In the last few weeks I have lost 2 pets, Dennis the remarkable Beta and Sniffy Pie our sweetest cat ever. I am grieving my loss, celebrating their lives and the joy they added to my life.
Dennis, I have blogged about before. It seems unlikely one can get attached to a fish. One cannot pet or cuddle a fish, but there is something about a blue and red flash that greets you each morning and evening, that responds to your finger tap on the glass that makes a connection in your heart. I miss my colorful greeting...
And Sniffypie; what joy she added to our lives. Rescued 5 years ago from being euthanized because she was mucous filled and sneezing on furniture she melded into our family seamlessly. She was the hubster's girl. She curled beneath his beard and napped for hours, purring gently and calmly, soothing away his bad days, adding to his good days. She often gave me the first kiss of the morning, crawling into bed, licking my nose signaling it was time to feed everyone. Sniffypie loved to sleep in sunbeams and under lamps, on humans and curled next to Mo and Buddy. She sought warmth and light and reminded me it could be found even in the darkest times. She taught me hope and gentleness in spite of the horror and reality of life. Sniffy was about faith. Believing to trust humans again, believing there is a second chance, believing that there are people who care. Sniffy brought out the best in me.
I regret I didn't catch the signs or symptoms of her illness sooner. That will always haunt me. I knew her kidneys were not the greatest and planned to get her checked but she was always the first to eat, wasn't acting sick, was active and curious. Until that Wednesday when I came home to a suddenly old cat. It seemed to have happened overnight. Now I know it didn't, it never does. 12 years at a vet clinic has taught me that cats are stoic, more so than any other animal and hide their illnesses. I saw many cats crash suddenly who could not be saved. I know vets who had the same experience. Yet I somehow feel that I should have known, I should have saved her. Like I should save the kids I work with. I think that is what is most frustrating that I feel so helpless and humbled. That I can't do enough. That I can't save them all.
So I have started to look for the grace in small things. That I gave Dennis 2 years, and Sniffy a second chance, a happy home for 5 years. That I can't save every kid I work with but I can for one hour a week give them safety and a chance to tell their story. A chance to say what is their heart with no fear of judgment or reprisal.
This week ended with a few parents thanking me for helping their kids, telling me I am the first social worker their child has trusted, that I am the first person who has ever helped them. Which amazes me because I feel like I have done so little, really no more than listen, but maybe that was enough.
Also I have had friends who have reached out and supported me during this time. Who have contacted me via phone, email and facebook. Friends who have reconnected from a span of 20 years and thousands of miles. Friends who knew me when and love me now.
I have family who are rock solid. Who are there at the drop of a hat, who laugh, cry and pray with me. I am so blessed to have my family.
Especially the hubster. My dearest dear. He is the one who sees me at my very, very worst, who lives with the monster and the myth that is me. And the reality. And loves this complicated, aggravating person. He dries the tears, cleans up the messes, fixes my computer, brings me coffee and starts my car. He is my Hoke. (He knows what I mean! Private joke)
So the darkness is lifting, I am grieving my missing pets, but I am also remembering them, all the moments, all the love and laughter.
And I am sure that I will see them again. If there is a Heaven, and I see my family, I will find my mama holding all my cats...