Five Minute Friday: A bittersweet BLESSING

Usually when I think of blessings, I think of positive things that I find incredibly heartwarming or awesome, that have happened in my life. Today, I’m counting a blessing that is bittersweet.

Our tabby striped, 12-year-old Maine Coon cat, Tikey, had to be euthanized last night at the vet, amidst hugs and an ocean of tears. What my husband, Joe, and I thought was an aggressive ear polyp that was next to his eardrum and had begun bothering him (with dizziness and nausea which had caused him to stop eating), was compounded by stomach/colon lymphoma. A good quality of life was no longer possible for him and I believe he was in pain.

So, where is the blessing in this, you might ask?

It’s at these times that I wonder if adopting pets is worth the sadness and pain at the end. I still have to answer wholeheartedly “yes.”

When I adopt a pet, I commit to giving him or her the best life possible. Joe and I loved him to pieces. He was hugged, kissed, brushed, fed and played with – he was part of our family. He also was loved by his kitty brother, Ollie, and his two sisters, Gracie and Raja. He was a leader in kitty shenanigans in our house, would play fetch with his green rubber ball and sometimes barked like a dog.

He’d get excited after a good meal (or poop) and race around the house like a marathon runner. He and our 84-pound dog, Hershey, were on speaking terms. He was the first kitty that we didn’t declaw and he never used his claws for evil. He was a gentle soul.

We adopted him as a kitten after he showed up at my friend, Sandy’s, back door with a terrible respiratory infection. He suffered from chronic sneezing and (not to be gross but …) his snotty discharge could have been patented as the next super glue. We loved him even more, if that were possible.

He once escaped from the house, went into survival mode and it took us two weeks to live-trap him back into the house. He was not getting away from us that easily!

I couldn’t have asked for more joy. Yesterday I imagined God creating Tikey. I envisioned God in the kitty design lab, “Okay, this one is going to be extremely furry. And super cute, with a white bowtie under his nose, soft curly tummy hair, and a fluffy tail. And, to ensure that he’s unconditionally loved, he’s going to be a sneezer so he leaves a special mark on everyone he meets.” Then God plopped him on Sandy’s doorstep and the rest is history. A warm, cuddly, funny, sweet, gentle, handsome branch of our family tree.

A final commitment I make to adopted family members is that no matter how heartbreaking, I will try to ensure that they don’t suffer. That I’ll be with them and love them until their last breath. That I’ll reluctantly help them journey back to God. I so didn’t want to fulfill this last promise to Tikey, but God, my husband and Sandy gave me courage to do so.

Joe talked about how hard it was for me to hold him and hug him for the last time. My heart broke into a million pieces. But the pieces slowly came back together when I realized that as much as we loved Tikey, God loved him even more. And, he was returning to his Maker who welcomed him into loving arms where he’d stay forever. I pray God gives him lots of hugs and kisses, until I can once again be present with him to do the same. Tikey is the blessing that I celebrate today.

This post is part of the Five Minute Friday Linkup.

Comments

  1. Reply

    This is such a lovely tribute to your cat. You loved him well. It strikes me that loving well does indeed mean loving to the end. I write on the spirituality of suffering, especially from the viewpoint of chronic illness, so this thought was relevant to where I’m at. Lovely to ‘meet’ you from Five Minute Friday!

    1. Reply

      Thanks for visiting my blog and your thoughtful comments. Unconditional love is not always comfortable, feel-good love. But, it’s part of the whole experience. What Christ must have endured for us?!

  2. Reply

    Soooo sorry for your loss, Diane. Tikey was so beautiful and, back in the arms of God, is even more so.

    1. Reply

      Thanks for taking the journey with me, Sandy! And, for introducing me to Tikey in the first place!

  3. Reply

    Just imagine Becky welcoming him home. She always wanted to be a vet. My Maine Coon cats are gone, “Fluff Cakes” & Mitzi, so your Tikey will have lots of company including Buddy Wayne & Mom.
    Love to you and your family,
    Diana
    Igo

    1. Reply

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Diana. It is so hard to lose members of our family. And yet it will surely be a party when we all meet again!

  4. Reply

    So very sorry for your loss. I’m sure he was blessed as much as you were for having him in your life.

    1. Reply

      I hope so. Thanks for visiting my blog! Have a great weekend.

  5. Reply

    Sweet sentiments. Loved your description of God creating your special furry family member. Hugs to you as you feel the loss, and remember.

    1. Reply

      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it, and you!

  6. Reply

    There are so many wonderful thoughts and memories in this post. It sounds like your cat was as blessed to be with you as you with it.

    1. Reply

      Tikey was definitely a blessing. We miss him so much around here – the kitties miss napping and playing with him, and I miss snuggling with him. Sigh…

  7. Reply

    Diane, your tribute to Tikey moved me to tears; thank you so much for sharing this. I know it must have been hard to write.

    We have a sanctuary for unwanted dogs, and also have two cats (including a Maine Coon). When we lose one it’s so hard…but I would never turn away from the mixture of pain and joy that all life, really, has to offer…through God’s grace.

    1. Reply

      Andrew, thank you for visiting my blog and for your comment. God bless you for taking care of rescued animals. Ours are part of our family and much loved, as I’m sure yours are as well. I couldn’t live without our dog and kitties so I’m in it for the long haul. Aren’t they awesome?! Take care and again, blessings on you and your sanctuary.

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