Love Out Loud And With All Of Your Heart

So a week ago on Friday I had started to feel like I could maybe use a little break from work.  Nothing major, just a couple of days added on to a weekend.  So I arranged to have the following Thu. & Fri. off.  Was totally looking forward to it.

The following Mon. evening I was holding my girl kitty, Raven.  She had what seemed like a nasty cold earlier this year, but she recovered from it alright.  But lately, she had started to look like it had returned.  And then there was her weight loss.  And a few other things the more I thought about it.  Overall everything else was normal . . . but not quite.

Something told me to make a vet appt. first thing the next morning.  I even found myself telling my boy kitty, Gir, to look after his sister.  I suddenly had this feeling like I wasn’t really sure that she’d make it to morning.  I can be a little dramatic in my head, so this is absolutely normal for me.  I put it down to REALLY needing a vacation.

So I got Raven in Tues. morning, and they checked her over.  The vet said that she had a strange mix of symptoms, and most concerning was the weight loss.  Raven will be 7 this June, so they decided to do a senior blood panel.  They also tested her ear wax (been tugging on her ear) and also x-rays.  Before I left they gave me some ear cream for her ears because they did find something that may have been irritating her.  They said they’d call me with the results for everything else by the next morning, and I said to please leave a voicemail if I didn’t answer because I’m horrible about answering the phone.  Initial look at the x-rays looked pretty good.  So no big worries.

In my optimistic sunshine world, I was able to contribute all of her issues down to her ears and that magically the ear cream was going to make her ALLLL better.  Yes.  That’s how it works, right?  I didn’t think anything of it when I didn’t hear back by that evening.  I had a meeting Wednesday morning, and I managed to work Raven into the conversation . . . which I then realized that I should have heard back by then.  I started checking my phone.  I still wasn’t concerned, but something was bugging me way in the background of my awareness.

No.  Ear cream.  She has the ear cream.  It’s cool.  No news is good news, right?  It’s just her ears, I’m totally blowing it out of proportion.

So I went on with my day.  After work I went to pickup my son from college and we went home.  I was all, “I’m officially on vacation, so let’s stop at Starbucks and get Cake Pops!  I’m gonna let loose!”  So the merriment continued all the way home.  I was totally looking forward to my 2 days off and it leading into a 4 day weekend.

After I got home, I checked my phone and oh! look, a voicemail from the vet.  Cool.  Let’s get this over with so I can continue on with my weekend, I’m sure it’s the whole “everything looks good, nothing seems to be seriously wrong” voicemail.  Hit the “play voicemail” button . . .

And what I heard, is NOT what I was expecting by any means.

” . . . regarding the test results, unfortunately . . . Raven has severe Renal Failure . . . suspected Heart Failure . . . severe Anemia . . . ”

My whole world flipped on it’s head.  It felt like all of time zoomed in on that moment.  Then like someone drove a nail through to the center of my head with the single pointed message of, “Raven is dying.”

I glanced at her laying in her box on the floor.  Something in me gave, and from deep within the sorrow came rising up and out of me.  The ground began to give out from under me, and I came down hard crying.  My son had been in the bathroom and he came running out and grabbed ahold of me to comfort me, as I tried to find the words to repeat the news to him.

I call my son the animal whisperer.  It’s like he was born to communicate with all animals.  They naturally come to him.  He has an incredible soft spot in his heart for all of God’s creatures.  So I knew this was going to greatly affect him.

I finally started to collect myself and say, it’s going to be okay.  That this is a part of the cycle of life, and if it’s her time it’s her time, and it’s going to be okay.  Which Raven decided was the time to come join the party.

I tell you, it’s hard to keep your heart from closing and going numb during times like this.

And as a single parent, you have to keep yourself together in order to take care of things.  So it’s especially easy to ignore your feelings in the name of taking care of business.

After that, I felt a need to connect with other people.  Having done a superb job of isolating myself, reaching out means going to Facebook.  So I started posting status updates as a means to not feel so alone in this heart wrenching situation.  It really does feel less alone when you can post an update and know that others will see or read it.  Even if they don’t respond back . . . there’s still a feeling of community.  That feeling of there being a witness to your life . . . that it’s not being lived in obscurity.

Raven before hospital 4-24-14

Thursday morning before going to the hospital.

So my two days that I had planned the week before, were exactly what I needed because Thursday morning I had to take her to be admitted into the hospital.  Thursday evening I transported her to a 24 hr care hospital, where she stayed until Sunday evening.

Raven at hospital 4-24-14

At the 24hr hospital.

She got to come home last night.  And my poor little angel kitty.  She’s only 7 . . . but she’s behaving like she’s 20.  She’s saved my life so many times in the last 7 years with her love.  She got me through all the hospitalizations of my son.  I’d come home and she’d hop on my lap and place all four paws onto my heart chakra area and purr herself to sleep.

Raven back home 4-27-14

Just returned from the hospital.

I’ve had kidney issues my whole life as well.  Between that and the emotional stress from the last 7 years, is it any wonder that she’s suffering kidney and heart failure?  Our pets help us in so many ways that we are unaware of.  Taking on some of the energetic load of our own suffering onto themselves.  Where else do you find that pure of a love?

She’s at stage 4 renal failure and yes, I can see her little body struggle as she rests next to me.  I love my pets as my children.  I don’t care how ridiculous that seems to some.  It’s a blessing and a gift to feel that kind of love for another living being.

When I visited her at the hospital on Saturday, and it was time for me to go . . . I looked back at her in the room with the IV hooked to her front paw and watching her struggle to stand until I had left, kind of like “See mom, I’m doing okay.” . . . I felt the waves of sorrow that continue to wash over me.  The feeling of “oh god, this can’t be happening . . she can’t be dying . . . not my Raven girl.”

It’s hard.  When I can’t handle it and I feel myself cut off from my feelings, I feel myself get mad and thinking things like, “How long is this going to drag out?  Why won’t she just die so I can start grieving? Now my whole life is going to revolve around trying to care for her as she slowly dies.”  I feel like a monster when I think those things.

But then the swell of sorrow rises up through me again, and I’m a crying puddle on the floor again.  And it feels really good to let them out.  To just open up and let it out.  While I may be dramatic in my head, I rarely let those things escape to the outside of me when others are around.

But then I think . . . this IS dramatic.  This is Life Drama coming to me Live!  If this isn’t a situation where it’s okay for me to feel sorrow dramatically out loud, then when is it?  And the answer is, whenever I feel it that deep and that strong.  That’s when it’s okay.  Letting it out . . . not squeezing it tight into me and crying silent tears.

THIS is life.  THIS is a part of living!

My kitty girl who has been a constant companion to me for the last 7 years is dying.  It hurts goddamn it!  It hurts and it needs to be let out.  I need to feel it.  I need to feel the sadness and sorrow of this big thing that is happening emotionally to me.  REALLY FEEL it.  Let it roar through my whole body, giving it a voice.  Letting it be seen and felt and heard.

It’s what reminds us that we’re alive!  I don’t want to shrink from this experience.  I want to walk whole-heartedly into it.  I will not shrink from life and all it has to offer.  Whether good or bad I will face it with an open and aware heart.  I will make it my JOY to care for her in her remaining days.  She deserves my presences and awareness to her situation.  She deserves my open heart and love and bravery during this time of need in her short life.  She deserves to have someone go through this WITH her instead of by herself by me cutting off from my feelings.

It’s our feelings and love and care for others that open us up to them and keeps them from feeling alone.  If you cut off from your feelings for any reason, you leave the people around you in the cold.  You may think that you’re just being responsible or however you see it . . . but the result is the same . . . it leaves others in the cold.  It separates you from others.  It leaves you feeling alone and it leaves others feeling like you’ve left them, even if you’re physically present.

Take it from me, I’ve done it my whole life.  It’s taken a lot for me to see and understand it for myself.  I know it can hurt to feel . . . but only when you fight it.  When you openly embrace it and welcome it . . . it floods you with healing and warmth and love, as well as removing the feeling of being alone and isolated.  I promise it’s far better to feel your feelings than to cut yourself off from them.  That’s a hell I hope to never revisit.

Love.  Love out loud. Love with all of your heart.  Love without shame.

Comments

  1. Isthisusernamealreadytaken says:

    So sorry to hear this Jenn. — E

    Like

  2. I love this….every bit of it. Perfectly captures the utter sadness/struggle with acknowledging the cycle of life/sad/mad…..
    Your little Raven girl is so beautiful and I am so glad she’s been with you through so much. Sending much love to you and her and your son!!

    Like

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