Pretty Odd Blog

When Life Punches You in the Gut

Fettuccini

I cried myself to sleep Sunday night.

My cat, Fettuccini (a.k.a. Fetti, Feta, Sweet Precious Kitty) got out sometime during the day on Sunday. We have no idea when.

She’s becoming braver. When the front door opens, she peeks her head out and sniffs. If you aren’t watching, she’ll slink onto the porch. She drops to her belly and rolls around on the concrete like it’s a fluffy mattress made in heaven.

Sometime during the day on Sunday, she got out without us noticing.

Later in the evening, hubs and I realized we hadn’t seen her all day, so we went looking. We looked in all her normal hiding places and they were empty. I started getting nervous. I’d been working diligently on my website all day and suddenly I couldn’t bear to look at the computer screen.

We searched outside several times, but soon it became obvious. She had escaped and was nowhere to be found. The reality started to weigh on me. What if I never saw her again?

LOSING TWO KITTIES

I just lost my beloved black kitty named Ditto.

Ditto had been losing weight, but I thought it was a sign of health. He’d always been a fat cat with a slow metabolism. In fact, he was in remission from diabetes.

For several months I administered shots to keep his blood sugar in check. Then, we had the vet do a glucose curve and the news was positive: Ditto was in remission.

Life got busy. I knew Ditto was losing weight, but I didn’t think to take him to the vet. He seemed like his normal self, vigorously bopping our dog Alfredo on the head whenever he came near. But one day, suddenly, he wasn’t well. He was lethargic, throwing up, drinking excessive amounts of water.

I knew immediately what was wrong. The diabetes was back. I took him to the emergency veterinarian, but it was too late. Ditto was in ketoacidosis. He was dying and I couldn’t afford to save him.

I brought him home and we spent the next day loving on him and taking pictures before the inevitable euthanization.

He died peacefully on my lap at the vet’s office.

I spent most of the next day in bed.

NOT AGAIN

I couldn’t bear to lose another kitty. Not so soon. As Sunday evening wore on and there were no signs of Fettuccini, the feelings of loss and devastation began to weigh heavily on me. I went to bed early. I didn’t want to talk to anyone.

I prayed. Lord, if Fettuccini is lost in the corn field, direct her path back toward home. Protect her from the coyotes and raccoons. Bring her home safely.

And then I slept.

THE REUNION

My husband woke me up the next day with Fettuccini in his arms. I grabbed onto her and held her tight. I told her I loved her so much and I was so worried. My heart was instantly mended. All was right with the world again.

She was hiding under the steps leading to the deck. She’d probably been there all along we just hadn’t been able to see her. Fettuccini found a safe and sheltered place out in the big, bad world and she’d hunkered down.

Our neighbor cat, Henry, helped my husband find her. Henry was sniffing at the steps so much that my husband decided to investigate. When he looked closely, he saw two eyes staring back at him. Fettuccini was home.

Even though she probably didn’t go farther than the steps, God led her back to us.

WHAT IF IT ENDED DIFFERENTLY?

But what if we’d lost our precious Fettuccini?

I know how Monday would have gone. I would have stayed in bed most of the day. I would have allowed myself to feel sad, devastated, defeated.

In this world, we are all driven by responsibilities. Tasks we must accomplish whether we feel like it or not. Sometimes it feels like all life is one insignificant task after another.

Then again, some are driven to succeed, to produce 24/7, and they approach work like it’s a drug.

Feta and Henry (Our Hero)

Still others find balance. They find ways to enjoy the mundane, but also manage to whittle away enough time to accomplish tasks that give them purpose.

Regardless of who you are, or how you approach life, it’s okay to hunker down and shelter in place sometimes. For me, that means spending the day in bed. For you it might mean sitting on the couch all day playing videos games.

It’s okay.

When life punches you in the gut, it’s okay to stop everything.

That’s what I did when Ditto died. I took a day off work and laid in bed.

Depending on the depth of the loss, you may need more days, or a week, or a month. Or a year. It’s okay. Just because we’re adults doesn’t mean we always have to be upright, facing the world with steadfast determination.

Sometimes we need to hunker down and hide from the big bad world. I choose to hide beneath a warm, fluffy blanket.

GRATITUTE

Luckily, this story has a happy ending.

I can’t express how happy I was to see Fettuccini again. It was a sweet reunion, one that I will remember.

I will also remember Ditto, and the days I spent mourning him, and the calm, quiet way he passed. I will always have a sweet spot in my heart for him.

The love is worth all the worries and the pain.

Thanks for listening.

Have a good week everyone. Until next time.

About the Author

Jessica E. Thomas graduated summa cum laude with Academic Honors in Writing from Ball State University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in English and a Minor in Creative Writing. She began her professional career in marketing at a large Indianapolis law firm. Since transitioning to Information Technology in 2001, she has worked in the pharmaceutical, student loan, and finance industries as a computer programmer, systems analyst, Web developer, and technical writer. She has authored two novels, three novellas, a poetry collection, a short story collection, and a children’s book.