Saturday, May 2, 2015

Atom and Gypsy, reunited

   Today started out on a high note, with an email response from the director of an organization whose mission I admire. She's willing to talk to me, to give me some advice on how I might pursue one of the possible new directions I've chosen for my life. I was higher than a kite this morning!
   Four of us in the instructor program spent a few hours in the pool practicing dive skills, and my buddy Fred treated me to lunch… And my favorite onion rings in the whole universe.
   But I came home feeling tired, and I think I was actually more down than tired. Plotting a new course in life is tough; I expect to experience periods of doubt and frustration. I had no reason to feel that way today, but there it was.
   So rather than diving into more work, I decided to put in some sweat equity instead. I am not much of a gardener, but I do love coming home to my beautiful yard, and spending evenings outside with my animals enjoying the solitude. Kelly was home and willing to walk up to the hardware store with me to buy some new plants. The dogs came with us, and we had a nice chance to chat as we meandered around the garden center. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted some concrete decorative animals in a corner. There were a couple of cats, with angel wings. I only noticed them because they were unusually well sculpted… Not the garden-variety garbage that you see frequently. I really didn't stop to think any more about it than that.
   I told Kelly about the email I received this morning to get his advice. I started to feel better. He headed home, and the four of us headed outside to start planting.
   I looked out towards the back fence, with the evening light streaming through the trees. It is my favorite corner of the yard because it just lights up in the setting sun, it's peaceful, and the trees look so beautiful there.
   Suddenly I had an overwhelming feeling to go to the shelf in the garage where the boxes containing my old kitties' ashes have been sitting for three years. I never intended to leave them there so long. I just have never been able to decide what felt right for their final resting place; whether I should scatter them somewhere, bury them somewhere, find a special, handmade ceramic urn, etc.. I guess with all the thinking I've been doing about a possible upcoming move, my subconscious had finally decided that they needed to stay here, in the last home they would ever know.
   I dug a deep hole just under the tree, sheltered by the shade and protected between the roots, opened up the boxes containing their ashes, and laid them to rest together. Gypsy's ashes were bright white, and Atom's were gray, and I liked that I could see the distinction, and that they would soon become one. I told them how much I loved them, how grateful I was for everything they taught me about being a better pet owner, and how I hoped to see them again someday.
   I found Gypsy as a stray in October 1997, just months after moving to Kansas City. She stayed with me for 15 years, my companion as I hopped from apartment to apartment. Despite her name, Gypsy was always my constant. And because I loved her so much, I wanted her to have a companion. Atom was born on New Year's eve in 1998, and six weeks later, he was ours. Gypsy lived three places with me before settling in my current home; Atom was there for two. Atom left us 10/9/11, and Gypsy just a few months later, on 4/30/12. He had acute kidney failure, and she had chronic. It was heartbreaking to lose them both so close together.
   And yet tonight, even though fight back tears every time I think of it, I finally feel at peace. They are in the best spot in their favorite home, and I transplanted lovely white flowers from elsewhere in the yard to make me smile when they catch my eye. Another thing that makes me smile: the companionship of my three current pets, who are just as perfect and loyal as their predecessors. The weather was absolutely perfect. According to image capture, these are the GPS coordinates where my best buddies will rest forever: 38° 57' 59.292" north / 94° 41' 27.108" west.
   I love dogs, but there is just something special about cats. I feel a really unique connection with them. And I feel so blessed to have been united with Kismet, who is the perfect blend of the personalities of Atom and Gypsy. Love my pack!