth, yes she was sure. She said “some cats are just tiny.” I decided I couldn’t let her go… I didn’t care, I’d fallen for this little kitty… something in my gut was telling me not to let her go. (I’d figure something out with my landlord.) I held her in my arms, looked into her eyes and said, “well little one if you’re going to be living with me, we’ve got to come up with a name for you. So, what could your name be?” She looked up at me in the eyes and meowed, and as she did the name Gabrielle popped into my head. I smiled and I thought, how fitting…Gabrielle…my very own little guardian angel kitty. And just then I thought back to CJ… his first words were “kitty cat”… I couldn’t help but think he was sending me a message… “Come on mommy… you can do this!”
So I guess angel’s really do exist! They come in all shapes and forms and sometimes they meow. ❤
This is a true story of my life… my name is Shirley Dolitz, my son’s name is Curtis William Shaw Jr.
His father (Curtis William Shaw), was sentenced to 8 – 25yrs for manslaughter and sent prison. But, because of our lax prison system, “loopholes”, NYS & HIPPA laws, he is now out of prison. I have no idea where he is… so be careful world… he IS a very dangerous man.
(On February 14th 2017 at 4am My sweet guardian angel kitty cat died peacefully in my arms as I sang to her, thanked her for saving my life and rocked her gently. As I promised her from the start, she’ll be with me always, her paw prints are forever etched into my heart. ❤️)
In the upper left corner is a picture of CJ. This picture was taken 2 nights before he died.
The lower left corner is Dylan.
A day never goes by that I don’t think of them.
Sweet Teddy Bear Dreams my sweet little angels.