Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Comfort in Time of Debra of Sleepy Cat Designs

Losing a loved one (human or animal) can be devastating on so many levels, as we all know. And comfort from other loved ones is essential for recovery. Our pets often are among those loved ones who provide comfort and support during grief and sadness. I learned this well from a painful personal experience.

Carmen and Jonathan (top row)
Dave, Kathy and Preston (bottom row)
On March 9, 1997, my sister, her husband, my niece, and my two nephews were all killed in a horrible accident when a train collided with their van in Ohio. I have no other siblings and my sister’s children were loved by me as if they were my own, and we were very close, especially because I have no children myself. Needless to say, this tragedy cannot be described well in terms of how devastating it was to me. I was alone when I received the news as far as human companionship; I had two cats at that time, Twinkles and Chelsea.

Twinkles (left) and Chelsea
My cat, Twinkles, who was 4 years old at this time, had never in his entire life slept next to me on the bed at any time since I rescued him at the age of 4 weeks. He always wanted to jump on the bed and sleep near my feet but never near enough to me so that I could pet him and never up close to any part of my body while sleeping.

But in the early morning hours after the police came to inform me of this horrific tragedy, something almost miraculous happened. I was lying on my bed crying, sobbing to be exact. I could not process this loss in a calm way. The grief was enormously overwhelming, and my tears and sobs continued off and on for several hours.

Within a few minutes of me lying down, Twinkles jumped up on the bed and immediately and unhesitatingly came to my side and smelled my face and licked a few tears off my cheek. He then turned around several times in a circle and finally settled down right up close to my tummy and chest, as close as he could get. And he let me pet him and hold him snuggled up tightly while I sobbed and moaned. He never tried to move away or get away from my grasp. And he purred constantly. We stayed like that for at least 3 hours. I was finally able to calm down somewhat, in part due to his loud purring and rhythmic breathing. And eventually I was able to get up and start facing the new day, going through the motions of daily life as I started to deal with things related to this life-altering news.

I was so glad my cats were there, now demanding food and a clean litter box. Those little chores kept me sane during an insane time. I kept thinking of what Twinkles had done for me. I cannot describe the comfort and love I felt coming from that warm little body and the soothing nature of his loud, rhythmic purrs. Amazingly, he really knew what to do in order to help me cope and endure the beginning nightmare of dealing with such a severe loss in my life.

Taking a break from play time!
Twinkles lived another 7 years, dying at age 11 of cancer. He was the most special pet I’ve ever had in many ways, and he gave me countless hours of joy and happiness because he was a funny cat, very unique and endearing. He was my little clown, always doing something to make me laugh, seemingly on purpose! He loved chocolate pudding and would fight me for it! And he was truly a Southern kitty (we lived in Georgia), because he liked sweet tea, too!

Drinking sweet tea on my desk!
I already knew how smart and special he was, but on that occasion, he proved it in such an astonishing way, providing just what I needed so desperately at just the right time in a specific situation. Somehow he knew that he had to help me, and he did it, even though it was not something he would normally do. And he never did anything like that ever again.

But that is okay. My Twinkles was there exactly when I needed him the most. And I'll be forever grateful.


Written by: Debra of Sleepy Cat Designs where she sells her original handmade cat safety collars made out of all sorts of cute cotton fabrics. Her love of cats and all animals inspires her to create many types of useful and affordable creations for people and their pets. She also works as a volunteer with the Crafting for Animals Guild along with many other talented animal-loving artisans from ArtFire.


Fisher and Staff said...

I have read many stories and reports about how cats and dogs comfort their people. Your story is so well done and so real. Thank you for sharing it, Debra. I only wish you didn't have to suffer such a loss.
Have a peaceful and wonderful Thanksgiving.
- Jobi

3 Peeps Designs said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Debra, but your story is spot on. Our pets do help us heal... and they do it so well.

Cherilynn Wood Fine Art said...

Brought me to tears, what great loss you suffered and just how in tune with us pets really are.
Mr. Twinkles knew exactly what you needed and was there.
Thanks for sharing, it is beautifully written.

Debra at Sleepy Cat Designs said...

I am sorry for taking so long to say thank you for the very kind words from those of you who have taken the time to comment on my story. I really appreciate it.