February 9, 2021
Guest contributor, Patti Brown, offers a reflection on gratitude. Patti and I have been friends since the early 1980s, and I know that throughout her life she has believed in the practice of taking time to reflect on things for which she is grateful.
Among the many things I am grateful for are three very special animals.
Cats were not my thing growing up. I preferred dogs. As a young twenty-something, I lived in Canada as a traveling entertainer. Sam, a black Siamese kitten, came along at the same time I married. He adapted well to living in hotel rooms and apartments. He was there when our daughter was born, when we divorced, and for the ten years I was a single mother raising a daughter. Sam was my rock…playing, cuddling, and loving us for 19 years. When I remarried and moved into a home with other cats and dogs, I believe Sam knew I would be okay. His health deteriorated quickly, and I lost my best friend.
Twelve years later, I found a litter of kittens on the side of the road and brought them to our country home where we already had several pets. Within six months I found myself in another divorce and Mikey, a beautiful long-haired tiger from that litter, had become my furry companion. His presence helped me through the devastating loss of that marriage, and for 15 years he was my lion-spirited but gentle protector. He loved me unconditionally and always accepted my friends by greeting them and wanting to sit on their laps. One friend often described him as a person in a cat suit, which I think was quite accurate. I am so grateful for the lifetime we had together. We comforted one another in equal measure. He will always be in my heart.
I allowed myself time to grieve and became closed off from wanting the responsibility of another pet. But when a stray 2-month-old kitten was offered to me, I felt the nudge to accept the care of a very frightened being. Mango now holds that special companion spot. He romps around and makes me laugh. He is learning enough trust that he can sit on my lap and accept caresses. He still dashes for cover at any strange sound, but his curiosity soon brings him back into the room. Mango reminds me to be more patient, nurturing, and responsible. I am so grateful I could open my heart again as Mango and I live one hug, one joy, one day at a time.