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December 2012
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February 2013

January 2013

Wicks and Wells

Sam continues to decline and my heart is breaking.  Every decision comes with more questioning and more sorrow, sorrow that seems so disproportionate to the loss I am about to experience... one that I have experienced many many times before.

I keep thinking of the enormity of the losses my friends have experienced just over the last few months.  Watching my kitty leave this life is nothing by  comparison and yet the anticipation of this change feels unbearable.

I can say to myself, he was almost dead when he came to live with us.  He has had a happy life and he has been kept safe and well loved and yet as I sit here in this quiet house anticipating his absence on my pillow at night, I am overwhelmed.

When I lost Shannon I couldn't breathe.  I wept for years, until I finally found the well within my heart where all the tears could go without pouring out onto the people around me.  Over the years, the well has continued to fill and what I have finally realized this morning is that every sorrow is like the wick that reaches into that well bringing every sorrow to the surface once again. 

Our furry family members bring a special calm to a world that at times appears to have gone mad.  They ask only for food and love and they give so much in return.  They fill empty spaces within and without and their departure leaves a void that is hard to explain.

Heaven is  Home.  I don't doubt that truth.  When all is right with my world I can smile when I think of Shannon sitting on her front porch with Digger and Em, Riddle and Yanni and Michoud.  I can appreciate how precious my time with her was and how incredibly she blessed my life, and I know that she is making a special place for Sam...but when sadness touches my world, regardless of how large or how small... I selfishly want her here with me.  I want her hand to hold, her reassurance that my decisions are sound and compassionate.  I want her wisdom.

The sadness ebbs.  Life rushes back in like the waves and washes over the sadness with something close to joy, until you can embrace the real thing again but in the meantime it's okay to wallow.  We simply have to allow ourselves the experience of feeling to our very core, the things that matter most, the joyous and the sad.

The UPS person just rang the door bell.  A gift from a friend Shannon sent my way.  The most beautiful prayer beads with a tiny silver "Peace" as the final bead.  Perhaps that is, as it has always been, the answer.  Send your whispers up to Heaven and allow. 

 Far easier said than done, I'm afraid.


Sam

At ten o'clock I have an appointment with the vet.  My sweet Sam is sick.  My hope is that it is fixable, my fear is that it isn't.  So I'm trying to fill time.  I've done so much of that since Shannon returned to Heaven.  As if filling the voids with something... anything, will make the difficult moments in life less so.  I know better.

I stroll through Facebook.  I ache when friends are sad.  Just in the last week, too many Moms are being missed.  Celebrated for all of their giving and nurturing, encouragement and love ... but missed so very much.  There are prayers requests for little ones battling cancer.  There are stories of incredible loss and immeasurable courage.  We go on.  We know we have to.  So I feel guilty feeling so much sadness over my big old silly cat, but this is what comes with love, big love and little.

SamHe strolled into our lives six years ago.  Bleached from too much sun, scared to death, no claws and so thin you could see every bone in his frail body.  I was afraid of him.  He would stroll past the bay window and look at Sophie perched on the back of her chair, Queen cat of Castle Court, and then disappear, only to reappear the next day, scarier and thinner than before.

I finally decided that I had to try to feed him.  That was all it took.  Our big gray boy wasn't angry or rabid or mean... just frightened and starving and he stole my heart.  Of course, when you already have a three feline family, it is necessary to at least try to share the wealth.  Sam tried two other homes but was ultimately returned...and we promised him that he would never be sent away again.

He has slept in my lap or on my pillow for six years.  He seems to need to touch and will only settle down when one paw is planted softly against my cheek. 

I want him to be well and to stay with us for six more years but what has that enormous lump forming in my throat is knowing that I've been down this road before... and sometimes loving means letting go.... big loves and little.

We put one foot in front of the next.  We walk determinedly balanced on the thin line between hope and despair and our prayer has to be that we will be given the courage and grace to accept what comes, knowing that this is the price we pay without hesitation for a life that gives us far more joy than sorrow....more laughter than tears and enough memories to carry us always.

It's funny how just taking a moment to acknowledge those of you who are facing so much more in this moment... knowing that you are finding courage to face far more dire challenges, gives me calm, and my resolve springs from yours.  Friends don't always need to be by your side to lift you... just being in your heart makes all the difference.