Looking at it from a purely personal and intensely human perspective, what I really didn’t need, after the agonies of the past year, was for another horrible, heartbreaking tragedy to affect one of my children.
He’d had a tough few years, with broken trust and unrequited love and affection and then the pain of watching his sister, nephew and niece go through all they’ve been through and by mid summer, he was deep in the abyss of anxiety and depression. He worked so hard to pull himself out – therapy, counselling, even meds, when all else seemed to be failing. Then he announced that he’d found a solution. He would get a cat.
Now we’ve not been a pet-owning family. There was the rabbit, when they were kids, but none of them took much notice of it, once the novelty had worn off, and it was left to me to care for it. Still, he was set on this plan and duly acquired the most adorable little kitten. He lavished money and endless affection on the little scrap and the kitten adored him back. The pain and darkness left my son’s eyes and he positively quivered with the love he felt for his tiny pet. We all remarked on the change it had made to his life. The urge to care for something small and helpless was so strong in him – the parenting urge, if you like – that, once it was fulfilled, he threw himself back into his job and his life again and was the happy, resilient young man he’d been before.
Was there some seed of doubt and concern lurking just below the surface in my mind? I watched them playing together and thought, “Oh I just hope that cat lasts a long, long time. He’s such a central part of my boy’s life.” But as I thought it and willed it to happen, I couldn’t visualise it. I couldn’t see the kitten as an adult cat and the two of them moving together into a contented middle age. That was the seed of worry that wouldn’t go away.
Then, last week, my son called to say the kitten wasn’t well and seemed to have some sort of infection. The vet gave antibiotics, but was concerned enough to do a blood test. Each day my son would phone me, saying some new problem had emerged; the cat was losing weight rapidly. It culminated in an emergency night-time dash to a specialist vet hospital, many miles away, where he was told the infection was a deadly virus that was destroying one organ after another. My son said goodbye to his kitten – only five months old – and embarked on the long journey home by himself.
While the brief illness lasted, I’d begged friends to send prayers, healing and positive, healthy thoughts to my son’s pet. I’d tried so hard myself. I worked and worked to visualise the cat healthy, the cat fully grown, the cat alive, but the pictures wouldn’t come. All I could see was the little kitten, skinny and with huge, wide eyes. I believe, one hundred percent, that we can affect the future. It isn’t set in stone. There are myriad possible outcomes for every situation. With sufficient focus, we can nudge towards a better-feeling future. So why, having managed similar things so many times in the past, could I, and all those working with us, not encourage this little creature to live? Is it that some ‘probable futures’ are just so improbable – like the cat growing wings or learning to play cricket – that we can’t move into them, and an adult life for this kitten was one of those?
I asked my Guides and was told there had been a ‘contract’ between the man and kitten. It had come into his life to show him that he is loveable and utterly deserving of love. I asked why that very happy and beneficial set-up couldn’t have lasted longer and the short, brutal response was that it had been achieved and the cat’s job was done. Now, I was assured, my son would be able to recognise and feel and accept the waves of love that would come to him from others in his life.
I’m trying to take comfort from that. Maybe my boy is, too. But it still feels so harsh, so cruel. Now I’m working on visualising a happy, fulfilled and love-fulled life for this very special young man. Join me.