“How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?” — Bob Dylan
My new year starts in mid-December, on my birthday… my new year of life. For most everyone else, it started two days ago, on the 1st of January. Everyone is excited about all the new possibilities, leaving any difficulties and failures behind.. a new year, a new life, new opportunities…
I made my resolutions and started living them. I figured out my motivating words for the year: dogged determination and discipline. I was, and am, totally excited about what 2012 will bring, not only for myself, but for our society as a whole (I mean…gosh.. I subscribe to the “new age” understanding that this year will be one of raised energies, etc.).
Then yesterday morning, I had an interesting dream. I dreamt of my late husband, something that only happens when something really sad is about to happen. We were walking hand-in-hand when I had a overwhelming feeling. I beckoned to him to come closer then, very hesitantly, whispered, “I love you.” It felt like I didn’t really want him to know it or that I didn’t want to admit it. He said, “I love you, too” which was nice, but I thought, “I don’t want him to say this just because I did.”
What an odd dream. In my half-awake state, I tried to figure it out because… it was my husband, and of course I loved him. Why the hesitation? At this point, my phone beeped with a text message, but I decided to ignore it and go back to sleep and back into my dream.
It was my neighbor texting me. She had found my cat’s collar and… tail.
This cat adopted me, and my patio, as her family and home. She’s a feral cat, a survivor living in our complex for years, from a kitten. She lived on our patio, and I fed her, for at least a year before I got attached. For over a year, I refused to acknowledge her as “my cat” (even though I named her), telling neighbors she was a stray. Refused to buy things for her, had her eating out of a broken Tupperware. My neighbor bought her a bed, a little house, blankets, a dish… I jokingly said she was my neighbor’s cat living on my patio.
Well, I got really attached to that darned beautiful, black cat with the expressive yellow eyes. I said she was a perfect witch’s cat. I don’t like cats. I’m a dog person. But Micah (My-Cat) wanted attention like a dog. She met me at my car when I drove up and walked me to it when I left. She walked me to the mailboxes (a block and a half away) when I got the mail. She “conversed” with me through my screen door, asking for company, for love. And, I gave it to her. I begrudgingly (at first) gave her love. After all, every living thing, no matter its circumstance, needs love.
What kind of way is this to start a new year? How cruel that she should die (and horribly, at that, taken by a coyote) just when we finally acknowledge her as a part of our family and acknowledged our love for her? But, I guess, more importantly, the question is not ‘why did she die’ but ‘what lessons am I to take from her life, from having her in my life and knowing her’?
There are always so many lessons to take from a death:
– practice non-attachment
– live each day as if it were your last
– cherish every moment you have with your loved ones
other lessons I took from knowing Micah?
Keep an open heart so that love can enter it, in whatever form.
No regrets. I cannot think “I should’ve let her live inside” because she was a free spirit, and I had to honor that.
and, That Spirit (Micah’s and John’s, my late husband) is with us, part of us, always.
I know that, as I go through my grieving process (I’m crying as I write this), I will find more lessons… right now, I’m just grateful.. for the opportunity to give that beautiful kitty a better life than she would’ve otherwise had. I’m grateful that the little wild thing let me love her. I’m grateful for the past year Micah was in our lives.
I guess it’s great and all to look forward to new opportunities ahead. But, it’s just as important to look behind, with lots of gratitude and understanding of lessons learned.
Here’s to you Micah … wherever you are (kitty heaven?).
And, here’s to the rest of you out there.. that, whatever 2012 brings you, you will always find the goodness and the love in every experience and relationship the year brings.