I have noticed over the years that people have a lot in common, and that by sharing our stories we can sometimes help each other get through difficult times because we can see ourselves, and each other, in the story. 

In 1976, I was nine years old when my mother passed away from cancer.  Not long after that I saw the first Star Wars movie, A New Hope, and I couldn’t believe my eyes.  There was this character, Luke Skywalker, and he had lost his family too.  But Luke didn’t cry, he found the force and he used it to bring order to his life.  I decided that if Luke could do it, so could Mark.  I remember sitting at red lights in the back of my stepmother’s car, waving my hand and saying “the light will turn green”.  Guess what, eventually it always did! 

Jumping forward to 2006.  Derek and I got two of the most beautiful Siamese cats in the world.  The kittens were brother and sister from the same litter, and I insisted that we call the boy cat Luke Skywalker.  I wanted to call his sister Leia, but Derek was adamant that he was not going to be sitting in the vet’s office when they called out for Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia to come back to the examining room. We settled on the name Tabitha for Luke’s sister.  

I was right though about Luke, he was a Jedi.  He would look at me with his blue eyes and wherever I was, thinking about something in the past or worrying about something in the future, he would use the force to bring me back to the present.  Somehow he would know that I was back and he would put his forehead to my forehead as if to say “stay here, this is where life is”.  He was a very wise cat and one of my most beloved companions. 

After 12 years, Luke’s health took a turn for the worse.  We did everything that we could, but his kidneys failed and he stopped eating.  As many of you have had to do with your own pets, we made the decision to stop his suffering.  I thought that I would be a wreck, but when he stopped breathing I was actually overwhelmed with a sense of peace.  He was out of pain and in some way, he was free.

Believing that I had the power to change traffic lights brought order to my chaotic childhood.  Believing that Luke is somehow still a part of me, even if that belief is childish, brings me peace at this present moment, which is exactly where he would want me to be.  Mark Ramey

Luke Skywalker - 2006 to 2018