December 16th 2005 6:14 pm
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“Be a good girl, Sweetheart … Mommy and Daddy will be back to get you. I love you, Mousie …”
Mouse purred, puzzled that she wasn’t going WITH everyone in the big rollsy monster. But the people at the Vet’s house are nice, and Mommy ALWAYS comes back. Mommy had packed her favorite sleepy nest, and blanket, and kibbles, even the pillow case that she and Mommy shared each night.
She played each day with the girls who cleaned her cage, dreamed of days to come. Then Wednesday morning she was given something to make her sleepy … and she was … and she drifted off ….
* * * *
…. as Max, Maggie, Pepper, Katie, Nikki, LadyScot, Quinny, Claws, Coffee, Elvira and Curly materialized in front of Andrew, who paced in obvious distress under a massive aspen … a frenzy of movement in the trees branches as two canaries and a parakeet scrambled to perch … “What the ….”
Max was the first to regain his composure as the startled animals tumbled out of nowhere at Andrew’s feet. “What’s going ON?”
“I’m sorry. I know I told you I’d never snatch you like this from where ever but I needed you NOW, and this wasn’t the fastest way.”
“Well, I NEVER….”
“Hush, ‘Virey, he wouldn’t have done this if it wasn’t important. Now Andrew, what’s all the urgency about”.
“It’s Mouse. Something unexpected has happened, and ….”
Maggie pushed her muzzle at Andrew, saying “Shush you guys, let me handle this. Andrew, you’re scaring us. Angels are never upset like you are.”
“Mouse just flat lined at the Vet’s office. He’s on the telephone with her Mama and Dad who are in Delaware with Grampa. This was NOT expected, I wasn’t told it was her time. No one knew it was her time. One of you needs to come with me. The rest of you need to stay here and pray.”
Maggie dropped her head. “Oh no.”
“Maggie, I think you should go. You guys were close. Dan’l you go too. The rest of us know what to do from here …”
“Max, maybe one of the Clan kitties? Or the Pride?” But despite Maggie’s reluctance, Dan’l perched on her shoulder, hung on tight, nodded to Andrew, and said “so be it, let’s go.” With that, the odd trio vanished.
Max and the girls, the Clan kitties, Coffee, the canaries sat in troubled silence, closed their eyes, and sent all their love and strength to earth, and waited.
* * * *
Mouse sat watching the Vet and his assistants. They were huddled over a small tabby cat lying on the table, working feverishly. The Vet had paused to talk on the phone, clearly upset. There were tears and sniffles, as he finally said there was nothing more he could do.
She was puzzled by all this … the kitty on the table looked a lot like her own self. She felt a hand on her head and turned, to see a man, all dressed in white, and standing beside him her dear friend Maggie, with Dan’l determinedly clamped to her ruff …
“What?! What on earth are YOU two doing here, and who is HE?”
“Mouse, come away from here. You need to come with us.”
The Vet’s assistant had wrapped the kitty in a towel, and taken her away. Mouse turned her gaze back to the now empty table. She wasn’t at all sure she liked the way things felt. Things didn’t add up. Who was that kitty. And why are these people crying silently. And the strangest of all, why on earth was MAGGIE here, and Dan’l, who had died a long …
Andrew picked up Mouse from the table, and holding her close in his arms, Maggie pressed tightly against his side, the parakeet still latched onto Maggie’s ruff, and faded from sight ….
… and sat down upon a large rock, under the huge aspen … as Max, and the Clan kitties, the Pride, and the canaries crowded close.
Mouse struggled in Andrew’s arms. “Who ARE you, and put me DOWN. Will SOMEone please tell me what’s happening.”
Andrew held her on his lap, as Quinny nosed at her. “Hi sweetie … um, it’s us, Curly’s here, and Grandmother Kitty, and Miss Pepper, and Coffee …
“I can see that. But you all died and that doesn’t explain who this man is, and where’s Mama, and …
“Mouse, it wasn’t your time, but something went very wrong and you’ve … well, … you are here with us now … and …
As the situation began to sink in, and her eyes filled with tears, Maggie lifted Mouse from Andrew’s lap and deposited her on the soft grass. Maggie stretched out beside her, as the miserable little cat buried her face in Maggie’s fur.
“Andrew, leave us please.” Max and the others crowed around Mouse and Maggie, as the Angel walked apart for a bit. He knew the wise old cat would have the words to explain to Mouse what had happened, but he also knew it wasn’t going to be easy for any of them. And as he gazed out into things no one else could see, he knew that there were some pretty miserable people on earth at that moment too, and he was powerless to help any of them. This was one of those times when he had to trust the bond between animals and their human families, the bond he could never really understand. He knew it was something the Creator had given them.
As angels, their bond with the Creator was easily understood and not questioned, but this bond between humans and their pets never ceased to amaze him. Was it the same selfless and unconditional love that the Creator had for all He had made? Were these animals the true examples He gave to human kind, who seemed to ignore all the other attempts God made to show His love for His world? He knew God sorrowed deeply at times, over the things His children did on the beautiful earth He had made for them to enjoy. He knew that the Creator had a special place in His Heart of Hearts for the animals, not a one fell that He didn’t know about. Every single one of them was provided for, as none of them had ever turned their backs on their Creator. How innocent they were. And how stupid human kind could be. But God loved them. Unconditionally. And had He then, in all His wisdom, let these humble every day servants set the example by which God wished they’d all live?
There were many things even angels didn’t understand.
“ … so you see, Mouse, we will all wait there until Mama and Daddy and the others come too, and we’ll all live forever with the Creator.”
Andrew rejoined the animals he loved so much. They seemed ready now. Mouse was very quiet, they all were, but now it was all up to her. He picked her up, the others crowded close and they were gone ….
* * * *
“Here they come, I can see them …” excitement rose from the great gathering of cats, dogs, horses, birds, hamsters, everything imaginable … There were people too. Al and Eydie had walked down from the Great Gate. Vickie and Rose were surrounded by cats of all sizes and colors … the trees were filled with birds.
As the travelers appeared, Max, the girls, the Clan kitties all hopped off the beautiful multihued bridge to the soft grass and took their places. Dan’l flew from Maggie’s ruff to a low branch. All eyes were on Mouse and Andrew, who were still on the Bridge.
Max was the first to speak. “Mouse, now it’s your turn. All you need to do is to hop down from there and join us. God gave us our Free Will …”
Mouse trembled. This was wrong. ALL wrong. Mama said to wait. “NO. I can’t. I have to go back.”
There were gasps of disbelief as the little Scottish Fold kitty turned around and ran back into the mists as fast as she could.
* * * *
The lights were out, most of the animals had settled down for the night in their cages. Everyone else was gone. She found the cat room, where she’d been staying. Her carrier was gone, as was her blanket and her nest, but she found she wasn’t really cold. She curled up nose to tail.
“Mouse, you can’t stay here.”
“Andrew, go away. I don’t want to leave here. Mama is coming back. I know that. I am NOT going with you.”
“Mouse, you can speak to Mama in her heart. She will know you are at the Bridge, waiting for her. She has told the story to many, as she has told YOU when your four footed friends have died.”
“I’m not going to budge, and you might as well just go.”
Andrew gathered the miserable cat in his arms. “I will wait with you, my friend. She will be here soon.”
* * * *
“I know this sounds really awful, I know she’ll be cold and stiff, but I need to see her.”
“Mrs. Turbin, let me tell you, it’s not wrong at all. Spend all the time you need. I will go and get her now.”
Andrew sat on the counter, with Mouse on his lap. They watched as a woman sat on the chair. Another woman opened a door, and came in carrying a small bundle wrapped in a blue towel, and placed it on the table. “Take all the time you need.”
Alone with the little bundle, the seated woman rose, gathered the cat into her arms as she had done so many times in the ten years of her furry little friend’s life, and sat back down. She sobbed softly, stroked and kissed her and talked of her love, and the terrible hurt inside.
“Now, Mouse. Now. Tell her all the things you have seen and learned. Ease her grief. She will hear you. She will sense your presence.”
Mouse purred as hard as she could. Together they remembered walks, cuddles, their times together. They remembered soft fur, and a little pink toe. They remembered claw clippies and road trips. They remembered swimming and baths, and bundling together in a huge towel to dry. They remembered Christmases and decorating trees, and the little barn with the animals and the little figures. They remembered catnip and fireplaces, and down pillows. They smiled, they laughed, they cried. And they remembered. They remembered their unconditional and never ending love for each other, and they knew peace.
As the woman prepared to leave, she stooped again to leave a kiss and a promise. “There will be another kitty in the house. This I promise you. I will always love you. Wait for me, we will be together again.”
Silently Mouse turned to Andrew and nodded. With one last look at the bundle on the table, she turned to Andrew and they were gone.
* * * *
As he watched, Mouse looked one last time over her shoulder, and then leaped from the shimmering rainbow hued bridge to the ground, to the circle of animals and people waiting for her. It was as it should be. All was well. The others would teach her what she yet needed to learn. Sometimes it seemed there was much for Andrew to learn as well, he thought.
As he gazed across the night sky, he saw the woman curl against the man in their bed, and heard her say “I hurt, but I am at peace now.”
In loving memory of Mouse
October 12, 1995 – November 23, 2005
Sleep in heavenly peace, my sweet love.
Patricia Turbin, 12/1/05