As I sat in the backyard reading, once again I noticed the cat sitting quietly a few feet away from me, just watching me in silence. Over the past month she began appearing in my backyard. For the past week or two I find her sitting next to my backyard chair where I sit to read. Here she is tonight. I had never pet her before because I’m allergic to cats. Tonight she locked eyes with me and just stared, as if she was speaking to me. This prompted me to put down my book, walk over to her and kneel down. She “meowed”, stood up, walked over to me and started rubbing against my leg.
For the first time ever, I began to pet her. I picked her up and she leaned into my chest, curled up against me, and died in my arms 15 minutes later. I was completely bewildered. I suspect she must have been ill and must have been waiting for me to hold space for her to let go. I do know that people can hold on at the end of life and they often wait for the moment most right for them to let go. I truly believe now that animals can also choose when they are going to let go and cross the rainbow bridge. I am blessed to have held this kitty when she chose to take her last breath… and at the same time, I feel kind of dumbfounded to be part of God’s little plan for her life.
I realize through all of this how easy it would be to take something beautiful and deconstruct it through our own fears, worry and self-doubt. I worried that I let her down and I should have pet her a couple weeks ago, I worried that maybe she hadn’t been eating and it was my fault. When I stay out of my head, and remain in my heart, I know that 2 weeks ago she would run if I got too close and she used that time to learn to trust me.
I know when I held her that she had been eating. I don’t fully understand why she died in my arms the first time I ever picked her up, other than because she was supposed to. I do know that unless we stay in the moment, our fears can carry us somewhere else and if we’re not careful we miss the beauty of life as it unfolds. For me, that sweet cat dying in my arms serves as a reminder to stay present to the small moments and the beauty that surrounds me in the everyday events of life. When our hearts are open we can do great things effortlessly and be of service to those, who only moments before, were “strangers.”