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Monday, January 7, 2008

I have a dentist appointment in 5 hours and I can't sleep.

I've been needing to restock Phoebe's Gift soap for a little while now, but every time I make it, I inevitably revisit the day I lost her a bit more than two years ago.  Tonight I made another batch and sure enough, as I lay in my bed trying to sleep, I unwittingly revisited the day I picked up her remains from the vet.  Some people scoff at me if they know that I can still bring myself to tears if I think about that day for too long.  Eh.. what do they know?  I spent much of my life completely guarded from freely loving others.  The fear of being abandoned, fearing true intimacy and commitment has kept me at arm's length from most of my significant others, no matter how "serious" the relationship.  Phoebe was a little furry gift of irony.  I never once thought that someday I would lose her when I first took her in, but 15 years later..  it was inevitable.  

I find it both difficult and easy to believe that it took eight pounds of fur and purr to bring my guard down and unconditionally love another being.  Granted, it's not exactly the same as a romantic relationship.. well, not even close, but I digress.  The fact is, I was so fearful of losing her as she got older that it was almost a relief when she finally passed.  Experiencing that loss made me able to relate to others who have lost loved ones on another level.  And though I don't expect that it'll be any easier to lose another pet or my next relationship, I now know what it feels like to truly have my heart broken and thus am no longer paralyzed by my fear of it.  

From my website:

"'Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse.  'It's a thing that happens to you.  When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.  It doesn't happen all at once.  You become.  It takes a long time.  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.  But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.'"

-The Velveteen Rabbit
by, Margery Williams

In the summer of 1990, a little four week old kitten came into my life.  Phoebe spent her first eight years growing up with me in my hometown of Rochester, New York.  When I moved to Atlanta in 1998, she spent the drive down sunning herself atop the back seat.  From that time on, she became quite a traveler having lived in two different states, one house, six apartments, and even vacationed in Key West and Albuquerque.  

As she grew into old age, she developed asthma, but that didn't affect the intensity with which she lived, loved, and played.  Around that time, she also developed some food allergies that contributed to the loss of fur on the backs of her four legs.  With her little pink skin showing through her snow white fur, I called her my little velveteen kitty.  She was a special kitty who shared all of her fifteen years helping me to grow up and learn unconditional love and responsibility.  It is important to me to be able to create something with the love and energy I put into caring for her that can help others  bring a little fur baby into their life.  Phoebe was a special little girl that will remain forever in my heart.


1 comment:

jimiyo said...

Kats indeed... are awesome eh? Im living in a 10x20 hut right now with 2 adult cats, and 2 kitties. It's awesome... except Blue, the kitten, has the most heinous smelling excrement that would rival an adult carnivorous dinosaur's doo. She's a cutie though, used to be a scaredy cat, but once hands are laid on her, she gobbles up the attention... almost doesnt know what to do with it, gets all like... oh my! wow, this is awesome!