My mind is on cats today - not the musical Cats, though I think the song, Memory, from that show is one of the most beautiful of all time. I'm thinking about cats in relationship to the loss of. One reason is because it is the time of year when I lost my beautiful Cerridwen. The other reason is because my grand niece, Jesse, lost her kitty, Mouser, on Halloween.
Last October I wrote about how Cerridwen came into my life. She was such a sweet baby. The Animal Rescue League of Iowa www.arl-iowa.org is currently sponsoring an 'adopt a black cat' program. When I look at all their adorable cats available for adoption, it is so tempting. What I do know is that if/when another cat/kitten comes into my life it can't be because I'm trying to replace Cerridwen. It will be because the cat/kitten has something to give me or teach me.
As difficult as it is for Jesse right now, Mouser had something to teach her - it is a lesson as old as time - learning how to accept loss. We all went through it as children - the loss of a pet. For most of us the first reality of death.
Growing up on a farm I had already seen the death of animals many times before choosing one of the barn kittens as my own special pet. She was a mostly white calico with black and orange markings. I named her 'Princess Darling d'Amour of Olde Chelsea Place'; Princess for short. I was so scared when she got distemper. It wasn't uncommon for the many cats around the farm to get sick and die. I knew that. But not my kitten! Mom said the only way I might be able to save her was to give her bluing mixed in with some milk. (Bluing was a laundry product used to whiten clothes.) I don't know how it worked or how Mom knew to try that, but it did work and Princess recovered.
My happiness was short lived, however. It was only a couple weeks later that Princess was run over by the milk truck. I was as devastated then as I know Jesse is now. I swore I would never let myself love another pet again. (Obviously that wasn't the case.)
I do not remember Mom's words of comfort, though I am certain she did her best to make me feel better. I learned that death is a part of life - a hard reality when a child loses a beloved pet. I got over losing Princess. Jesse will get over losing Mouser. She may remember her kitten her whole life, just as have I. She will have other pets and experience other losses. Memories of our loved ones will always remain.
"Daylight. I must wait for the sunrise. I must think of a new life and I mustn't give in. When the dawn comes, tonight will be a memory, too, and a new day will begin."