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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The gift of being a gift to others

It’s been a rainy season for me, emotionally speaking. I have recently lost two living beings that I was quite fond of. One was my mother, and the other my cat. Some people may wonder whether it is even appropriate to mention both in one sentence, or to consider the passing of these two beings at a similar level, but those people may not have contemplated the following:

In my life, both of these spirits were precious gifts to me: in their own way, they helped me through tough times, and I can only hope that I was able to return some of the blessings they bestowed onto me.

Coming to think of it, there were many common factors between these two loving spirits: they had both been challenged for a significant part of their lives with serious conditions, but departed rather unexpectedly, and due to entirely different causes. My mother was a triple cancer survivor, and everyone who knew her was amazed about the strength she represented by continuing her zest for life under circumstances where others would have long given up all hope. My cat – her name was Poes – had been suffering from heavy epileptic seizures since she was about 3 years old. When she passed she was a little over 11 years old, which means that for 8 long years she went through cycles of physical and mental challenges, a fact that convinced me that she must have had much more than the nine lives cats are usually claimed to have. These two “ladies” were both winners, and great role models to me in their own way. They were also very modest. My mother had great musical talents, but preferred to remain in the background, and never sought the limelight. My cat was sensitive and had the most beautiful blue eyes I have seen in a cat, but she preferred to stay in the background, especially when a little Yorkie entered our household and started demanding the majority of my attention.

There were times that I felt a slight sense of guilt toward my mother for not calling her often enough, even though I know she would have appreciated it very much. I felt similar waves of guilt toward Poes for not spending more time with her, and allowing the many other things on my agenda to get the better of me. And yet, they were both there: unwaveringly, loyally, truthfully, and without any blame. They simply accepted me for who and what I was, and continued to be the gracious gift they were.

Now that I am moving on without them, I can clearly see the value they added to my life, as well as the lives of others they touched. While they surely had their shortcomings, they did one major thing without any doubt: they served the important purpose of making the lives of others better because they existed. They were precious gifts. All I can therefore do to honor them is to try to be a precious gift as well to those I currently know and those I will still encounter on this journey.