In the midst of my to-do list work last week, I wrote “After My Father’s Suicide, It Was a Cat That Saved Us” about — surprise, surprise! — Harry! It’s not an exaggeration to say that he saved us after my father died, especially my mom, and I’ve always marveled at how one tiny kitty could bring so much love, comfort and joy into our lives. Cat people unite, right?
As time went on, though, I began to notice a change—slowly and quietly at first, just as Harry himself had so quietly made his presence known to us when he first arrived. We settled into a comfortable routine, and it was the same routine every night: We’d eat dessert, watch an episode or two of Frasier and by the closing credits, Harry would be sound asleep in my mother’s lap, his head resting softly in the crook of her arm. I remember glancing over and just taking in the peacefulness of it all. There was my mother, a woman grieving the loss of her husband, calmly rocking our seven-pound feline friend. Back and forth. Back and forth. There was a sort of rhythm and cadence to it that made it almost hypnotic—a sense of order amid the chaos that had become our lives.
It was our new ritual. A moment of comfort after a long day. A time when the weight of grief could be lifted from our shoulders, even if only for a few minutes.
We were so worried about how we’d take care of Harry, how we’d make his life better, that we completely overlooked something equally important: He healed us too.
Even in the depths of our grief and with death all around us, we managed to experienced life again with a sense of renewed energy — a new sense of hope and faith in something that we desperately needed. Harry brought a sliver of light to our dark world at a time when we needed it the most.
You can read the full essay here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo