Thursday, September 27, 2007

Heartfelt Thanks

It's as if I'm nursing a shattered limb or broken appendage, the way I've gingerly gotten around these past few days. I sound like I'm coaching a toddler or a brain-affected adult, the way I'll say -Okay, go check the mail. Good. Great. Now g0 put on a bra and change your shirt. Cool. Okay. After hours upon hours of berating myself and blaming myself for all the ways I could have - and should have - been there for Mae in the past few weeks, suddenly I've become so beaten down... so completely down... that I suppose I've instinctively maneuvered into self-preservation mode. -Good coffee this morning. Way to go.

Just to be on the safe side, I avoided most public venues until today. I chanced a trip to the grocery store during church hour, when I knew most people I knew would be tucked inside rows of pews, praying and Bible studying. As I slowly moved through the aisles, I noticed I was acutely aware of the faces of the people I passed. As carts rolled by, I'd search people's eyes, thinking, Are you destroyed, too? Are you hurting, too? No one appeared to be, but then again, maybe I didn't either. We all made it out of the store with little more than nods and soft hellos.

Two of my three shopping bags were in the car - on the same seat my sweet little Mae peed all over Sunday as she was dying. As I reached back for the third and final bag, I heard my name.

"Oh, I heard about your cat," my acquaintance breezily began. "I sooo know exactly what you're going through. We got a few barn cats back in the spring and something got one of them. Hadn't had her but three weeks or so. I was beside myself thinking about that little thing. The kids buried her and all. Broke my heart. Good little cat," she finished, loudly.

I nodded and half-smiled and turned back to the car. Then I turned back. Did I ever. "Actually," I said coldly, "I don't think you do exactly know. My cat wasn't some barn cat. She was my first pet. My only pet. She slept alongside me for nearly six years. When I took a bath, she sat on the edge of the bathtub. When I ate, she sat in the chair next to me. When I read, she swatted at the paper. When I played piano, she sat on the bench. She went home with me for the holidays and came right along with me on business trips. She was my girl. My confidant... my comedic relief... my companion. She wasn't a stupid, wild barn cat. She was my family. My only family. And now she's gone."


"Oh, honey," she said.

We stood in the grocery store parking lot for what seemed like ever as I wetted her shirt with tears and she hugged me and patted my back. "I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry," I wailed.

And I was. I am. I'm so, so sorry. Sorry, and thankful. Thankful for her compassion and your compassion and everyone's compassion as we've gathered here to tell our stories and offer up our words. I've read every last one of your comments... more than once... and have been so moved by all of our collective losses and griefs and pains. Seems each of us has a story or a memory or a moment that's etched into our hearts by the loss of ones we've loved and ones who've loved us.

Yes, my heart's been warmed and touched... so deeply, permanently touched... by your words and thoughts and prayers and cards and flowers. They keep piling up, these quiet pledges of support and understanding, and I want to say thank you, you know -thank you for carrying me through this week. I want to send you my best thanks but it seems too little when you've all given so much. Your comments and promised prayers and long-reaching hugs are coming together like pieces of a community quilt - covering me and comforting me during this terrible week. And I can't think of words enough to tell you how much it means. How very much it means.

But thank you anyway.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. -Brin


betty r said...

Good to have you back, Brin...I'm glad that we can be there for is a very sad time for you and when you hurt your friends hurt with you.
Still praying...
Love and hugs

Rox said...

There is my morning cup o' Brin.. I am glad you are back. I have thought of you so much. It has made me think of Rafferty so much. I know it hurts... I am still praying too...

All my Love,

melissa @ the inspired room said...

So sorry to read about your loss.

Heartfelt Hugs,

Adrienne said...

Brin -
It's good to hear from you even though there is so much pain in your 'voice'. I won't stop praying for you.

Rhonda in OK said...

I am so sorry about the loss of your lovely kitty and I know you will miss her dearly.

And I know it is so soon to mention it, but when you are ready for another pet, there are so many wonderful pets in shelters waiting for a loving home like yours.

Bless you for being such a caring pet owner.

Anonymous said...

I pray that sweet moments of blessing and joy peek through the foggy reality you know this day. <><

Robolady said...

Brin, Remember there are stages of grief. You should maybe research them because you are feeling so much pain.
Guilt is one, seems like you've been doing that. Denial, Bargaining, Anger, and finally acceptance. They can come in any order, be prepared for them, it helps to know. I had a teacher one time that said, if you are going to get angry, get angry at God, because he will always forgive you. Acceptance will come, and the good memories of happy times in the past will replace the awful memories of your beloveds last few days or weeks. I've lost many pets, and people in my life and some are easier than others. This one seems very deep for you. Don't let others deny you your grief because she was an animal. Sometimes animals can be as close as some humans to us. Acknowledge your grief and let it flow, ride the waves don't fight them, calm seas are on the other side. Blessings-Margo

Debe said...

I am so glad you are back. I have been worried. Our animals are so special to us except for those times when they are driving us nuts!! I found a kitty curled up on the curb of a busy street on the way back from the grocery in July. Didn't need another...had 2. This little kitten has been such a joy to all of us that it is hard to describe. Another baby will find you when you are ready. It won't be Mae but your heart will again be warmed...probably when you least expect it. Blessings and take care (missed you!).

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I have been thinking of you and praying for you.

Our cat peed on my husband's slacks since he was holding her when they gave her the shot. (I was petting her.)

I know it sounds silly but I couldn't launder those slacks for a week. Of course, I finally had to wash them (and rinse them twice!).

Since you are about my daughter's age, I'd bring you a favorite tea and some homemade cookies and ask you to tell me all about your best friend.

Instead, all I can do is pray for your strength, healing, and good memories.

Sue said...

So glad to have you back Brin, you've been on my mind and in my prayers but I know you will find the comfort to carry on. The hurt will fade after time but you will always have the loving memories that you shared with us today, honor Mae and plant a tree for her in a special place near Freeman House. Love Ya!!

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry about Mae. I always loved the way you loved her. And she was so pretty. Cats are special, and I know you'll miss her. We love our cat Sox. We'll miss Mae. Love, Auntie M

bellacolle said...

You are truly a genuine lovely person! I hope your heart is healing!!! said...

You have lost a family member. She can never be replaced but you have so much love to give another someday when you are ready. I will pray for you & ask God to ease your pain.

~~kattz*cottage~~ said...

I SO feel your grief Brin ~ I have lost so many wonderful sweet pets in my lifetime & still think of the love I've had for each one. It hurts tremendously & I know how much you loved your kitty. Thinking of you & hoping you feel better soon....hugs~~


Liz said...

If we lived closer, I would bring you flowers.I love animals, not a regular way, my Mabel is my little girl, like my child. It makes me tear up just hearing how grief stricken you are. My prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

This is my first time here to read your words and I hope that you will find some comfort from your loss.
Pets give so much to our lives and they know how to give so instinctivly that us humans are not as in tune to give that comfort.
I am so sorry. Praying for you.


kit said...

After we lost our dog I was actually angry for a couple of days. Angry that the world hadn't stopped because my world did stop. He was my constant companion, the one that was there for me, as a stay at home mom. I couldn't believe that everyone was going on about their lives when I couldn't even stop crying. I didn't even want to go out because I would have to see people talking and laughing. I know that it was my pain and these random people I saw knew nothing about it but still it was hard. Months later I still can't believe he's gone but I know he's in a better place where he can see and run and have fun (he was blind and had hip dysplasia).