Good Grief

This morning was like every other morning. I got up, fed the cats and let the dog out. I walked back to the kitchen, made my coffee, let the dog in, and gave her the requisite dog cookie. She snatched it up cheerfully and ran upstairs–like usual.
But, this morning was unlike every other morning. Instead of doling out a few spoonfuls of wet food for each cat and mixing the portions with warm water, I opened up a new can, took a couple of scoops out for Mia and let Min have the rest. I think she relished every bite.
I usually listen to the radio while I have my coffee, and then head upstairs to have quiet time with God. This morning I waited for Min to finish, helped her find the water dish and carried her up to rock with me awhile–I wanted to spend as much time coddling her as I possibly could.
As I got ready for the day I let her go wherever she wanted. It just didn’t matter if I had to clean up any more messes anywhere–not today.
As the time drew near I rocked with her some more. I stroked the fur over her skeletal frame and remembered how mean she was when we first got her. As I rocked and wept, I thought about how she slowly transformed over the years into the most wonderful cat a family could have.
They say your life flashes before your eyes when you know you’re about to die. Funny, in those last moments I got to spend with her, it seemed as though a virtual timeline panorama of the past eight or nine years with Min rolled through my memory.
I watched her chasing Loco and Mia up and down stairs–the three of them tumbling over each other, a flurry of fur and wagging tails. Saw her sitting poised by the refrigerator door for endless hours. Remembered how she loved to cuddle up around our heads and nudge us, sliding her face along our cheeks.I almost changed my mind this morning… again. Maybe just a little longer… But, no–I’d made the decision (and the call) yesterday, and I knew it was time. I was no longer able to control where she messed, which tended to be my computer desk, lately. Yesterday, as I was disinfecting it for the umpteenth time, and thinking to myself, “I can keep doing this, it’s not that hard,” my daughter’s words rolled through my mind once more: Mom, we need to put her down.

When I found her sitting up on the desk and it was clean, I wondered if I’d jumped the gun–until I went to use the keyboard and it started leaking.
Even so–it was so hard. Love makes you lose your bearings sometimes. She’d gotten to the point of being perpetually soiled under her legs, so I had to pick her up with a sheet or blanket–but, that was okay, it was nothing, really.

Last weekend I made the decision to put her down when it seemed as though she was suffering, but as I held her, I felt the Lord telling me to wait.
The kids and I prayed for a dog once, and God restored him to life. I wondered if God would restore her, and so I prayed earnestly. For a couple of days she seemed to bounce back, and I thought we were in for another miracle. But it was short-lived.
I wondered why–why the emotional roller coaster ride if He knew this was where it would lead?
Today I know.
This past week God has taught me things, and reached depths in my heart that desperately needed to be reached. I was awed, again, with how precious life is–all life. I know that God was reminding me to choose life; choose life whenever possible.
Min likes to go outside, and I’d brought her out on the front lawn a few days ago. The neighbourhood kids gathered round and loved on her. No royalty or celebrity could possibly have garnered as much adoration as she did that day, each one waiting for their turn to hold her and pet her.

Children always choose life. Something happens to us along the way that clouds our eyes from seeing what our hearts instinctively know.

I cried a lot this week, and especially yesterday and today. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been healing. As the grief gives way to treasured memories, and a knowing that I am walking through a whole new season of my life, I am comforted and infused with calm.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted…

12 comments

  1. Oh Heather.. This is so sad and touching. You are truly a great writer. YOu expressed Min’s passing is such a way that was almost (perfection). I gleaned from your words concerning life. HOw many times have I said, “LOrd take me now”. There is life abundant for us right until the very end and then some.. Thanks Heather for your words and my heart aches for your loss.

  2. Having just finished reading this entry on mourning (a major, ongoing theme in my own household for many years now) all I can say is it blew me away. I can’t remember the last time I read something so poignant. Every word spoke to my oft-broken heart. You have a true gift, Heather. Thank you for sharing it with the world.

    • Thank you for your generous response to this, Erin. I’m so sorry to hear that grief has been major and ongoing in your life, and I hope, one day, to be able to read your story. The first thing that attracted me to your blog was, well–the name, but, after that, the way you put words together. I’m blessed to be able to follow along.

  3. Heather,

    Ohhh, my heart breaks for you and the hard decision you had to make. Our pets are very dear and a true gift from God. I treasure them so much. Waiting, and hearing from God about this decision. Then, learning and communing is true insight to his love for us all. To experience that so closely is not something that everyone gets. You are very blessed and your writing on it is extraordinary. I know it will touch a lot of grieving pet owners.

    Thank-you for sharing such a moving story. I am comforted and pray you are too.

    • Thank you so much for your compassionate and very kind words, Angelia. I know most of the grieving is behind me, now–but it’s been a mixed emotional bag of nuts for me this morning. First, not having her to feed or hold, and now–as I go through the chore of washing all that belonged to her, it just sort of punctuates the finality of it. Being able to shed those tears as they come is what’s keeping me afloat.

      I’m extremely grateful for your feedback, especially at this extremely busy (and exciting) time of your life. When others would be putting the rest of the world on hold, you are graciously continuing to reach out. May it all come back to you a hundred fold. 🙂

  4. Can’t believe the timing of this. Sixteen years ago my son fished a kitten out of a swimming pool. Asked the people about her and they said it must have been a stray. He brought her home and named her Angel. Now she is very feeble and almost blind and we are facing the same heart-breaking task.

    • So good to hear from you, Jean. I feel blessed that the timing is so right, but am sorry to hear that you are facing the same struggle. Our pets become part of who we are, really–and losing them is like tearing out a piece of our heart.

      I hope that this post will help, in some small way, to ease the pain.

      Thanks so much for checking out my blog.

  5. I loved this post. I stumbled upon one of your 100 word stories…about the beach, and the little girl named Chelsea. I loved how your words painted such a beautiful picture, and I had to read it a few times through. What a gift you have. That led me here, and I laughed with your post about being politically correct.

    But this one, oh how I can relate. I lost my 13 year old daughter to cancer a few years ago. She would have been 17 a couple of days ago, and the grief hit so hard. One thing I’ve learned though is how it slows us down. Your love for Min makes me smile…

    http://www.celestemc.blogspot.com

    • Thank you so much for dropping in, Celeste, and for your kind and encouraging words. Your grief touches me deeply–you have been walking one of the hardest roads a parent could ever walk; I could never imagine how profoundly painful it must be at times. Such a resilient response is a blaring testimony to God’s grace, and the strength He gives us to do the impossible. You have blessed me beyond words by dropping in.

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