Friday, January 24, 2014
Almost a year without a cat
About this time a year ago (that was when I started writing, at 10:30 p.m.), the stage was set for my first-ever ambulance ride, a surreal and unexpected late Thursday night trip from the workplace to the emergency room. It all turned out fine, but a year later, the memory is strong and the whole experience just as puzzling. But what it really triggers is the realization that, just as unexpectedly, by the following Tuesday, I had put my sweet kitty, Bridget, to sleep to end her suffering from kidney failure. And ever since, I've been a cat lady without a cat. Her picture is still my Facebook cover photo. I smile when I see it -- and I cry whenever I consider replacing it. For years, it didn't take much to bring me to tears, but by the time my Dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, I was aware that I seldom cry. Even as he faced death and then died a year later, I more often just felt the sadness rather than cried. I either accept or am jaded to the fact that our loved ones won't be with us forever, and I thank God for precious moments before my dear Daddy's life came to an end. I'm also grateful for the precious moments God gave me near the end with Bridget -- some moments that were only possible because of my medical emergency a year ago. I guess what makes it hardest now is that I agreed with my husband that we probably would not get another cat until we retire to the farm. Because, truth be told, as precious as Bridget was, she also was a problem kitty who didn't always use the litter box and ruined our carpets. The cat lady could live with the consequenes, but the cat lady's husband, despite his love for the kitty, wasn't as patient and tolerant. The fear of that situation arising again paralyzes me. And so I remain without a cat. Saturday, I will go to Second Chance Animal Sanctuary and spend time with the kitties there. If I'm lucky, one or two will let me hold them and will purr contentedly. My view likely will be prismy, as I smile through tears. Volunteering to spend time with the shelter cats is good, but it doesn't fill the void. In the same way that I prayed for guidance in dealing with the difficult issues while my purring buddy was still alive, I now am trusting God to know my heart and my needs in the current situation. I thank Him for the memories and the lessons -- and the hope for what is to come.