I'm not sure why things happen the way they do. In that moment, I tried to make decisions, to feel the emotions, but not panic looking for solutions. I tried to find an answer that was right for everyone... that didn't happen.
That's the way it was with Henry. He showed up one bitter cold morning in March of 2018. He was cold and hungry and little and frightened. I didn't want another cat. I had promised Jules that once the four we had were gone, there would be no more, but he was so little and so cold and so hungry so I did what I always do... fed him. It didn't matter to Henry, he still was not going to let me close. He would sneak up onto the porch after I went inside, eat his fill, get comfy on the chair and meow.
I tried to ignore him and hope he would go home. That didn't happen. So I took an electric heater outside. I took a warm snugly igloo of a cat bed outside. I made sure he had food and water and warmth but I tried desperately not to get attached. That didn't happen.
One day my brother stopped by. He got a glimpse of Henry and decided that he might be nice to have around. I agreed to take care of all of the vetting and be sure that he was healthy before delivering him. That was a Wednesday. I scheduled Henry to be neutered and get his shots the following Monday.
Jules was out of town and I hadn't mentioned the stray but now I could tell him. I thought I had a solution that would make everyone happy. Ultimately, that didn't happen.
On Saturday my brother called to say that he had changed his mind. I had thought that he was excited to have a companion cat. I had finally made friends with Henry and a promise to Jules but I couldn't force a cat on my brother. So I cried. And then I cried some more.
I made a screen door for our spare bedroom. I tried to introduce Henry to our other cats hoping they would all get along. That didn't happen.
Monday came, Henry got a clean bill of health and the adventure began anew.
Helen lost her mind and decided she was no longer going to come out from under the bed. She even had some accidental wees, something our feline matriarch had NEVER done before. Jules was mad but because I was so sad, he accepted that Henry was there to stay.
Five months later my brother had a heart attack. He was laughing and relaxing with a glass of wine and a friend and his heart simply stopped.
I can't believe that that was almost three years ago. We never stop missing the people we love.
Henry has been with us for three years now and we love him dearly. Helen has come out from under the bed but has a room of her own where at sixteen, she is comfortable and safe.
One of our other kitties has gone to Heaven so we still have four but it's manageable and Henry is the youngster who keeps everyone on their toes.
The part of this memory that hurts the most, is that for months, Johnny thought I was mad at him because I had cried when he told me that he had changed his mind about taking on the commitment of a cat. In that moment, I wasn't mad at him... I simply didn't know what to do. In that moment on the phone with my apologetic brother, the situation that I thought I had control over had turned sideways and I was trying to find my way through the abrupt change in plan. In that moment, I didn't realize that the tears I was trying to hide left him feeling that he had disappointed me. I am just grateful that somewhere in the few short months to follow, I was able to assure him that I never been mad. That we were good and I was happy about having Henry after all.
I have tried to embrace the fact that I do not control, nor does the Universe revolve around me. There are always going to be moments that I have to accept and adapt and muster up as much flexibility as possible.
I guess all of these words have led me is to this.... Henry is here. He is a joy. My brother is with Mom and Shannon and I couldn't control any of it. We survive and adapt and accept and count our blessings because sometimes a moment is all we ever have even the tiniest control over at all. Sometimes we have to look back to see the gift.
If you find yourself in one of those moments... before you force the decision, melt into the emotion or lose the moment to panic, take a breath and trust that it will be okay.
One way or another, it will be okay.