Last week. Not a week I would care to repeat for a long, long time.

By Trish Morgan
For the News Tribune
Last week. Not a week I would care to repeat for a long, long time.
For you see, I experienced the most extensive wealth of emotions - ranging from fear, hopeful expectations, resolve, compassion, helplessness, grief, sadness...and the greatest outpouring of love and understanding I have ever experienced in my entire life.
But, that story is for next week's column. Next week - when perhaps I can sit down at my laptop without two hours of spilling teardrops on my keyboard.
Today - I want to talk about community. Love. Kindness. You know, the basics...the simple things - the things that we humans offer one another as God intended.
I don't claim to have a huge network of friends, or even many close friends. But, I tell you this - I heard from hundreds and hundreds of people last week. Yes, that is the truth. Hundreds and hundreds of people who expressed the most beautiful things to me. People who made me feel so deeply because of the loveliest, most sincere expressions of kindness and love.
Imagine hearing from people all over the country who have followed my story of "Just A Cat" - and then responding to the final chapter with such emotion and compassion. These were the best parts of last week. These people were overcome with emotion themselves, and they reached out to me - a perfect stranger in many cases - and said the most perfect, the most wonderful things.
I still can't bring myself to respond individually to all of them yet, so I thought that I would start by sharing my gratitude in this newspaper column.
Gratitude. Such a marvelous word. It lives in my heart, you know. I am so thankful that these people took the time to reach out to me and say the sweetest things about my Old Fella - an 18-year-old geriatric cat who was once a vagabond, a street urchin even, on the streets of south Cumberland.
Born in the Ann Arbor, Michigan, area, and then somehow making his way to Cumberland until last July - when he was rescued from the "thug life" and brought into my home here in Westernport,  to live out the final chapter - that was my Old Fella.
The final chapter. In my upcoming book about "just a cat,” I had hoped that the final chapter would not have to be written quite this way. But, this is the circle of life - beginning to end and back around to start over.
God has richly blessed me - bringing so many friends into my life who have continued to follow this story about this "just a cat.” People of all walks of life whose words of love and kindness and hope that have inspired me to be a better version of myself. People whose kindness has made my heart fill with such peace - incredible peace. And, a God who understands and listens - a God who hears all prayers and loves even the most small, delicate creatures.
I will always remember and love all of you who came into my Old Fella's life and loved my "just a cat" as if he were yours. To all of you, I say thank you for the love and hope you brought into my life. Your words, your friendship, your prayers and your personal stories of your own extraordinary experiences - all just such meaningful blessings to me.
How so many people came into my life and my silver cat's life - I'm not sure how that happened exactly, to be honest - but, it is one of the most joyous things to ever happen to me...ever. I doubt many have had such a bountiful blessing as this.
Old Fella. If you read my columns, you know of him. If you read the February edition of Allegany Magazine, you know of him. If you are a member of Old Fella's Facebook page, you already know his story. If you have reserved a copy of my upcoming book called "Just A Cat" - you know.
He is, he was magnificent, extraordinary, and so loved. And, next week - read all about "The Final Chapter.” I hope it will touch your very soul.