IN MEMORY OF MY ‘PRETTY GIRL’, JEZABEL
My pretty Jezzie was like a beautiful, wise, serene girlfriend to me for fourteen years.
She provided me comfort at times of grieving other losses or in times of general depression over sad or disappointing events in my life.
Jezzie was never a “momma cat”, but she seemed to take the role of a calming, nurturing presence among her several fellow cats and kittens in my home. She could get impatient with their antics at times and would discipline those little rowdies with a cautionary hiss or swat. But she never threatened.
She enjoyed company and when friends visited me, she would stay close by while we conversed, waiting to be praised and petted. She especially loved it when my women’s spirituality group met around the dining table… she would sit near by and watch. I think she enjoyed the laughter and chatter of women’s voices. She was not fond of small children, however, and usually made herself scarce until they were gone.
For me, she brought comfort and joy just by sitting with me on the sofa as I did my nightly reading before going to bed. She was not a ‘bed buddy” like some others who enjoy cuddling, but she would settle herself at the foot of the opposite side of the bed on a soft cat-pad. She would come to me when I woke in the morning and loved me to rub her face and chin. While she disliked being combed, she tolerated it because she like to have her fur nicely groomed. She was a vain little lady-cat.
When her brother died, two years earlier, she adopted some of his favorite habits as if she was trying to soothe me and honor her brother’s memory.
Now that she is gone, my remaining three cats grieve with me, each in their own way, but with noticeable changes of routine habits. Especially the two young ones toned down their usual shenanigans so much that I began to worry about them. Only now, five days later when she has been buried and is out of the house, are they gradually returning to their usual playful selves.
But an amazing thing occurred three days before Jezabel died. One of the outdoor cats abandoned a young kitten at my doorstep. She seemed to do it purposefully, waiting until she knew I was looking. She simply pushed the kitten away from her as it tried to nurse, walked away too fast for it to follow. When I stepped outside to carry it to her, she had gone out of site and did not come back for it when it cried its little lungs out for the next half hour or more.
Finally I brought it into my 3-season porch so it would be warm and out of the way of my car and other dangers. I thought I would take it to be euthanized next day. But I bottle fed it a few times that night, and soon my heart was stolen. There was no way I could simply put this little spirit-gift down. So now I have a little four-week old kitten to distract me from my grief and help warm my heart.
It remains to be seen if I can bring it into the main house with my remaining three cats. Yet the two younger kids, Obie and Titi, who are only one year old themselves, are fascinated with the kitten and sit watching it play alone through the screen door that separates porch from house.
I have created a new fantasy: Perhaps there is some kind of fairy-angel-spirit that exists among all cats and acts as a messenger between them. In this case, it would have ‘told’ momma “Spot” that Jezabel was going to die in a few days, and encouraged her to give up one of her kittens to help fill the empty place in my home. So silly, but an amusingly comforting thought.
I have no profound final words on this subject, for I am still grieving deeply the loss of my dear friend and companion of fourteen years. But I have learned long ago that grieving is a process I must go through in order to heal and go one with my life.
Yet I sometimes find myself attempting to avoid the pain of my grief with miscellaneous ordinary responsibilities and daily distractions. Or I make light of sorrow by covering it up with humor, denial, or embarrassed excuses.
At those times I remind myself that I OWE it to my beloved to grieve her loss fully and whole heartedly. By departing, she has taken a small part of me with her and I am also grieving the loss of that bit of me.
I was holding Jezabel in my arms as she died and I feel certain she felt my love and sorrow, taking it with her into her own spirit. I like to imagine that lovely spirit of hers will continue to ‘haunt’ my home along with the spirits of her brother and several others, contributing to the sense of peace that infuses my home.
Still, I become more and more watchful for the signs that another little friend may soon leave me. So I currently watch “Spooky”, the one remaining of my “old timers” from the cattery days. I dread more grief too soon.