7 months ago today, Rick died. The 18th of each month continues to be a reminder - a milestone - until I hit the year mark. 3 years ago today, my best friend's dad died. It is still stunning to realize that such a great man has been gone from this earth for 3 years already. Time passes without our consent. We count the days and then the months and soon, the years. It seems impossible that years can pass so painfully slowly...and yet suddenly and all at once, BOOM. We're looking back. They've passed. Time has elapsed. We are here, others are not. Life went on. And we are left with dates.
My first association with this date, however, was a good one. Before the 18th of each month became a heavy countdown and a reminder of suicide, before December 18th marked the death of someone I loved and admired, it was something else. On December 18th, 2010, I adopted my cats.
Cats aren't a big deal to some people. Some people like them and some people don't. Pets. Animals. Maybe members of the family... but I'm sure there are a lot of people who wouldn't remember the date they adopted their cats. For me, though, my cats were a true gift. On December 18th, four years ago, I found my Christmas kittens.
Imagine a 26 year old woman, still processing the unfortunate news that she cannot have a baby with her husband. Imagine her sadness after a long time of trying only to receive such news. Imagine her childhood without any pets. Imagine her desire to love and care for others. Imagine her motherly instincts with no outlet. And then imagine Rick taking her to a shelter to find a kitty... and coming home with two.
My cats gave me immense happiness immediately. Never a cat person, I became enamored with Juice and Tumbler. I realized a level of gratitude for two cats I never would have thought possible. They saved me in a time of need. And this year, they saved me again. When I come home, they come to me. When I am sad, they snuggle me. When I sleep at night, they're next to me.
So, for all the dates that represent hard times and sad memories, I'm glad I have my cats with me.
The Cat Widow, signing off.