Citrus Heights, United States

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I am really getting sick of this.

I understand that life cannot always be a bowl of cherries, You know, I get that. But come on.

A week ago Thursday I watched my boss/friend/roommate of 10 years die from a ruptured Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, right before my eyes. He was perfectly fine one minute and the next minute he was on the floor and I was calling 911. Marven and I knew he had the aneurysm for about two years now but it was suppose to be at a manageable size. Well, it grew and on Thursday July 26, 2012, it took his life. Marven was 72 years old and one of the best friends I have ever had. We have lived together for over 10 years, worked together for about 12 years, we were always “just friends” and it seemed to others a very odd set up we had here on this mountain with he, my daughter and myself but it wasn’t odd to us, we were a family. Bob, Marven’s nephew moved in with us about a year ago, he and I have been together for 2 years.
On the day that Marven died, Bob got home right after Marven lost conciseness, I had already been on the phone with 911 for several minutes. After a few more minutes passed the 911 operator wanted us to start CPR which Bob did but it was too late. Marven bled to death internally and I saw it happen, he was looking right at me and then just through me. . Life is so fragile.

Well as you can imagine my daughter was devastated, Marven has been like her other parent. With the loss of Roo last November and then Petey in March, this was too much. At the hospital where the ambulance took Marven while trying to save him in route, the doctors came out to tell us that he was already gone when he got there which we already knew, we saw it happen, the paramedics kept doing chest compressions but we knew he was gone. After the doctors walked away Haley looked at me and asked “What did they say?”, all that doctor lingo had her confused. So I told her that Marven didn’t make it and she just started crying instantly. She walked in circles for a moment and then sat down in one of the seats in the waiting area. She took a deep breath and through her sobs looked at me and said “I am really getting sick of this”.

The way she said was so damn cute, heart breaking but at the same time I had to almost smile at her because i understood because I was sick of it too but she said it so cute that you couldn’t help but smile at her. We got through the evening, it was tragic but as always we pulled it together because we knew that this was exactly how Marven wanted to go….quickly. It’s been a tough week though because the everyday routine is broken, he was very much a part of our everyday lives, he was like my other kid most of the time because I took care of him as he had a few medical problems and so it was day in and day out like with a kid. It’s difficult and it is difficult for Haley too so…….

We adopted 2 kittens.

I know, sounds crazy but nothing can heal your heart and bring joy back into your life the way kittens can. And besides, they are rescue kitties, the ones I told you about around a month ago. They are the ones that were dropped off by my friend Sandy’s house, one of them is the one I had to climb a tree to get that day. You can read their story here.

So is it working? I think so… Here see for yourself….

His name was Zebra but Haley changed it to Tigger because of Roo, our sweet boy that died last November.
Here is Tigger….

I know Haley is going to have to work through this sooner or later but the kid has just been through so much. Her Grammy died a couple of years ago also and they were so close too, I mean the kid has been through it.

And I have too.

So she gets Tigger and I get Monkey he is the one I got from the tree, I have named him Monkey, because he acts like a Monkey and we met in a tree. LOL

Here is Monkey…

I keep asking myself if this was really a good decision right now….seems like an odd time to be adopting babies but then I see Haley all curled up with Tigger and I know she needs him right now and he needs her too…I mean some creep just dropped him off on the street and I know it had to be so scary. They both needed to be rescued I think and this is Haley’s first kitten…all of our other cats are her age and older so she doesn’t remember their kittenhood.

As for me…nothing is going to take away the pain I feel right now over losing Marven, he was a great friend and someone who really helped me in so many ways to get to the place where I am now in my life. I will always cherish his memory and I know I will miss him always.

Last night, after I went to bed I felt something next to me, My Mikey was already next to me on my other side and when I looked there was Monkey, he jumped over me and curled up next to Mikey and I…his little purr was so loud that it made Mikey purr and he is deaf….he could feel the vibration. I looked at both of my sweet boys and felt blessed.

Life is beyond fragile, it scares me sometimes, especially now after watching how fast Marven left this world. We really have to cherish every moment that we can get in this life because we really don’t know if tomorrow is going to be here or not.

As for our new kittens, I think we all needed each other and that is always something very special because we also need to take every moment of happiness that comes our way because I think that is what this place is all about. Seems like such a risk to love because losing hurts so much, yet we continue to put our hearts out there because choosing to love is always worth the risk of losing….always.

Marven Stroh
March 24, 1940 – July 26, 2012
Rest my Friend


  • Jan Clarke
    Jan Clarkealmost 2 years ago

    This is such a sad but beautiful story, Jen.It’s a pity Haley had to go through this but at least she knows, for certain, that Marven is gone – you dont have to fudge the truth or hunt around for the “right” words with which to tell a young child that someine important is gone forever.
    Having a new pet to care for, in my opinion, is a very good thing. Tigger will comfort her and she may even talk to him about how she feels, whereas she may not do that with another person. She will have time to deal with her loss at her own pace. And you will, too.
    My best wishes to you and Marven’s family. At least it was quick and he didn’t suffeer. Take care.

  • When it comes to death I have always tried to be very open with my daughter and absolutely honest. Death is just part of life and there is no sugar coating it. Haley actually insisted on seeing Marven in the hospital after he passed away, she wanted to say goodbye and she did. It was difficult but she handled it and the staff thought she was incredibly mature for 7 years old, I did also. Thank you so much for your comment.

    – ibjennyjenny

  • © Kira Bodensted
    © Kira Bodenstedalmost 2 years ago

    OMG – what a story Jen – you are a great writer.
    First of course I am so sorry for your loss. He looks and sounds like a wonderful man.
    Next ..congratulations on the new addition to the family.
    My heart goes out to you – I hope you will find solace – I know you will you’re a strong woman.
    Big hugs across the Ocean…
    Kira ♥

  • Thank you Kira. Yes, we will be ok…and the kitties are so sweet.

    – ibjennyjenny

  • Josie Jackson
    Josie Jacksonalmost 2 years ago

    I’m in tears …… this is so sad Jenny, broke my heart, losing a friend or family member is always really hard, I’ve lost so many in my family people, dogs, horses, we cry, we get mad, and the word WHY always comes to mind….. Life is hard and I hate it sometimes, I still cry for my losses as will you and Haley, but we are strong and I think bringing in the kittens at this time is not such a bad idea, gives you something else to focus on, you will still grieve, but the kitties will help, animals are amazing and understand more than we think.

    Marven looks like he was a very kind man and sounds like you all had a wonderful relationship, much like one I had years ago, my friend Gordon, who took me in, he was in his 90’s, I looked after him he looked after myself and my boy,I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for Gordon and I lost him last year, his car went off a bridge and he was found inside the car with his dog under the water, such a terrible death for such an amazing man and I’ve just lost my mother, it just seems to go on and on, I find that the older I get the more it happens. On a bright note, we have our precious children and our animals who make us laugh and show us that life does have a beautiful side to it. My heart goes out to you Jenny and Haley. God Bless you both and I shall pray for Marven…… Love and Hugs… Josie xox

  • Marven was a great man, a great friend. Yes it does seem to be happening more and more the older I get, it never gets easier though. Life is crazy hard sometimes but all the beauty that it also brings seems to always outweigh the difficulties, not at the time when things are rough but when you see your child holding her first kitten or you hear your best friend the cat purr at the vibration of your voice when you know he cant hear it. It’s all the little beautiful things that happen that help us survive those tragic moments we suffer. We know with the loss that we will love again, we hold onto that and we make it through. Thank you so much for your comment and I am sorry about your mom and Gordon.

    – ibjennyjenny

  • MarieG
    MarieGalmost 2 years ago

    You are such a special person dear Jenny….Marven was a very lucky man to have you as a friend…and Haley a very lucky girl to have you as a mom…Your story is simply devastating and both, you and Haley, will need some time to heal……….I think you are giving your daughter wonderful tools that she will be using throughout her life…by showing her that life is a circle…and death is part of it…and the most important thing in life is not to be afraid to love…even if it involves hurting at times…!
    You guys have been through such a dramatic experience with the death of Marven…you deserve to be surrounded with a whole lot of love to comfort you…those kittens come at such a perfect time…they will help take care of some of that pain….
    I really admire your courage and strenght…you are one special lady…Both Haley and you will probably go through some rough times for a while but time will do it’s thing…we never forget the ones we have lost…but each day that goes by becomes a little easier…
    My heart goes out to you dear Jenny…I am truly sorry for your loss…Hugs to both you and Haley…and may Marven rest in peace…..Marie x

  • You are so kind, thank you so much. I know we will get through this, its really difficult now but it will get easier. Marven and I both valued each others friendship a great deal. Our relationship had changed so much over the years going from me being his property manager to being almost his caregiver. We loved each other, I liked caring for him, I will miss that. I am so glad I don’t seem out of my mind for adopting kittens right now….I just knew they would help and that we would help them too. They are such little lovers too, very sweet little boys. Thank you for understanding as you always do, I appreciate you and respect your opinion so much.

    – ibjennyjenny

  • Robyn Carter
    Robyn Carteralmost 2 years ago

    Very sorry to read this Jen. The kittens won’t fill up the big hole, but they definitely will take away the sting.

    My condolences to your family.


  • Thank you so much.

    – ibjennyjenny

  • PatChristensen
    PatChristensenalmost 2 years ago

    Unsure what to say you have touched me with your sharing. First let me say I am so sorry for your loss it is never easy my prayers for time and more love to ease the pain. You have given your daughter valuble tools for future lessons, you should be proud your love shines through for her by your actions. Life is a circle we’re born, we live, we love, and then we die it is the same for all. By providing your child with the kittens you are giving her more to love and be loved by . The greatest thing we have while here is to love and be loved and you are showing her that love out weighs the pain, continue to love even in the face of losing that which we love and you will make it through. Again thank you for sharing and reminding us all life is short, too short. Huge Hugs Pat

  • Thank you so much for being so kind. My daughter has really had to look at death in a way most kids her age usually don’t. It’s been tough but I believe she will be stronger because of the experiences she has had to endure and I believe she will always love deeper.
    I have never sugar coated death with her, some parents feel the need to protect their kids from the reality of death but it is the reality and I personally believe that kids do better when they know instead of wondering. Haley is amazing in how she honors those who have passed also, together we embrace the process, it’s really the only way to get through it for us. Thank you again for your comment.

    – ibjennyjenny

  • Carol and Mike Werner
    Carol and Mike...almost 2 years ago

    Sympathies, Jenny . . . adopting the kittens sounds exactly right!

  • Thank you so much. I was so worried that it was the wrong time, I am glad it doesn’t sound like a bad idea to others. I love animals so much and would never want to get them purely for our own needs. I had been wanting to get Haley a kitten for so long now because I wanted her to be able to have the experience of raising them from kitten hood. Having five cats already though has made me put it off until now….and now I have 7 cats. LOL

    – ibjennyjenny

  • laruecherie
    laruecheriealmost 2 years ago

    So sorry to hear about the loss of your dear friend! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I hope the cats help ease the pain even if just a little during this difficult time.

    Several years ago, I lost a co-worker/friend to an aneurysm. She was in her 20’s. She was happy and smiling then left this world so unexpectedly. Since that time, they have created a non-profit organization in her honor.

  • Thank you for your kind comment. I am sorry to hear about your friend. Aneurysms of any kind are very scary to me, they are most often so silent in their taking of a life. Having no symptoms directly prior to death is frightening.

    – ibjennyjenny

  • Chris Gudger
    Chris Gudgeralmost 2 years ago

    We both have had too much death in our lives thei year. Me, I lost three cats (Cici , Tiger Toby and Arwen). You have lost a cat, a dog and one of the most important humans in your life. I can only offer you all the empathy that I can. It may sound simplistic, but you taught me that the pain of their loss is a small price for all of the love and good memories that you shared in your lives. Marven sounds like a real cool and wonderful guy.

  • Oh Chris, it’s been a crazy year, it’s been a crazy few years actually. Reading here that you have been able to create something positive from what has happened really makes me smile. Losing the ones we love is always difficult…..but to have never loved them would be tragic.
    Marven was absolutely a great guy, he had a very kind heart and a loving spirit and I know I will miss him the rest of my life….he taught me so much, I will always be grateful.

    Thank you my friend, thank you.

    – ibjennyjenny

  • Chris Gudger
    Chris Gudgeralmost 2 years ago

    When I first read this, the pictures did not work. When I saw the picture of Haley with Tigger, I knew it was so totally right for you to adopt these two kittens. Both are beautiful. Monkey reminds me a bit of Roo.