Pixie (Siamese), Hattie (calico), Grandma (gray) and Inky (black)
I’m tired of saying good-bye.
Tonight it was Hattie Cat, one of the first barn cats I brought to the house more than 24 years ago. Old age comes to those of us most fortunate and it came to Hattie, so named by Dave but unbeknownst to him it was my Grandmother’s name.
Both Hattie’s always kept their own council and only in the last few months did Hattie Cat deign to become a lap cat. When it pleased her.
Yesterday morning she stopped eating and I knew she was preparing herself to go ahead. Over the last few months she’s been tempted with canned tuna (StarKist), canned salmon, canned chicken, cooked chicken, cooked beef, whipping cream and half and half but yesterday, nothing suited nor tempted.
A matter of time.
She had soft beds, pillows, towels but chose to lay on the hand dyed, hand knotted Persian rug.
I didn’t care.
I don’t care.
Throughout the day and night I would visit, touch her gently and softly as she was a bag of bones. Even so, last night when I tried to wash her face she had spunk enough to scratch.
It’s both privilege and blessing to be steward over what God has entrusted to me. Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing “it” right. “It” being this stewardship thing. There’s not much heart left; it began breaking when Dave died and, little by little, piece by piece the sound of shattering rings still too loudly.
When Dave died I lost my purpose, my raison d’etre. A Christian isn’t supposed to say that, are
they we? Am I? We’re supposed to be stalwart, soldiering on and when people ask, “How are you?” we’re supposed to say, “Fine, thank you. How are you?” When I dare say, “I’m struggling” people looked shocked as they turn away.
Oh yes. They turn away. It happened today. In church of all places although, why it shocks, I’m sure I don’t know. Is it any wonder the world doesn’t want what Christians have? I hear the word “transparency” a lot and know it’s code for “Not really. Not now. Actually, not ever.”
Holidays are still hard; heart rendering hard and November kicks off the hardness. If you’re solo (no matter widowed, widower, divorced, never married) with no children you know exactly what I mean: holidays are hard.
I soldier on by taking care of those who are left. Including me, some days. Every morning I still read Chambers and five chapters of the Bible. This morning I finished Revelation and will begin Genesis again and have read somewhere between thirty-five and forty times. I’ve lost count; it takes me about nine months and now I’ve begun reading out loud; it’s rather a dramatization and I’m sure God gets a chuckle. I’m taking food to parents once or twice a week and having enough for them to eat twice. We share the first time and there’s enough prepared for them to eat again the next day. It helps my 86 year old mother because, like the woman said, “Who knew the hardest thing about being an adult was what to fix for supper the rest of your life?”
Ain’t it the truth!
I’m knitting a shawl out of Suffolk wool, dyed a pleasing shade of mauvy pink…not too much of either and because it’s a mix, it’s almost a bearable color (I dislike both colors but had the yarn so there ’tis). There’s another shawl on the needles that’s a boucle yarn of wool, mohair and man made. Like John Mellencamp sang, “Life goes on Long after the thrill of living has gone…”.
Actually, the thrill of living hasn’t gone but it’s been muted. Right after the ninth anniversary of Dave’s death (early November) passed, Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent Angel died. He had no symptoms until the last couple of days when I noticed he was having problems urinating. He woke me every two hours to go outside where he would wander around trying but unable. Dr. French could see us and after a quick examination, turned to me and said, “This doesn’t look good” which, as we all know is code speak for “this isn’t going to end well”. It was stage 4 prostate cancer and he was dead the next day.
Shattered! The sound of another piece of my heart.
I’m not going to lead you down the primrose path and give platitudes. I despise platitudes! This thing…this life and death thing…is hard. On good days it’s good but on bad days it’s a struggle. A tremendous struggle and I pull out all the cannons and artillery in my arsenal to fight. The Bible verses, the Sacred hymns, the words of men and women much wiser than I and still I struggle and fight. But I win because I have a secret and it is this:
I CHOOSE TO BELIEVE GOD.
I choose to believe He is who He says He is, He will do what He says He will do. I choose to believe His promises and because God cannot lie, His promises are sure. He has a plan for my life (for your life as well) and even though I haven’t a clue what that plan is, I choose to believe I’m the apple of His eye, He holds me in the palm of His hand, He loves me unconditionally. (He doesn’t love all the things I say and do but He loves me unconditionally!) He rejoices over me with singing! I’m living so somehow, someway when I get to the end He’ll say, “Well done, Sandra. You were a good and faithful servant and steward. Thank you.”
What do you do when life and death overwhelm?
Where do you turn?
How do you cope?
Ronnie will come tomorrow and help me bury Hattie. Sam was cremated and his ashes will be scattered in the butterfly and bee garden. At some point but probably not tomorrow.
I hate saying good-bye.