Love is Sad

Two days ago, one of our sweet kittens (born to Frog’s cat) had to be put down due to birth defects.  His name was Lucky.  His life was a small miracle, and the message he brought to our family was invaluable.

When Frog got his kitten Lia, he made it very clear that he really, really wanted her to have her own kittens.  He has such a soft spot for baby kittens and frequently has pretended that he is one.  We made it equally clear that Lia wasn’t to be allowed to have kittens because even if she did we’d not be able to keep them.  Still he hoped.  And his parents procrastinated.  And Lia became pregnant.

Watching Lia give birth to her 4 kittens was an amazing thing!  Her kittens were so sweet, and we loved them all.  Lia was immediately a doting and attentive mom.  We were quite proud of her!  One of her babies, though, was born with some problems we could immediately see.  He was born with a lesion on his rump, and his back feet were curled in.  We didn’t know what the problem was, but knew something was wrong.  He had a difficult time figuring out how to suckle, where his brother and sisters latched on right away.  But he fought for life, and made it past the first couple days.  We named him Lucky.  He was always the most vivacious of the 4 kittens.  Ready to tackle his siblings in play.  The first one out of the box to explore.  His heart was made for adventure, and he didn’t seem to realize that his back legs would get all in a tangle.  Our family watched as he struggled with a merry attitude, and admired his tenacity.  Yet we wondered who would love such a crippled kitty.  Because he would need to be cared for as an inside-only kitten, we couldn’t offer a home to him ourselves.

Several days ago, I started to feel like his life would, of necessity, need to be shortened.  I wasn’t sure why I got that feeling… now I believe it was the Holy Spirit preparing me for what lay ahead.  On Wednesday, we had to take him to a vet and found out that the struggle on the outside was only an indicator to his struggle internally.  His organs were not functioning properly.  It was only a matter of time.  The decision was made.  Lucky fell asleep.

Our children understood in various stages.  Frog took it the hardest as his comprehension was the clearest.  Alligator seemed to vary between insensitivity (saying to Frog, “it’s ok.  There are 3 others.”) and sorrow.  Monkey was aware of what was transpiring, but stated everything in fact and void of emotion.  Dove has no clue.

We took the opportunity to teach our children a lesson in the fragility of life, and the responsibility we have to love and care for all living things.  And yet, at the same time, pointed out to them that human life is still more valuable.  I grieved with my children.  Prayed with them.  Prayed for Lucky.  Prayed for my boys’ hearts.

Last night, after burying Lucky next to our other family pets, Frog and Alligator wanted to sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s room.  They were so sad and lonely after such a loss.  I sang a special song to Lucky that is a song I sing to each of my children and they are very familiar with the love they feel when I sing it to them.  In fact, it is a song I made up for them.  It is unique to my precious children.  But I wanted to help them mourn and love the memory of their small friend.  That song seemed to really open their hearts to a reality of love and the finality of loss.

Alligator whispered to me, “Mommy, I feel love… but I feel so sad.”   Oh, my precious Alligator!  Your heart is so like mine.  I understand that feeling more than you know.  In fact, it may have been after a loss like this of my own as a child that I decided to forego the feeling of love because the pain accompanying it was too much to bear.  For years, my heart didn’t let anyone in – including the family I trusted.  Until finally, I realized that while I had successfully shut out the pain, I was also shut out from joy.  I only watched as though through a window as everyone I cared about lived in such happiness and cried together in sorrow.  I made the conscious choice after living years in painless emptiness, that to feel the joy of love was worth the grief of love.  And my mom was so relieved to have my heart back.

I prayed for Alligator then that his sensitive heart would not be turned off to love because of its pain.  I don’t want to lose his heart even for a second.

As I left my room, I saw Alligator grieving his loss.  And I saw Frog, in his own sadness, reaching over to comfort his brother.  These brothers will be forever bonded in their love.  I am privileged to be a part.

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4 Responses to “Love is Sad”

  1. Stacy Turner Says:

    Charlotte – Your blog brought me to tears….I had a similar experience with Dylan a few months ago, and was so lost as how to comfort him and help him through his grieving. You are such a wonderful mom and someone I look up to everyday (even if we are so far away from each other). Please send all the kids hugs and kisses from me and Dylan.

  2. so sorry i love cats luckey be in my heart for every

  3. So sad for your family. Bittersweet growing experiences. When I met Lucky, I wished that we could take him.

  4. That was a sweet story. Thanks for sharing it. I also like how you have a spider’s web at the top of your blog.

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