Hard to believe that we are at the start of a brand new year--but I welcome the fresh energy that 2013 brings. Last year was a difficult one in so many ways... from the natural disaster that devastated my hometown in Canada and completely destroyed my house there, to a number of very special people and furry ones who are no longer with us. Putting up the new calendar at midnight was like taking a deep breath and letting go of all of the trials and tests of 2012.
It has been very hard not to focus on the negative aspects of 2012 when thinking back over the year--loss does that, it makes you dwell on what might have happened, on the things you should have done or said, on the phone calls you put off that now won't ever have the opportunity to make.
But, it's time to let it all go and appreciate the present while looking toward tomorrow. I am so thankful for so many things, despite all of last year's challenges.
The flood that devastated my hometown could have been worse--I lost my house, my parents lost a house, many of the neighbors' homes were also destroyed. However, everyone survived. It could have been so much worse... thank God everyone is still with us. Although it didn't seem as if it could possibly go on as the village was lying under 8+ feet of freezing water from March 23-25th, the town is slowly rebuilding and life has continued. A new normal has slowly been created, and we all learned the incredible value of people--family, friends, and strangers alike--and the transience of material posessions. If you can, give to the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, or any other organization that helps the victims of natural disasters--as I learned from experience this year, you never know when you may yourself become a victim. They were a lifeline and a Godsend--many thanks to them all!
Health is one of the most important things in life--put its value high on your list, and be thankful if you are hale and hearty! Several of my close family members have had major health issues during the past year, and I am so thankful that they are still with us, relatively unscathed. Sadly, I also lost close family members as well--all of them sudden and completely unexpected. Their loss cuts, taking away a bit of myself and completely rearranging the landscape of my life. The lesson learned is an old one--never take anything for granted. Enjoy people, pets, and places and focus on the time you have with them in your life, because time truly is precious.
In October my husband and I rescued a kitty that we named Ella. She had been abandoned in our neighborhood when her family lost their home to foreclosure, and had been living rough for some time. It is a long and sad story, but we discovered that she had become unable to walk, and took her for veterinary care. We hoped and prayed that she had only been hit by a car and would be mobile again once the inflammation subsided, but sadly that was not to be. In retrospect (and after taking her to a veterinary Neurologist) she probably had cancer in her paw that spread to her spinal column, causing progressive degeneration. We tried so hard to help her, but in the end she passed away at home with us comforting her, telling her it was okay to go. That was my first personal experience with death, and in a strange way it has removed a lot of my fear of the transition from this plane to the next. For a while I kept going over everything in my mind, thinking that if only we had realized that she needed help sooner, then we could have maybe helped her and she would not have suffered. But that thinking is not productive, and what we have to focus on is that in the end, Ella kitty was loved and cared for. She had the best medical care and she left this life held by hands that soothed and stroked her, surrounded by loving words and energy. She knew, in her own way, that there were people who loved her, who cared what happened to her, and who will always remember her.
In a happy contrast to Ella's story, there is Sophie. While out for a walk one night in mid-October, I was surprised to hear a rusty little meow and to see a little black ball of fluff running after me. She was painfully thin and I knew that she wouldn't last long without help, so I took her bony little body in my arms and we went home. She was so malnourished that I could feel all of her ribs and vertebrae, which broke my heart, and when we got to the vet I cried when he told me that she was about 3 months old... and only weighed 1.6 pounds. She was dehydrated and had diarrhea that was due to coccidiosis, so we began a long journey of medication, special diet, and lots of love. I am so thankful to report that Sophie now weighs 5 pounds, has beautiful sleek and healthy fur, and is playful and loving. She is one of the nicest little kitties I have had the priviledge to know, and has become a permanent member of the household. The moral of the story? Do what you can, and although the outcome may not be what you had hoped, at least you tried. It means the world to a little creature in need, and you can save a life--or at least lessen the suffering and make a difference.
So, this year's resolutions? Be grateful. Be thankful. Spend important time with family and friends. Volunteer. Donate. Focus on the good in life, and learn to negotiate the difficult times without letting them destroy you.
Hello January... let's be friends.