In April, we lost a very special person, my mother Geri Erb. She was 10 days shy of her 89th birthday when she peacefully passed from this world. Geri was a homemaker and raised four daughters, many times by herself as my father, an air force pilot, was often away. She would go on to marry twice more and retire from a career in a large department store. The dogs and cats who lived with us were family members; there was never any question of them being “just animals.”
People often ask me if I got my mom interested in cat rescue or vice versa. I think we both fell into it at the same time. Geri was extremely generous and helping animals and people was second nature to her. Over the years her volunteer work included answering the phones/fielding the front desk at a nonprofit animal shelter, fostering kittens and cats, staffing fundraisers, and helping at at a high volume spay/neuter clinic. Geri also became a trap/neuter/return volunteer when she found a colony needing help at the mall she worked at. She didn’t expect others to take care of it - she borrowed traps and made a plan. We had talked for years about starting a cat sanctuary and I’m still amazed that my mom agreed to sell her house and car and leave her comfortable life in Arizona to make the trek up to chilly, wet Washington with her 5 cats.
This past winter, Geri had planned to spend the holidays in Arizona, visiting family and long time friends. She ended up remaining there due to health issues that prevented her from traveling. We talked often and she would ask how her cats were doing. It is a small comfort that her days were filled with visits from all the people she had missed during her five year stay in WA. I plan to host a Celebration of Life honoring my mother’s dedication and commitment to cat rescue at Flower Feline Sanctuary this summer, date to be determined.