It’s been a tough few days.
Our little Kitten, Gwen, has been a joy to us. She is sweet, the most loving and affectionate cat we’ve ever known. She wakes us up every morning by hopping on our beds, purring loudly and licking our faces. She sleeps in a tight little puff-ball at the foot of our bed. She plays with the kids, bringing them her favorite toy and mewing loudly until they notice her waiting there. She loves the dog, and they eat, sleep, and play together like siblings. Her rabbity-soft fur is silkier than anything I’ve ever touched, warm and soft and inviting as her little engine purrs under our hands. She’s been a blessing.
On Saturday, she got sick. She vomited all day, and stopped eating and drinking. By Sunday, she was so dehydrated that she required a night in Animal ER, fluids, x-rays, blood tests….to try and find the source of all this suffering. She was suffering so much that she wouldn’t allow us to touch her, she growled when anyone came near…especially the children. It broke our hearts.
She bounced back a little, and is home now. But she still isn’t eating or drinking, and although she has a little of her spunk back she is not the same cat she was last week. We have no answers on what might be wrong. I’m not sure she is going to make it.
The kids are having a hard time. They love this little animal, they want so desperately to keep her, for her to return to normal, for her to be her healthy and happy self again. This is a longing I can’t promise fulfillment on. This is a faith-testing, soul searching, heart-aching road. I feel the tenderness, the vulnerability, the open wound of their fear and pain so deeply, I see the worry and loss in their eyes and I can only say…God provides. God created her and loves her as much as we do, and He knows what is best. I can only say, God is good, if she gets better. He is good if she does not. He gave her to us, and He has a plan for that…whether it is that we get to keep her for years, or that He picked us for her because he knew we would pour a lifetime’s worth of love into seven short months, I do not know. But I know that God is good.
Oh, I hate to see my children’s hearts break.
Monday night, after bringing the sick cat home from her hospital stay, we found Rachel’s beloved pet fish, Caruso, dead in the tank. Why now, with all that is happening with the cat? I don’t know. Our kids feel these things so deeply, they love with such abandon. What could we do? Andrew and I sat together, saddened. Knowing the pain that awaited our little five year old, the child with the heart ten times too big for her little body. God gives, God takes away. How much can a child endure in one week, and keep her faith? We agonized a bit…how bad would it be, if we quietly removed Caruso, replaced him with an identical fish? But no, God’s plan…however difficult, is good. He is doing something, he does not waste even pain. Andrew made Caruso a matchbox coffin, we stood over our sleeping Rachel and prayed for her little heart, for peace and faith to be bigger than life’s little, piercing griefs.
Morning came, grey and cold. Rachel took it well. We carefully placed Caruso in the little, tissue-lined box, she said her goodbyes. Her brother and sister, who have buried pets before, were strong by her side. They were a comfort, they knew her pain. Rachel picked a quiet, special spot under the trees, and we prayed around a tiny grave. “God, thank you for Caruso’s life. Thank you that he was pretty and a blessing for the time we had him. Thank you that he is in heaven, swimming happily in the little pond by our heaven-house…with other pets who came before”. Amen.
Stones and pretty Autumn-painted leaves, bright blue flowers mark the place. We carried on. God is good, God is always good.
I pray that the kids don’t have to bury another pet this week, that our kitten makes it through. Selfishly, I want to beg God…please, please make her better. Please don’t break my kids’ hearts again. But I know…God is good when He gives, and good when He takes away. It’s not my decision to make, whatever lesson we need to learn here is God’s to decide. The kitty is hanging in there, but I don’t know what the chances are that she’ll make it. I feel weary, care-worn, I want to lay my head down and cry, I don’t feel like I have enough left to be strong for the kids…for their questions, their fears, their sadness.
But God will provide, He is good. One way or another, we will come through this stronger, more the people He is moulding us to be. My heart cries out, but my faith is in Him. These hurts are part of life, the ups and downs that weave a tapestry too big for us to comprehend. We are blessed that that our lives are as easy, as peaceful as they are…even at times like this. This morning, I look to the Psalms for strength…David, that king of old, knew far greater suffering, far greater ups and downs than I. He cried out, and was comforted. He praised and lamented and still held faith.
Psalm 59: 9-10 O my Strength, I watch for you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.
My strength is in Him, in He who gives and takes away.
Lord, I pray for strength through this hard time, for me and Andrew and especially for our children. You know our hearts, you know our feelings. You know that we want our little cat to make it and be healthy again, but help us through whatever your will is on this matter. We thank you and praise you for your blessings, for the wonderful life you’ve given us and the beauty it entails. Be our Strength, let us rest in You. Amen.
Update: Kitty is doing much better today! I have hope that she’ll be Ok, she is eating again and although she still won’t drink, I have been able to force enough fluids that she has perked up quite a bit. We’re optimistic that she’ll make it!