Will My Real Inner Voice Please Stand Up

At a recent write-in meeting where a group of us writers gathered to well, write, someone mentioned how there are already so many stories and books out there and so many more on the way.  So why are we doing this, what’s the point?

I had been having thoughts along the same line myself, but not just about writing.  Anything that I have an interest in, whether it’s writing, astrology, music, or even Excel spreadsheets, there are already so many other people doing it and even better than I could ever hope to.  Who wants to work hard to be mediocre, to just be lost in the crowd of one of many.  This leads me to feeling defeated before I’ve even had a chance to begin.

While the feeling was swirling around in the background in myself, I had no answer or response to it, as if it was the whole of the argument.  That there was nothing left to be said about it, only something to come to peace with.

But when the question came from someone outside of me, surprisingly an answer came to my lips.

Every person has a unique way of viewing the world.  All 7+ billion people could write the same story and none of them would be the same.  Provided that all 7+ billion people had found their own unique self inside and had learned how to give it a voice.  That’s the difference for me (I realized in hindsight) between feeling defeated by my writing and it bringing me immense joy; which voice am I using?

Writing for me has always been about self therapy and helping me to find my voice.  I write myself silly when I’m alone trying to get all of the garbage and conditioning out of me so that maybe some room will be made inside of me to hear what it is that I have to say.

Sometimes I drift away and forget why I write and then it becomes more about trying to write for other’s enjoyment, when the only way it really works for me is when I write for my own enjoyment.

It’s not easy for me to keep a hold of myself and what I really feel and think.  Everyday I’m bombarded with so many opinions and popular beliefs of others in the world, that the delicate thoughts and feelings of myself (when I’m not around or influenced by anyone else), start to get buried and I forget that I didn’t feel like others did to begin with, especially if I’m tired and worn down by life.

Which I have felt tired and worn down the last couple of years.  I feel a little frustrated with me that I’ve lost ground and have to start the steady climb back up to uncover myself from all of the crap (news/politics, thoughtless/parroted opinions, awareness programs, shaming, etc.) going around, for the umpteenth time in order to rediscover my own voice.

But I know I have one.  I know how much joy writing brings me when I’ve found that voice and start using it, and so I know that while I’m tired of climbing this mountain, it’s completely worth it in the end. {Just keep swimming}  <– I’m trying to swim up mountains, maybe that’s a part of my problem.

I find that with anything I do, my motivation can’t be about doing it to be the best or for any kind of recognition at all.  It has to be because it brings meaning into my life.  Because it’s something that nourishes my spirit and soul.  Because it helps me find the places in which I’m in hiding and covered up, and washes it away so that I’m renewed.  Because I think ultimately what I want (if you were to hold me down and make me put it into words), is to give my soul an uninhibited voice in this world.

I feel the truer me inside rattling the prison bars that I’ve put her in with what has become too limited of thinking that I have arrived at with so much grief about things turning out as they did with my family.  Overwhelm of emotion and a feeling of powerlessness over what happened in my life led to parts of me having to shut down temporarily so that I could process everything in smaller chunks and gulps instead of trying to take it all in at once.  Necessary for short-term survival, yes, but it’s not an appropriate place to live permanently.

And so comes the uncomfortable part of the process, where it’s time to start walking beyond the hurt and grief and stretch myself back to more wide open skies so that I can see and breathe again.  Otherwise, my grief will become a habit and I’ll be stuck there for the rest of my life.  I have to rejoin life again even if I have to go kicking and screaming the whole way.

This part requires more courage on my part than surviving the hard times, because it requires that I trust in life and love again after being shown just how ugly life can sometimes get.  It requires that I trust in something bigger than myself.  It requires vulnerability at the deepest level.

Vulnerability because there are no promises that I won’t be subjected to something painful again.  There’s no way life can promise that.  But if I don’t take that risk or chance, then I also won’t get to know love anymore because closing to one, closes me to the other.

I didn’t go through all I’ve gone through to be here (being born, surviving puberty, etc.) just to lock up and die a slow death inside of myself just because tough things happen.  I came here to accomplish something and that something requires that I be of sound mind and health.  It requires that I be alive and feel all of the things that come with being alive, and not just the things that I want to feel, but ALL of the feelers.

Only when I reach that more balanced state in myself, only when I have healed myself, am I capable of beginning to understand and figure out what it is that I came here to do.  Until I’ve rediscovered myself and my voice, I don’t really have that much to offer anyone else.  I don’t have advice, solid opinions, clear perspective.  All I can really do is parrot what I’m hearing from others (or sharing confusing muddled half opinions of my own), and I don’t like doing that.  That makes me feel like a plastic robot and my soul yells and scratches me up from the inside in protest when I do that.

My authentic self, my truer voice, is what I’m searching for and the only way I want to express myself.  Which I *have* learned doesn’t necessarily mean being blunt, callous, defensive, etc.  I’m learning a softer more agreeable way.  One that works much better for me as well as others.  <–  It’s a process of trial and error.  So while I don’t like sharing anything less than my truer voice, I have to start somewhere which means practice and showing the messy road that leads me back there.

But it is *that* voice I feel is worth sharing in the world, even if it gets lost in the sea of a million other voices.  I am okay with that, because I’ve known no greater joy and satisfaction in life than when I’ve found and am using that voice.  And that’s something that comes from within me and that I have control over.  It doesn’t require that anyone else around me change or do anything differently.

when-you-find-your-voice-your-life-takes-on-grace-quote

To The Robin Williams Of The World

His death is hitting me pretty hard.  It’s hard to see someone make it to 63 and still decide to give up the fight.  It’s hard to see how much genuine love, warmth, and kindness he had to give to everyone . . . but wasn’t able to see himself in the same way that we experienced him.

It makes me think of others in my life, who do a similar thing.  So hard and critical of themselves.  Never giving themselves a break.  Never seeing themselves through other’s eyes.  Never seeing how truly loving, gentle, humbling, and kind they are or what it is they do and bring into other’s lives.

So much focus on being perfect.  On not being good enough.  Or not meeting expectations.  So much attention on what it is that they’re doing wrong, that they miss all of the things that they’re doing right.  Not appreciating or valuing what it is they actually bring to the table of life.

And it’s heartbreaking.  It’s heartbreaking to see someone so genuine, real, warm, gentle, loving . . . something the world is so greatly lacking in right now, not know or see or comprehend the tremendous value they bring to us.

What are we doing to ourselves that we value these things *so* little, that those who are filled with genuineness, love, and warmth, are made to feel like they are worthless?  I can’t say enough how heartbreaking this is.  How reflective this is of the state of things.  The useless bickering and complete bullshit nonsense that we waste our lives on.  It makes me feel so angry inside and hurt.  It makes me feel ashamed to be a human.

I feel pathetic in the face of things like this.  It makes me realize how easily I can become lost in trivial things.  Robin was said to not just be generous with material items, but with his time.  He gave of himself.  Time and being fully present with another human being is the most valuable thing you could give to another person.  It’s personal because you only have a finite amount of it to spend in a lifetime, so who you spend it with and how you choose to spend it is important.

What is it all for?  Why do we do all of the things we do each day, if it’s not from a place of love?  What is the point of being alive if it’s just to exist or to survive?  We all act like when we get *there* or get that future goal accomplished or conquered or overcome, THEN we’ll feel better or feel alright.  But that never fucking happens.

And do you want to know why?  Because we forget to be in love while on the journey.  We forget to be in love with the journey.  Whether you are a scientist, analyst, journalist, comedian, housewife, janitor . . . it doesn’t matter, you should still be coming from a place of love from within yourself.  No excuses.

I’m sorry.  I’m feeling really angry and sorrowful inside.  I feel like we just lost one of the truly good ones in the world.  I am angry that he didn’t get to feel and know inside of himself while alive, how important and valuable his gifts were to the world.  I am angry that the collective wasn’t willing or able to reflect back to him, what he so freely gave to the collective.

I’m angry that I currently live in a world where someone like him is made to feel alone and isolated and so desperate to end the pain he felt inside.  And some of the heartless remarks made in reference to him taking his own life . . . all I have to say to any and all of those folks is, “Fuck.You.”

And an energetic punch to the face.  Because fuck you again.

I know what it’s like to fight depression myself.  I know what it’s like to have someone you love and very close to you try to take their life.  It is not a black and white issue.

From everything that I’ve personally experienced & witnessed in regards to true depression and attempted/successful suicide, is that it stems from an internal fight inside to try and keep your heart intact while trying to learn how to navigate and survive a world that’s become ruled by cold and heartless people who aren’t even aware themselves that they are cold and heartless.

It is the toughest battle a human can embark on.  It takes incredible heart and courage to make the decision everyday to fight that battle.  Every day you make it, is a personal triumph and something to be proud of.  So when one of those who are fighting the good fight goes down?  Give them the motherfucking respect they deserve for having made it that far.

Live Courageously

My Raven Girl

The sun is out and it’s beautiful.  I’m trying to decide if I want to write or go take a nap.

Two days ago on May 5th, I had to say goodbye to my girl kitty, Raven.  Less than two weeks ago I had taken her in because she seemed to be having a hard time shaking off a cold.  Turns out the “cold” was her in stage 4 renal failure.  Basically, the end.  She was just one month shy of her 7th birthday which is two days after my own birthday.

Normally the vets are dealing with cats who are more like 14 or 15 years old.  It was hard even for them to watch a kitty so young struggle with kidney disease.

I’ve barely had any sleep since I found out.  At first I lost sleep because of the news and wanting to spend every moment I had left with her.  Then it was because she was unable to get comfortable herself and was in constant need for comfort and love.  Having “mommy ears”, it’s impossible to hear any little squeak or peep without waking up and walking towards the *being* in need to help them while nearly comatose myself.

Now I can’t sleep because my world is still upside down and I hardly know what to do with myself.

I held her close to my heart until the end . . . until I felt the warmth start to leave her body.

The crying comes on suddenly and in periodic spurts.  Like a release valve so that I’m able to free up some room in me to be able to continue processing what just happened in my life.

I don’t know how such a huge presence fit into that little kitty body of hers.

Raven 1

Whenever I get really stressed out, I start to clean things.  Not mindlessly.  I use it as a focal point to pull myself back together.  Kind of like a moving meditation.  It’s slow and deliberate.  I focus on all of the sensations to help pull me into the present and into my body.  Focus on the smells, the movement, the touch.

I didn’t have to wonder what I was going to do once returning home for the first time without her, because my thoughtful girl had left me one final gift . . . pukes on my bedroom floor.  I was genuinely thankful.  I took my time, knowing it was the last time I would ever get to scrub Raven pukies out of the carpet.

She was such an integral part of my daily life.

For years when brushing my teeth I had to play ‘move from under the water faucet before I spit toothpaste onto your head you silly cat with your water fetish’ with her.

Brushing my teeth this morning was so uneventful.

I looked around for our boy kitty, Gir, to see if he’d be willing to irritate the shit out of me by sticking his head under the water faucet while I tried to get ready.  But no, he wants nothing to do with that wet stuff.

She used to also sit between the shower curtain and clear liner while I took a shower.  At first I thought it was because she liked my company . . . but no, she was just waiting patiently until I moved and she could stick her head under an even bigger water faucet.

Then there was the moment yesterday when I walked into my room and saw sitting in the corner of my room, her raggedy toy that she used to leave for me as a “gift”.  She didn’t have access to rodents (thank god) to drop at my feet to tell me what a shitty hunter I was, so she had two toys that she used instead as a gesture.

Raven toy

It was originally attached to a larger toy, but she only ever wanted this part.  We refer to it as “the purple spider”, but god only knows what it really is.  It’s still where she left it for me a couple of nights before she went.  I’m not ready to move it yet.

Her other favorite toy (which I have no idea where that is) is a tiny little brown bear.  I used to find it regularly floating face down in the water dish.  We never figured out whether she was treating it as a kill and cleaning it, treating it as a kitten and drowning it, or giving her humans a warning.

I’m going to miss her always trying to stick her whole head into my coffee mug no matter what was in there. Repeatedly.

I’m going to miss how she got jealous of any time I spent on puzzles, and so when she thought I wasn’t looking she’d attack the pieces, chew on them, throw them onto the floor, and then shove them under the couch.

I’m going to miss taking her for walks on her leash during the summer months.

Raven 4

Raven5

I miss her ritual for sitting on my lap.  She’d walk over the top of me in one direction and then the other direction, and then walk onto me one last time where she would just stand there and aggressively flick her tail at me saying, “Scuse me.  Ahem.  Are you going to invite me to sit down?”  Which I would have to ask her if she wanted to sit down and put my arms in a specific way around her before she would be like, “Oh? You would like me to sit with you?  Well, I *suppose* I could . . . if it would make *you* happy.”

Raven 8

She would often press all four paws over my heart and just sit there and purr.  The above picture was taken just a couple of days before I found out how sick she was.

I’ll also miss how she managed to force a shoebox past its limit, hanging out all over the place, and make it look comfortable.

Raven 7

Or how she used to lay in positions on the floor that looked so dramatic I would start quoting Shakespeare.  “Oh Romeo, Romeo! . . . Wherefore art thou Romeo?”

Raven 3

I’ll miss her judging my stupid human habits:

Raven 2

She had been found in the streets as a kitten and taken to a shelter.  She was only 6 weeks old and less than a pound when I first saw her.

I had been to the shelter a couple of days before but I just didn’t connect with any of the cats.  My son had already found the cat he wanted (Gir), but I wanted both of our cats to come home at the same time so I made him wait.  I told him that if the kitten he wanted was meant to be his, it would still be there when we came back.

When we came back, the very moment I walked into the room and saw her I knew she was the kitty I was looking for.  Plus, the one my son wanted *was* still there.

We brought them both into a private room to see how they would get along.  Raven took to me immediately.  She went straight to my feet and wasn’t going to leave.  The people at the shelter said that 3 other families had already looked at her, but she wouldn’t come near them.

Gir was 6 weeks older than Raven, so he was huge next to her.  He was strutting around like he was hot stuff.  He came over and knocked Raven over (to be fair, it wasn’t that hard to do).  I waited to see what she did before I reacted.  At first she started to run away from him, but as he walked away she turned back around and went after him and then knocked him on the head and stood there strong facing him like a little spitfire daring him to start shit with her again.

It was in that moment that I knew she was my kitty.

Here was their first day home with us:

Kitten Raven and Gir

It was also the last day they curled up like that together.  Gir likes to be affectionate and tried to take care of her, but she grew up on the streets and didn’t know how to be loved and always pushed him away.  He never gave up trying to though.  He would give her space, but he was always looking out for her.

Here he is a couple of days before she died:

Gir and Raven

He’s actually having a pretty hard time with it.  You could tell he knew something was up.  His meow and demeanor changed a couple of days before she died.  His eyes looked more watery and had a sadness to them.  They still do.  He’s not being his normal cocky, arrogant self, and it’s heart wrenching to see.

I’m not going to miss the vet and hospital bills, or the injections, the constant vet appointments, or watching Raven fade away.  But I sure do miss her.

 

There Is A Time To Live And There Is A Time To Die

One thing about having your life flipped upside down with devastating news, is that it forces you to be present in the here and now.  All there is, all you can be sure of, is what is happening at this moment.

You know, I tried to imagine the Native Americans back hundreds of years ago all sitting around the campfire trying to plan out their 5 year and 10 year goals and it just looked ridiculous to me.  Discussions started about risk management of the buffalo herds and average rainfall from recent years and the amount of berry return they could expect in the coming years based on weather projections from their shaman.  Which then turned into arguments and name-calling and fistfights.  It was a disaster.

The Native Americans as a people, at one time, had such a genuine appreciation of life and gratitude for all they had.  They knew what needed to be done in each moment and left the rest to the Great Spirit.  They lived simply.  But they weren’t just flying blind, they were plugged into the pulse of nature.  It’s a natural rhythm that syncs up with our mind and heart.  It’s a feeling, a knowing of what time it is . . . of what needs to be done right now, and what was needed for the future was automatically calculated into that with the unseen spirit of Life.

A perfect recent personal experience with how this works, is that I felt a strong need in me to take a couple of days off.  It wasn’t your typical, oh that sounds like a good idea, it was something deep in me telling me that it needed to happen.  So I just went with it in the moment, and I used my instinct for how to go about doing it.  The night before my two scheduled days off I found out that my girl kitty was dying, and I would’ve had to take those two days off anyways . . . but because I listened to my *now* voice the week before without getting caught up in why I felt it . . . it was already taken care of.  Instead of having to focus on arranging all of that with no warning to my office, everything was already pre-arranged and I was able to 100% focus on the situation at hand.

That is living in harmony with life, even while in the modern world.

Right now everyone’s too busy thinking they know better than life and nature, what needs to be happening from moment to moment.  Not only that, but also busy telling everyone else what *they* should be doing too.  With all of this chattering at each other, how can anyone hear their own inner voice anymore?  The one that connects them to Life?  The one that sustains, nourishes, and provides everything that is needed from moment to moment?  Is it any wonder we’re all starved and empty inside?  When you go against that internal natural rhythm you purposely deny yourself nourishment from nature . . . God . . .The Mother . . . however you choose to see that which spiritually feeds us and makes all things possible in this life.

Do you not stop and think about what makes trees grow?  What makes bees buzz?  What *it* is that animates this world and brings it to life?  What makes you walk around and laugh and talk and cry?  There is this ever present hum of life that is present in all and everything we do, and we try to live life like a bunch of teenagers who think they already know everything, ignoring this very real and present provider in our current existence.

All of it is a gift.  What moves through everything and gives it the spark of life and animates this world, does NOT have to do that.  It can withdraw at any time it chooses.  Every bit of it is a gift, and we take it for granted and we stomp all over it, and ignore it.  We refuse to even acknowledge it’s existence . . . and yet it continues to give and give and give.  And we . . . continue to be like a bunch of spoiled brats who need their asses whooped.

Being alive is a gift.  Dying . . . is a part of that process.  It’s sad because we want to continue to share this life with that person or being, but things must come and go as they need to, not as we personally wish them to.

Just like I didn’t know initially why I was taking off those two days, I don’t initially know why it’s time for Raven to die or why it’s time for anyone to die . . . but there are bigger things at work than just us as humans on this planet.  Maybe Raven is a super spy on the planet Catawesomeness, and she was here on a vacation or as a favor to someone, and now her time here is up because she needs to get back to her real job at Catawesomeness.  Yes I’m sad for her to go, but that’s the nature of existence.  The natural rhythm at both the micro and macro levels.

Just because she’s going to move into a spectrum of light my human eyes can’t see, doesn’t mean she ceases to exist or that she isn’t still out doing awesome Raven things.  Because that’s not how things work.  There are whole existences and worlds that our minds have been closed to for a really long time and it’s that closed mindedness that makes us suffer.  The suffering is in response to an imagined way of how things are when we die.  Not based on truth or reality.

The grief . . . the grief is very real.  Energetically, it’s the untangling of energy from each other.  If we grip on tightly to the being dying from this world (or just leaving to do something else awesome), then it becomes more painful.  If we were to know or understand that they’re just going through a door and onto other things just like when we move or change jobs here . . . then we’d be more willing to unlock our grasp on them and free them.  Let them go.  Let them move on to their next life without pulling on them to come back when they are done here.

I had a dream a few years back.  I was in a house with a girl.  She left the room momentarily and when she did my dream became lucid . . . more real than real life.  The ghost of a girl was trying to make contact with me.  She was pleading with me.  Something that the astral plane was trying to get across the veil to the world, to us.  It was an emergency.  When the other girl returned to the room, the ghost disappeared.  I told her about it, and she said that her sister had died and it was probably her.

When I first woke up I couldn’t remember what the urgent message was from the other side of the veil.  But I suddenly remembered it this last week.  The urgency was that we’ve forgotten how to properly grieve the dead.  We’ve forgotten how to open ourselves wide to the loss in order to free them so that they may leave this world.  The astral has been bursting at the seams with the spirits of our loved ones who we won’t release or let go or forgive.  Our awareness and attention is more powerful than we realize.  Holding tight to someone, whether alive or dead . . . binds them.  It makes it harder for them to untangle their energy from you and be free to leave.  You have to release your hold on them, and they on you.

In ancient times, there used to be huge ceremonies held throughout the year where specially trained priestesses and priests would do these elaborate ceremonies in order to clear all of that out.  So if you did lose someone and you were holding onto them, this was an opportunity as a community to join together in your grief and let them all go together.  Then you had the company and support of others suffering the same and you could lean on each other for support in having to finally say goodbye or let go.  But what do we do now?  We get, what? two days to move through the whole grief process before we get back to business and continue as if nothing happened?

This neglect of this part of ourselves is what is undoing us now.  This need to hold onto things long past their time.  This need to overcome nature and be these heroes that triumph over death again and again.  It goes against natural laws.  We throw money at cancer research and call it charity and doing good . . . without understanding whether it truly is good or not.  The more we try to conquer disease and sickness, the more that shows up.  Suspicious don’t you think?  Perhaps it’s Mother Nature taking matters into her own hands?  We are truly foolish people.

We have 7+ billion people on the planet.  More than the planet can sustain.  Is this *really* being progressive?  Or is this the result of us thinking we know better than God . . . Mother Nature.  This unhealthy obsession to force and make things continue to live against their will, just because we’re too scared to let go.

We’re scared of our emotions and our feelings and of losing that which we love.  These are our shadows that we run from.  Our whole existence is now centered on a fear of dying and losing love, rather than living and experiencing love.  In an effort to cheat death, we have become the dead.  We no longer remember what it even feels like to be alive.

There is a time for us to be born . . . and there is a time for us to die.  And if we’re tuned into the natural rhythm of life, we know when those times are, and we need to allow them to happen.  Provide love, provide support for both them and their loved ones, help ease their suffering as much as possible during the transition.  But for god sakes . . . we need to let them go.

funny-teddy-bear-dog-cotton

 

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.