For the few and far between WatchUsRoamers, (hi, mom!) there has been a noticeable absence of anything and everything blog related recently. The short answer is that both parts of WUR have moved to new cities, began new jobs, and have been traveling. So, kind of A LOT going on! But the long answer is that something felt wrong worrying about posting to a blog when other, bigger, things have been going on in the world lately. The world has been rocked by terrorism, innocent people losing their lives, and senseless crimes that honestly I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around. And so for months now, I haven’t. I’ve been relatively silent and withdrawn.
Both of us are Libras. We like balance, peace, and not rocking the boat. The horror of world terror (on top of all of our own recent personal transitions) makes me feel powerless and sad. So for weeks I have wanted to put up posts, but I didn’t schedule them. It didn’t feel right, like somehow I was trying to make everything about me when I have it so, so good. And I’m very grateful for how good I have it. But then one week ago this Friday night, as my mom and I were settling into a weekend of organizing my new house in Kansas City, we got a call from my dad that our favorite kitty at home had been hit by a car. It was a long week, mom and I were exhausted, and she immediately burst into sobs. I’ve rarely seen my mother cry like that. I was numb to the news, so I waited. Stubborn to the fact that this would even be close to the end of my big sweet kitties life. I was calm. Thankfully we got ahold of a vet in our small town that would agree to see our kitty after hours. I was trying so hard to be optimistic, that they would set his leg and he would just need some months of a warm bed, cuddling, and learn to walk again. My family are pros at rehabilitating sick animals. This would be no big deal. My mom immediately packed up to leave Kansas City to try to get home to help. I watched her pull out of my driveway and I lost it. Overwhelmed by the sadness I’ve been carrying around for the world, for the struggles of people close to me, and for my inability to make sense of the type of person who runs over a sweet kitty and leaves him in the road to die. Or the person who mows down helpless people with automatic weapons. Or the person who feels like hate and murder are the only answers. The world is heavy right now. Sadly, there was nothing the vet could do for our sweet Black Kitty. And I cried myself to sleep wishing I had stopped longer to pet him when I was home last weekend.
I know it sounds silly to compare detrimental world crimes to the death of a cat. And that night I actually felt mad at myself for feeling so sad about it when there are so many others who have lost so much more. I still have a sick feeling in my stomach that I’ll never get to rub his fat belly again, or lay in the sun with him and listen to his loud purrrr, or feed him kitty treats, but I know that is nothing compared to the grief of others. That next morning as I sat on my couch teary-eyed and clutching a cup of tea, I remembered something a really smart friend (shout out to Dr. Myers!) told me one time, “It’s okay to feel sad.” It’s okay to take time to sit in the sadness of losing a friend that had been in my life for 18 years, even if he was a kitty cat. He was regal, and didn’t deserve to end his life the way he did. And as much as I may try, I’ll never get to justify that. And I had no control over it. Not even a little bit. But I don’t have control of anything really, besides my happiness and thought process. Which is why this week I have come to realize that hiding isn’t going to help anything. And maybe there is someone out there who would be thinking these same thoughts, that maybe I’m not alone this week of sitting with my sadness of wishing the world was peaceful and all people were nice. But for me, hiding only creates a space of fear and doesn’t propel life forward. So I’m writing about it, because that’s how I process my life. The sound of the keys gliding across my screen, putting raw thoughts to paper, always makes me feel better. Sadness and worry have a time and place for recognition; invite them in, and then gracefully let them know it’s time to leave. (For profound inspiration on that topic, check out the Instagram of @alimakesthings) Just because awful things are happening, we shouldn’t let hate win, and that means celebrating all that we do have. All that is right in our worlds, all that is good, all that is magestic and whole and honest, like the love of my kitty taken too soon. His story is a good one, and it deserves to be told to honor his sweet life: We rescued him as a stray kitten, probably a little less than a year old, who had wandered into my grandparent’s yard where he was just sitting and meowing. Turned out, he was actually crying in pain because he had a broken foot. I remember my mom scooping him up and looking his pathetic little body over, and we were all smitten. (My family has a thing for black cats.) We took him to the vet where they amputated three of his toes.
Three toes down, a couple of days, and one foot bandage later, he entered our crazy animal-loving family and never looked back. At that time, I was around ten years old and my brother was about four. We simply called him Black Kitty, and my brother was his playmate.
They would spend hours in the backyard together, “hunting”. Black Kitty was an avid hunter cat, very loyal to our house, and loved running through our back field after rabbits and mice. And often proudly showed off his conquests, parading around all of the doors to the house with his loot.
He protected our property from every single stray tomcat that ever came near, and many times he took the brunt of their fights and abuse. We often joked he had more than 9 lives. He was a black cat, but he was our lucky charm. I have happy memories of summer days watching him roll himself in the dust of my grandma’s garden, and lazily sunning his fat belly on our sidewalk.
He loved to sneak inside, and I let him in any chance I got. He would let us do almost anything to him, and had the loudest purr.
He would perch himself on the cutout above our kitchen sink and sleep for hours, regally watching everyone with one eye open at all times.
When he wanted outside, he would simply go to the door and meow to be let out. He loved to be outside and roam. Everyone loved this special black cat. I hope he’s in kitty heaven eating a bunch of his favorite cat treats right now.
In the past couple of months my family has lost our dog of over twenty years, and our best family cat of almost twenty. Both were true testaments to the amount I love animals to this day, both rescues, and both just needed a friendly face to take a chance on them with love. Growing up with these animals provided me with some of my best childhood memories, and they may be gone, but I will never forget how much selfless love they gave me in return. This is what this whole blogging platform is for, right? Vignettes of our lives, good and bad, sickness and in health? My hope is that moving forward, we have more joy to celebrate, and less weight, especially during this holiday season. So to end on an upbeat note, this past weekend was also a significant milestone for Watch Us Roam because we turned 1 year old! ONE entire year of travels, recipes, weddings, parties, and figuring out life. Good and bad. Also this week last year, I finished a marathon, which I didn’t ever think I could do. And when I finished, suddenly everything that seemed out of reach, felt a little closer. I’m so excited to see what the next year brings for both parts of Watch Us Roam- I have a feeling after we get a little more settled into our new lives, that things are going to be really, really good. In Dallas. In Kansas City. And beyond.
So cheers to joy, seasons of comfort, love of all kinds, and Watching Us Roam- because kitty loved to roam most.