You guys know that Natalie and I have been very (very, very, VERY) depressed since our baby boy, Kit, passed away. We’ve cried so much…I’m a really positive person, but so little in life held a true, meaningful joy anymore, after he passed. Kit wasn’t just any cat (not that any cat is just ANY cat, but you know what I mean): he was our furry soulmate. He made life beautiful, and then he was just gone.
We did the best we could. We carried on. We loved our other pets fiercely, used our writing to help distract us from the bone-crushing grief. I’ve lost pets before, and I lost a soulmate dog when I was a teenager. And it was that level of grief, losing Kit. Grief I never really thought could be made better.
This morning, I woke up and had the weirdest want in the world. I really don’t like malls–one of my first jobs was working at a mall at Christmas, so since then, they’ve not been my favorite places (when you have a lady screaming at you in hysterics because you don’t have her size of slipper…you tend to get an unfavorable impression of how people interact with each other at the holidays ;D). But I wanted to go to LUSH, which is one of my favorite stores…and it can only be found in the mall. Natalie was busy on a project, and she asked if we could go later. Normally I would tell her absolutely and start my writing for the day.
But for some really strange reason…I really wanted to go just then. For no reason, really. So I said: “honey, I really would like to go now.” So she smiled, gave me a kiss and we went.
We went to LUSH and I smelled all of their wonderful holiday products and got new shampoo…and then we walked out of the store. “Look, there’s Santa!” I told Natalie, and because she knows I’m one big softie for Santa, we went to get a look at him. And he looked VERY Santa-like, with a real beard and everything.
I glanced down the mall wistfully, watching all the people bustling about, buying their holiday presents. Lights twinkled overhead, holiday music piped over the speakers…
“I know it’s weird,” I told her with a little smile, “but do you want to walk through the mall?”
“You hate the mall!” she told me, raising an eyebrow.
“I know, but do you want to anyway? It’s the holidays…” I said to her with a soft smile.
So together, hand in hand, we strolled through the mall. We actually, surprisingly, walked all the way to the other end. For no reason at all.
As we were going up the escalator, I happened to glance down the side corridor we hadn’t walked down. “Oh, wait!” I told her, three quarters of the way up the escalator. “They just opened up an SPCA adopt-a-cat store! Do you want to go look at the kitties? We don’t have to,” I added hastily. “We WOULD have to ride back down the escalator. Maybe we shouldn’t. It’s a lot of hassle…” I said, but Natalie gave me a smile and said we should. So we went back down the escalator and went into the SPCA store.
We puttered around, buying a soft blanket for our kitties, and some treats–all the money went to the SPCA, so we thought that was wonderful. Then we looked at the cats. We loved them all and whispered to them that we hope they got adopted soon.
Then we paid for our purchases and were on our way out the door.
And someone rushed in, carrying two cat carriers.
“Sorry I’m late,” she managed, setting them down on the ground. She opened one, and then…the floor fell away from me.
Out of that carrier she pulled a tiny black and white kitten.
Kit was black and white. But that wasn’t it. When I looked at this kitten, he looked EXACTLY like Kit, right down to the black side chin. He had warm, golden eyes, and when I saw him, my heart stopped beating.
Natalie and I both stared at him for a long moment as they put him into a fresh cage. Then, we went up to the cage.
“Can we pet him?” I asked one of the volunteers. “We just lost our black and white boy…” My heart skipped a beat when I saw this was a boy, too.
“You have to be interested in adopting a cat to pet them, I’m sorry,” said the volunteer with a frown. “Are you interested?”
“No, no,” I told her, taking a deep breath. “It’s okay, thank you.”
Natalie and I stared at the kitten and the kitten stared at us.
We watched that kitten through the glass for an hour. SO many of his mannerisms were just like Kit’s. Natalie and I cried as we watched that kitten.
But that great, big cloud of blackness that had been hanging over me? For the first time since Kit’s death…it began to lift.
Natalie and I laughed, through our tears, at his antics. And, after a long time, we left the SPCA shop and stumbled back into the mall.
“We promised we wouldn’t do this,” I told her. “I know,” she said with wide eyes. We glanced at one another.
“But what if…” I began, and she began at the exact same time.
We made three laps of that mall. Natalie bought and ate a pretzel. We tried to talk ourselves out of it, but we both kept coming back to the exact same thing:
He made us so ludicrously happy. And we loved him the moment we saw him.
We knew that emotions were in play. Obviously. But our grief has been so tremendous and so dark, and watching him play, that grief remained, but it was less painful. More love-filled again. We remembered Kit and how much we’d loved him, and how much we love our own kitties, and how we really do have room for another in our hearts.
So we went back. Even though we promised we’d never adopt a kitten (we love adopting older kitties), even though we promised we wouldn’t get another so soon. Even though we’d said a million things, none of it mattered.
Because we were in the perfect place at the perfect time for a miracle to happen. For grief to be eased. For new love to begin again. We will never stop loving or missing Kit. But, tonight, the grief eased into the memory that we loved him fiercely. And that love didn’t die with him. And that love always grows.
And if one tiny thing out of all the many, many random events that had to happen in order for us to be there at the perfect time to see this kitten hadn’t happened…we never would have met him. But every tiny thing did go right. I did wake up with the randomest urge in the WORLD to go to the mall. We did walk to the other end of the mall, even though we NEVER, EVER do. We rode up the escalator, and I could have been looking in the other direction, and I never would have seen the sign for the SPCA. A moment’s difference would have meant us not seeing him at all.
But everything conspired, miraculously, for us to be there at the perfect time. And we were.
Tonight, we brought our new baby home. And I would love to introduce him to you–his name is Kai (pronounced “Ky”).
And, when I look at him, I remember that miracles happen, that life goes on, that love always, always, always is what matters.
(There are more pictures of Kai here, at my Facebook album that I made for him! 🙂 )