I found a bunch of files on mom’s old Dell hard drive in the middle of March of 2013. One was a letter written to two of her friends (from Americorps, I assume) regarding caring for her pets while she was dealing with the declining health of her own mother. She saved it at 9:41 pm on March 31, 2007:


Dear [redacted] and [redacted],

As it stands right now (11:30 p.m.), it doesn’t look good for my Mom.

I plan to get about 5 hours sleep and then to drive to Daytona – if I’m not dizzy.

I’ll change the litter and let Mocha out before I leave.

If you can possibly come in the around 2:00 p.m. and around 8 or 9:00 p.m., I’d really appreciate it.

Also, if you can take Mocha to Northwood Oaks vet hosp on 34th St., and tell them I asked to have her kenneled for Monday and, possibly, Tuesday, it would be great. Their number is 373-7387, and they open at 7:30 on Monday.

The cats both get dry food (Iams), but if you come at lunchtime, you can give Mr. PB some Whiskas (in the upper right cabinet at the end of the counter. I’ll leave a good-sized bowl of food out for the kitties. I hope to be back by Tuesday at the latest.

Please accept the money attached to this letter. I really, really appreciate your help.

My cell phone number is 870-5502. I’m not sure if you guys have a cell phone, but please call me whenever you can. I cancelled my house phone, so you’ll probably have to call me from home.


You are both great, and I love you very much!!!!!



  • My grandmother died on May 4, 2007.
  • Mocha is a chocolate lab that mom loved to pieces. I was very upset with her for getting that dog, because she didn’t have enough money to take care of herself, much less another pet. Any time mom mentioned Mocha to me I bristled and — at best — didn’t want to hear about her. I feel awful about that now, of course. That dog was her best friend for the last few years of her life.
  • Mr. PB was (is?) a cat that, if I remember correctly, lived in the neighborhood and mom sort of adopted.
  • That 5502 phone number was actually my cell number the entire time I lived in Florida and had a cell. I gave it to her when I moved to Los Angeles.