Two days ago my mother’s cat died. And it affected me more than I thought it would.
It’s been almost a year since my own beloved Tashi passed away. That passing shocked me. My dear friend of four years was suddenly gone, and with her went a piece of my heart. God had led me to Tashi to help me through a very difficult time. So when she died suddenly, her passing hit me very hard.
And her death wasn’t peaceful either. She choked on her own vomit.
Tashi always had a vomiting problem. When I adopted her, she vomited 2-3 times every single day. Yet the vet could find nothing wrong with her. Aside from the vomiting, Tashi showed every sign of being a very healthy, happy cat.
After a few months of cleaning after her, I questioned keeping her. It was obvious why she was in the pound. Who would want the burden of constantly cleaning up after this animal?
Not I. But I’d made a commitment when I adopted the animal, and I intended to follow through. I worked with Tashi for 11 months before she would then vomit only once every few days. Considering her starting point when I adopted her, that’s quite the improvement.
Yet in the end it proved the death of her. Grief paralyzed me for the first couple of days. It was so hard waking up at night and not see her curled up on the bed. I wanted to feel her furry face in mine in the morning checking to see if I was awake yet. I would imagine I saw her sitting in her favorite window even though she wasn’t there. I longed to see her look at me with anticipation as I came in the door. After almost a year of separation, I still miss her.
At the time I couldn’t make sense of it. Why would the Lord bless me only to let that same blessing leave me so suddenly?
Struggling with questions
Some believe everything happens for a reason. I’m not one of those people. I believe sometimes a guiding Hand does prompt events in our lives. But I also believe that other times there’s no rhyme or reason. Things just happen. It’s part of living in a fallen world.
Yet the passing of my mother’s cat had me wondering. A few days ago the cat began vomiting, much like my Tashi did. Then she stopped eating and drank very little. The vet said something had entered her kidneys and very quickly did a great deal of damage.
My mother had two options: She could hope a hospital stay would clean out the cat’s system, or she could put the cat down. This cat had lived nine years, and given the current state of her kidneys, it wasn’t clear how much longer she would live even if the hospital stay worked. After some consideration, my mother decided to end the cat’s life.
The vet ended the cat’s life by lethal injection. Yesterday we had the funeral. My father buried the animal in his back yard, not far from a bush under which the cat liked to lie on warm, sunny days. How appropriate. It’s also on the end of the yard opposite Tashi’s grave. My mother’s cat never liked Tashi, so we always kept them apart. Now even in death we still keep them separated.
Are events like these part of some grand master plan? Does everything really happen for a reason? Or is this just the result of living in a fallen world in which bad things just happen?
Lift where you stand
I’ll let you find your own answers. I’m fine with mine. What matters more is that God will always be there to support us. He even prepares the way for support to come to us. We are that way. All we need to do is lift where we stand. Then we can watch God perform miracles.
Having lost a beloved animal, I can support my mother as she experiences her own encounter with that grief. Perhaps God allowed my Tashi to die last year so I could better support my mother now.
My mother is almost addicted to mango smoothies, so the night her cat died I bought her a mango smoothie. It wasn’t much in itself, but it was a simple gesture that communicated my love and concern for her.
I know I’ll need to offer more support in the coming days. And as I use my own negative experience to bring goodness into the life of someone I love, I know with more certainty that God can take all the awful situations in my life and turn them into jewels.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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