Overwhelmed by grief and guilt, I couldn't do anything but cry for days. I knew I needed to accept it and put it behind me. But I just couldn't.
Then my friend Jeannie reminded me that we all have a certain role to fulfill while we are here. Bear completed her tasks, and she has moved on, closer to God. I found comfort in that, and it really made me think.
One morning last August, we heard frantic yelling outside. I opened the door and saw a bedraggled little cat. She was gray like a mouse, and the skinniest little thing I had ever seen. She ran back and forth, looking at me and screaming, obviously in distress. We gave her some food. She was so little, it seemed impossible that she was a mama, but you could see by her boobies full of milk that she had babies somewhere. She let me pet her, and came into my lap for a few seconds. I felt so bad for her. She had been someone's pet. Someone that she loved and depended on, and they dumped her when she needed them most. Without help, she wasn't going to make it another week. I held the door open, but she ran. She had only eaten a few bites.
The next day she came back. She ate, and ran back and forth meowing. I petted her and told her it would be OK. The next day we coaxed her into the back yard. She ate, and took a short nap, safe and happy for a minute.
After about a week, she brought her kittens home. One by one she led them into our back yard. Four tiny furballs, barely big enough to walk. We made them a nest in a box on the patio. Mama Marcy laid down in front of the box, and slept. Content and safe, finally putting her worries aside, she was able to rest.
The morning after, we went out to check on them and heard baby meows. Who could that be? All four were asleep in the box. We followed the meowing, and there at the gate were Bear and Tessie. They had spent a whole day on their own.
Tessie was so small~ the littlest one. And Bear was the biggest. I think that Tessie couldn't make it, so Bear stayed behind with her and kept her safe.
|Bear, Tessie, and Millie|
So the days went by, and the kittens drank mama's milk, and played in the sun.
And Mama Marcy ate. She ate, and ate, and ate. "That's not a cat", my husband said, "it's a stomach with legs". As Marcy grew stronger, she got her energy back. She was still a kitten herself after all. She would run and play and get feisty. Sometimes, when the kittens wanted to nurse, she would growl and snap at them. When she was too restless, Bear would slowly, so slowly, cuddle in next to her and purr and snuggle. Then when Mama calmed down, she would start to nurse, and all of the kittens would come to drink.
Six beautiful kittens. Looking into their eyes, I saw happy, silly babies without a care in the world. And that's as it should be.
But in Bear's eyes, I saw something more. Bear was thoughtful and compassionate and wise. In her eyes I found an age old friend. Bear had an Old Soul.
I think Bear's job was to make sure Marcy and the kittens all made it safely home. And I thank God that they did, for I needed them as much as they needed me.
|Johnny and Rusty|
I will never forget her.