We never know where life’s journey will take us. Many of us having been side-swiped by tragedy, seemingly out of thin air, forcing us to accept that our journey from now on will be laced with grief and take on a life of its own. Long before I became an author or a blogger, I wrote this story. I didn’t date it (somehow I always think I will remember), but it was written a few months after my son died. I sent it to a magazine; I do remember doing that. Searching through some stored papers recently, I came across it. I sat back and read it again allowing it to transport me back to another time when my life was innocent and fair. Here’s the beginning of my life with Pipy in it. May you enjoy the story whether you are a feline lover or not.
“One warm evening last summer, my husband and I took a stroll down our country road. On the right side was a huge soybean field, lush and green from the abundant rain. Suddenly we heard a faint “mew”. It sounded like a kitten. We stopped and stared at the direction of the sound. A tiny kitten peeked through the foliage, a skinny little gray tiger kitten. Poor thing. Perhaps he had been looking for food in the field? He was not afraid of us and wanted to be held. We already had a cat, a spoiled unfriendly Samantha. But this kitten could use one good meal at least.
It was useless to put him down. He was not going back where he came from. He dogged our steps so it was either pick him up or step on him. All the way home, I pondered the options: did he have an owner who missed him? Unlikely since we were surrounded by horse farms with barns and probably dozens of nameless cats. Was he tossed out to fend for himself? Perhaps, but he was not fearful at all. At least we could feed him before sending him back out to live on his own. One look at the way my husband held him gave me an inkling that this kitten’s chances had already improved.
He ate like the starved kitten he was. And as he did, he began to work himself into our hearts. Soon we were trying to think of names for this ‘outdoor mouser’. No way could he be inside with Sammy. I don’t know where the name, ‘Pipy’ came from, but he just seemed like a tiny ‘pipsqueak’, so small and frail. Soon he responded to his name and would come bouncing up to me from wherever his explorations took him.
Pipy turning out to be a kind and gentle kitten. He loves to play and has large almond-shaped expressive eyes. He soon won over our hearts to the point that there was talk about making him an indoor cat, considering the cold winter soon to come. Gradually we introduced Pipy to Sammy and to this day she snarls at him, but they seem to get along like any other siblings.
Little did we know that the fun antics from this kitten would soothe our broken hearts. Within weeks, we became shocked and grieving parents when our oldest son ended his life. There are no words to explain the anguish this created in our hearts. Perhaps time will help us learn to live again. Each day we shed buckets of tears that only God sees. We know that He is traveling this dark road with us.
During those first long and painful weeks, it began to dawn on us that perhaps God sent Pipy to us. He knew that our lives would soon be turned upside down and we would need this fun loving kitten to ease our pain and bring out peels of laughter in the midst of our grief. Each time we find ourselves laughing at this silly kitten, we remind ourselves that God does care about the simplest things when He gave us a ‘baby’ to love.
We could fill a book with Pipy’s antics. He is fascinated with the concept of gravity. He loves to push things off the edge of any surface and watch them drop to the floor. Needless to say, it is not unlike picking up after a child again. He and Sammy get into rough and tumble fights. Pipy is obviously having the time of his life. Sammy? Not so much. She hates having her calm and peaceful world so radically disrupted so she hisses and growls at him which of course fascinates him and makes us laugh.
One morning I heard what sounded like thundering hooves tearing up and down the hallway accompanied by a swishing sound. Sure I was imagining things, I turned off the hairdryer and peered out of the bathroom. There was Pipy, running around the house with a plastic grocery bag apparently attached to his middle and as he ran the bag became a parachute. Out of the parachute tumbled chocolate candy, hitting the walls and bouncing everywhere. The sight was too much. I doubled over, howling with laughter which brought my husband to the scene. By this time the show was over and a very frightened Pipy was hiding behind a chair with the empty bag still wrapped around him.
What apparently happened was Pipy, who loves the smell of chocolate, decided he wanted a piece of brightly wrapped Christmas chocolates which filled a pretty candy dish. I had covered the bowl with the grocery bag, hoping that he would leave the candy alone. Since the bowl was on the floor, empty, I assumed that in trying to uncover the bowl and help himself, he managed to dump the entire contents into the bag and off he ran, trying to get away from the bag that was flying behind him.
It has been a short 6 months since our son died. Each day is just as hard as the day before, but we put our trust in God. We know that He will get us through our grief to a place where we can have pleasant memories of our son. How thoughtful of God to provide us with Pipy, a source of comfort and laughter at a time when we need it the most.”
It seems strange to read something written at the 6th month point, which I remember thinking then that time crawled past slower than a snail. And now it is going on 9 years. I would have told you early on that years were impossible, but God has carried us along. So if you happen to be early in your journey, take heart and take my hand and we will both lean on God for comfort and support.
Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars. James 1:17, GWT