Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Goodbye, sweet kitty

 I said goodbye to my kitty Tuesday evening.   Bridget had kidney failure and had declined rapidly this weekend. I feel so sad.  I will be OK though. She was such  a precious little buddy. I'm grateful to God for the 12-plus years we had together. I will miss her greatly.  

But it was time.  She wasn't eating and could barely walk. She kept drinking water but wasn't peeing. And  I couldn't  tear myself away from her.  

Monday it  was  agonizing to watch her. She hardly moved. After sleeping a couple of hours after my colonoscopy, I spent the rest of the night in the dining area, mostly on the floor by her. I tried to get myself to go to bed, but knew the end was near, and I wanted to stay with her as long as possible. 

Tuesday's Jesus Calling devotional had timely words for me, including Isaiah 26:3: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee."

Evidence of God's providence included  that I was at home instead of at work Friday night and Monday night to be with her.

I feel God's peace, presence and love. He knows my heart. I trust Him and thank Him for leading me along this path. As Monday's  reading reminded me, "He is with me  always!"

And so, on Wednesday, the new normal began. 

I miss her. Miss her. Miss her.

  Miss her on my legs when I wake up.

  Miss her pushing the door to the bathroom open while I'm in the shower and waiting for me to pet her when I get out. 

Miss her standing in front of the food cabinet even though there is food in her bowl. 

Miss that look that tells me I need to sit down so she can get on my lap and purr. 

Miss that sweet face, that little orange patch, her short, stocky body, her amazing purr. 

Miss her smell -- yes, even the troublesome ones. 

I wish people and pets didn't have to get sick. 

I  am  grateful for the time we had.  I am grateful  that I've learned to treasure moments.  I am praying  to know how to keep the right balance. 

I believe she was a gift from God. He taught me and blessed me in so many ways with my special kitty, and I'm pretty sure the lessons and blessings are not over. 

As was the case with my Daddy -- his life and illness and eventual death -- God continues to show His love and mercy and providence and blessings. 

I thought of Daddy constantly as I was tending Bridget in her final days and hours. Now as then, I am so  grateful I was able to be present. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

The strange and unusual year continues

For someone who enjoys sharing her odd experiences and observations on Facebook, the past 24 hours are problematic. How can I tell you about my midnight ambulance ride from the workplace to the ER without having to divulge a bunch of details best left unshared? (I never, ever, expected to be the test subject on how the ambulance would get to our building after hours in our current lease/security arrangement, but I guess someone had to.)

Suffice it to say I am grateful for co-workers, my husband and emergency medical responders. The systems work! And I was home by 4 am, still somewhat amazed by the commotion I caused, but overwhelmed with relief that all seems to be well and pain-free for the moment.   

Other than the disruptions I caused at work and for my husband in those overnight hours, my biggest regret now is that I will miss work tonight and Monday and the talent show at church on Sunday. I was all ready to sing! Fortunately, I can go to my 12-step meeting tomorrow and worship Sunday.  

And on Monday, I hope to start getting answers to some more of my ongoing medical mysteries! Prayers are appreciated as the first month of 2013 continues to be nothing like I ever would have expected.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Not much, but something

It's deadline and I needed to write something. So now I have: Something.

This doesn't seem original. I've thought about doing this before, if I haven't actually done it.

The trick is that writing "something" or "anything" is supposed to trigger something better. But it doesn't always work. This seems to be one of those times.

I need to let it be OK.

And so I will.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Just when I think the answer is clear .....

Just as my life in 2013 has gotten off to a slow, somewhat uninspired, start, so has my blog. What follows, written as a note on my phone probably about 7 a.m. Saturday -- after less than 4 hours sleep and before going back to sleep for a little longer -- is possibly the most impassioned yet clear thinking and writing I have done this year. I thought it led to a clear answer, even if I didn't like the answer. But, as so often happens, God seems to have other plans. And for that, I thank Him again!



She won't stop peeing on the carpet. Gene is at the end of his rope, and I don't know what to do. Lord, I've prayed and prayed. We've tried and tried. I don't know what to do. I believe, Lord, You have the answer and that You are the answer to every question or dilemma I face. The only answer I see you giving on this one is to get rid of the kitty - to put Bridget to sleep.


>> We can keep spending money on the vet and on cleaners, but none of it will fix this. Treatment makes her -- and us -- as miserable as the pee problem. Shots, pills, restricted areas, kitty diaper -- she would not accept any of these.

>> Is there a nursing home or longterm care facility for possibly senile, incontinent cats? But even if there were, i am pretty certain she would hate it.

>> We cannot keep going like this. It is affecting Gene's health and well-being, and if I'm honest, I must say it is affecting mine, too. If it were just me, I would probably just be the cat lady living in a smelly house. But it's not just me. As I've written and said in prayer before, Gene's needs obviously come before Bridget's for me. It sometimes seems easier to love the kitty unconditionally than to love Gene that way. But that's when I get the wonderful reminder that I can and will also show Gene that kind of love. And I know that I love God -- and God loves me -- more than I can love either of them.

>> The focus of my prayer now is to continue to lift up all of this. I believe God has the answer. If it truly is to put this kitty to sleep -- this kitty who is such a delight and joy and comfort and gift and inspiration and so much more to me in all ways except this (and maybe I'll someday see it even in this) -- I trust God to show me how: What to say to Gene, the vet, family and friends; how to not be consumed by grief or doubt or shame or guilt or resentment or bitterness or depression; how to let go; how to let it glorify God.

If that is not God's answer, I trust Him to intervene as He did for Abraham with a substitution.

>> For more than two years, this has been probably the most anguishing area of my life. I keep seeing only one answer -- and it still seems cruel and selfish.

And so I will cry a while ... And continue to pray: What to do and how. Lord, I believe You have the answer. Please guide my heart, mind and actions.

I sent my thoughts in an email to Gene, because it really is easier to communicate this kind of stuff in writing than speaking. (Besides, he was up, and I was still in bed and I don't think either of us were in a frame of mind to discuss right then.)

Later, I prayed:

Lord, the prayer on my heart: please help me know what to do about Bridget, to Your glory. Is there any way we can stop this problem of her peeing on the carpet? Or can You help Gene learn to live with it? Please help me KNOW and do Your will, to Your glory. (1/12/13)

And, for that day, and still today, the answer is that Gene also doesn't think it's an option to put a cat to sleep just because she pees on the carpet. So -- instead of a simple but painful action -- we get to continue to learn to live with the stress and emotions and frustration and delight and lessons of not being able to control something we love! Once again. God is teaching me to be faithful and patient. I pray that I am.

(There is also a whole other level that I am not addressing here, such as how God must have known what He was doing when decisions were made that led to us not having kids; and yes, Bridget is a cat -- a cat -- and so many people have more significant crisis involving beloved people in their lives or their own health crises. I know this. And yet -- for whatever reason -- God seems to choose to reach me and teach me through something that pales in comparison. My prayers go out to those facing the much bigger issues, and my praise: Great is God's faithfulness, to all His people.)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Reflections from Jan. 2-8

So many contradictions.

I felt like last year was a time of great personal growth and spiritual progress for me, but when I reviewed things I wrote the first week of last year, I could wonder. Same fears. Same problems. Have I progressed at all?

Yes. I continue to seek and know and to strive to serve God. I didn't have to wait until I was desperate to recommit to the 12 steps and to spiritual growth.

I had hoped to keep things simple, but I am reading more and more. Am I looking for the perfect answer and a sure thing? Or am I simply following where God leads?

This year I am again reading daily selections from "Jesus Calling," "A Prayerful Heart," "The Upper Room," "The Denison Forum," "For Today" and "Voices of Recovery." I've also added daily readings from "My Utmost for His Highest" and a plan from Bible Gateway.

Wow! No wonder I'm not getting anything else except work done. But that's not really true. I'm getting as much done as I would anyway -- which to me never seems like enough -- and my attitude is infinitely better. And I have hope and peace.

I know many people who seem to be struggling to feel the happiness and hope of this new year. Job situations, economic woes and health issues confound many. I've heard people wonder, in jest but with a sense of reality, whether 2013 is destined to be an unlucky year.

We had a guest preacher Sunday, because our pastor was among those sick. Her sermon was just what I and others probably needed: "It Is Well With My Soul." She offered tips for making sure this is the case as well as what to do when it is and is not. It reaffirmed much of what I am learning.

No matter what the year '13 brings, it can be well with my soul. Today, it is well with my soul. For that I am grateful.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

An ordinary day

The first day of 2013 seemed very ordinary. My husband and I are going through a fairly boring stage of midlife. I feel confident it is just a stage. We aren't big on crowds or cold weather these days, plus we both are fighting off colds, as most people seem to be doing right now. So we stayed inside and watched football. 

Last year started off on a very high level of inspiration, with two new devotionals and  all kinds of optimism. Today is much more mundane. I have had to look beyond the surface and feel beyond the physical sensations to find things to be excited about and remind myself why I do think it will be a happy new year. 

I like it when a day such as this is filled with that high level of excitement and inspiration. I miss it when it's not. 

But of this I am confident: Great is God's faithfulness. I prayed and am praying for God's blessing on this year. It is unclear to me where He will lead this year, but I pray to respond in faith and love and with courage to His call.