When challenged to think of what I’m thankful for my list isn’t very unique. Health, family, friends and my cats. The usual suspects. I also don’t think I’m alone in often taking these things for granted.
Thinking back on 2016 there are two events that come to mind for which I’m most grateful for having my friends, family and acquaintances (some of whom I’ve never met or spoken to beyond the world of social media).
The two events are on complete opposite sides of the spectrum. One was one of the hardest things I’ve gone through. The other, one of the happiest.
While I’ve yet to write about on this blog, many of you may already know from the I HAVE CAT Facebook Page that Petie (aka Petie Bear, Petie Pants, Petie Pita Pants) my lovely, sweet, funny, painfully shy, chubby, grey tuxedo – the muse for this blog – passed away on July 18th at the age of ten.
While I won’t get into the details right here, right now, he was diagnosed last December with a mass in his chest cavity (One of the first blog posts I ever wrote, The Cat’s Meow, is about him).
I was fortunate to have friends, family and doctors spend time with me in person, texting and on the phone discussing test results, listening to me cry, helping me determine what questions to ask as I tried to navigate what was best for Petie versus what was best for me. What I would or wouldn’t end up regretting.
As someone who’d never gone through the loss of a companion animal before I was devastated and didn’t have a belief system or “personal protocol” to fall back on.
Knowing Petie was loved by thousands all over the world, I felt it was my duty to post updates on social media about his situation. I was overwhelmed by the support I received and the people that cried with me upon learning of his situation.
And when the time came, I had more than one friend offer to be with me so I wouldn’t be alone.
The outpouring of support I received was beyond overwhelming. Posts on social media expressing condolences and how much they would miss my Petie as well. The sympathy cards, Facebook posts, emails, text messages, books on grieving from friends, family as well as those I’d met once,or never at all. The flowers. The portraits. The donations made in his name.
The support from both fellow cat bloggers I’ve known for years and Instagram cat people I’d only met recently. I was, and still am so touched and thankful to each and every person who cried with me, listened to me, tried to guide me and acknowledged how hard it is to lose a furry family member.
I’m acutely aware of how fortunate I was because people shared with me that they were not as fortunate when they lost their companions. Their pain was dismissed. “It was only a cat,” “Get over it.” “There are people dying.” I’m thankful I never had to hear these words.
I believe I had more support, and validation than many receive for the loss of a parent or friend. I hope not, but I think sadly it’s very possible.
On the other end of the spectrum, I’m thankful for all the support I’ve received with the launch of my book the Shop Cats of New York. Friends and family reminding me what a great achievement this is (I’m super good at playing down my accomplishments #isthereaprizeforthat #iwin).
Friends, family and acquantences cheering me on, buying books (often more than they really needed!) to show their support. Coming to my book signings, posting about my book on social media. I’m thankful for their genuine happiness for me. There’s no jealousy. No competitiveness. Just pure, authentic joy in seeing something good happen to someone they care for (hope I’m not putting words in their mouths!). And that makes me feel blessed.
So thank you to everyone in my life who has been there in good times and hard. Who accepts me for who I am – it ain’t always pretty trust me! I only hope you feel the love coming at you from me, that I feel from you all.
Happy Thanksgiving to all the amazing I HAVE CAT community. I can’t believe this ride has continued for over 7 (?) years and for that I am also very grateful. If your read my recent post about my book, had it not been for this blog, it’s likely Shop Cats of New York would not exist today.
And if you’re traveling today and want a bit of light reading, check out a few of my previous Thanksgiving posts:
- Cat Gratitudes – The year I asked my cats what they were grateful for and get a bit personal about my struggles with gratitude.
- Happy Thanksliving – In which I visit Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary for a vegan Thanksgiving and in the process drunkenly hug a turkey.
And before I sign off, in the spirit of giving, of paying it forward, I’d like to share this special fundraiser with you. A New York man who rescued cats off death row was very ill and had two cats he wanted to find homes for before he passed.
Though they never found a home, a friend stepped up and took them in temporarily and told the dying man they had a home. Sadly after he passed, it was found that one of them – Puma (the ginger above) – has cancer. Their fundraiser has not gotten off to a great start and if you can donate even a dollar and perhaps share with a friend, it would go a long way.
I leave you with this photo from a Thanksgiving past when my fur family was complete.