Yes, Even Then …
Two and a half weeks ago I sat on the bench in the exam room as Oscar’s veterinarian told me my beloved cat had a fatal disease and would need to be euthanized sooner than later.
Oscar was my friendliest and most easy going tabby kitty who served as favorite uncle to every newcomer in the house. He accepted everyone without question and was loved by all. He was barely three years old, and I had to say goodbye to him.
As the crushing loss registered, I fought tears and struggled to respond with the okay to start next steps for euthanization.
The lovely vet tech standing behind the doctor surreptitiously offered me a Kleenex and an empathetic look of understanding and support while the doctor said some things I don’t remember.
Her gesture, that offering, was a bright spot in a tough moment. I knew she was with me, that I was not alone in this hard thing.
Even when I was (temporarily) believing in the loss of a loved one, even when I was afraid this might be my fault, that I should have done something different to better protect the cat in my care, even then I could feel love and appreciation. I felt it from her and I felt it for her.
Even when no one else in my world understood what it meant for me to say goodbye to Oscar, this stranger did, and it was lovely. I could feel her caring support even when I had to let Oscar go.
And then the next week, even when a former love interest expressed his frustration and disappointment with me, and even when I felt indignant that he thinks that this was my doing instead of his (he was the one that let me down, not vice versa), even when we were in the midst of not connecting or seeing eye to eye, I felt the love for him and from him. Even then I knew all was well. I knew it would be okay, eventually. Even though it wasn’t okay right now.
Even when it is hard, there are things to appreciate. There is something going right.
When last week I was in the same vet’s office yet again with another young cat who also needed to be euthanized due to a different fatal diagnosis, even then, when the tears and the feelings of unfair loss came again, even then I could feel some rightness in what was happening.
Max had been loved from the moment he came into my life. He was loved, supported, cared for, and adored – from the beginning till the end, I loved him as well as he let me. He made good friends at my house. He ate good food, he lived a good life while he was here. Who am I to judge how long he should stay?
Those right and good things aren’t easy to find in the hard moments, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there.
Knowing those bright spots are there makes them easier to find. And I know they’re there because my client told me so.
She told me that “even when” things are hard and all seems lost, there’s something good to behold. There’s something okay in it.
She said she learned that “even when” trick from me. I don’t remember it, so I’m glad she passed it back to me.
Whether we find those respites in the red hot moments or not, sometimes just knowing they’re there and that we might recognize them later can help.
It’s like getting a spoiler alert that this is okay, even when it doesn’t feel okay.
Even when the worst is happening, there’s something good that can offer relief. Even when we’re at our lowest, there’s a chance to experience the love, or the humor, or the appreciation, or the support, or a different perspective.
Yes, even then.
Okay, when I was looking for a picture of Oscar to attach to this post, I ran across this one of my good friend who was having a terrible day …
At the end of an already hard day, she locked herself out of the place she was house-sitting. She was flustered and mad at herself as she walked to my place in freezing cold with no coat and rang my doorbell (because her phone, purse, keys and coat were all locked in the house). During the course of trying several things to break in, we each said a few prayers in our different praying ways and eventually found a way in. As she climbed through the window in my too-big-for-her coat, I shouted at her to stop so I could take a picture. On this terrible day she still had a brilliant smile – the kind that comes from knowing you weren’t alone in dealing with your hard time. It seemed perfect for this post.
Even when it’s a crap day, there’s still something okay in it. There’s still love to be shared, smiles to be smiled, or relief to be had. Worth remembering.