Mom and I having afternoon tea in London, January 2015.

Mom and I having champagne afternoon tea in London, January 2015.

Next week would’ve been my mom’s 70th birthday. Earlier this month was the first Mother’s Day without her. I don’t expect this to be any easier.

She was originally going to come visit us in Iceland this summer but got mad at me during home leave and decided to go to Alaska and spend her milestone birthday with her friends and family there. I can’t say I blame her. Our relationship had become complicated in the last five years. Happily we’d worked out our little summer issue before she passed away, and she knew I loved her.

I’ve been trying to think of a nice way to honor her memory on her special day and have come across some lovely suggestions…like releasing biodegradable paper lanterns into the air while singing happy birthday. Visiting her grave (not really an option). Watching her favorite movie while drinking copious amounts of wine…I might’ve added that last part.

She also loved cats. We’ve had at least one cat in the house since I was in third grade. And I’m a big fan of the Battersea Dogs and Cats home in London. Not only do they take care of over 8,000 dogs and cats every year, but they were also where Shackleton housed 100 of his sled dogs while preparing for his second trip to the Antarctic. Sadly, none of the dogs made it home. But there are plenty that need love right now!

Battersea Dogs Home started in 1860. Cats joined in 1883 (photo from their website).

The Dogs Home started in 1860. Cats joined in 1883 (photo from their website).

Shackleton dogs on board the Endurance (internet photo).

Shackleton dogs on board the Endurance (internet photo).

And they have several ways you can donate…either small monthly or one-time amounts. They’re currently trying to raise money to build a new hospital and always need support for general overhead. But I found one area I particularly loved.

You can sponsor a kennel or a “Kitty Kabin.” Their website says that “your sponsorship will help provide every cat who stays in your kabin with the shelter, warmth and comfort they need. It will ensure they have all the blankets, treats and toy mice they need to keep them happy and healthy while they wait for their new family to take them home.”

And they’ll send you a personal scrapbook from a cat to let you know who the latest resident is in your kabin. I love it!! There’s even an option on the drop down menu for donating on behalf of a loved one or in lieu of flowers.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I’ll let you know how your kitties are doing.

Mom the first Christmas we had Sasha, December 2009.

Mom with Sasha after we adopted her from the Longmont Humane Society in Colorado, December 2009.