tHIS IS THE FINAL CHAPTER OF MY BIOGRAPHY, BLESS THE STORM. To read other chapters of the book, go to: www. gentlenurse.wordpress.com where you will find the chapters among other blog posts as well.
I was out of the little blue house at last! I took the dog to a friend’s house for the day and carried Louise in her carrier, meowing frantically, up the stairs into our new, rented home.
Placing her sand box and fresh water in a corner where she could find them easily, I filled a bowl full of roast chicken to calm her down and proceeded to help the movers get stuff in up the steep stairs.
She had never been lost before, not in her entire sixteen years of life. She had never run away. She was a smart cat who knew to stay close, and was almost always indoors.
But the commotion of the movers and the sheer newness of everything was too much for her old nerves.
She stepped down the stairs and outside just to get away from it all.
I wasn’t worried about her. She had never ever gotten lost in her life.
What I didn’t know was that domestic house cats have no sense of direction. Did you know that? I had never heard that before.
When she crossed the street to the back alley, just a half a block away, she had no idea where I was or how to get back to me.
Thus began a desperate search for her mommy which was to last six weeks in one of the hottest summers in living memory.
She was this most special little cat, unique in the whole world maybe. And I had lost her, in her old age.
Stupid, stupid, stupid. My friends had no mercy. “One move too many,” one helpful person commented.
“Should have had her in her crate,” others said, over and over.
She had accompanied me, in her soft travel bag, by bus and plane, wherever I went for work all over the continent.
We traveled together to the far north, Alaska, California, New Mexico, and around Vancouver Island.
It was hours before I realized she had not come back inside.
Confidently I stepped outside to start calling her.
She had always been very nervous of the outdoors, seldom going beyond the doorway, unless I was sitting outside. Even then, she would sit safely under my chair.
So I expected her to come sauntering in from some quiet bushy area nearby.
This town has a lot of bushy areas. Wilderness forest is right there, within five minutes of our homes!
Where we now lived, the actual original old growth forest itself was only three blocks away.
After owning a cat all my life, I still had the entirely wrong notion that cats have a great sense of direction.
While I’m sure that big jungle cats must have a terrific total hunting system in their brains, including direction finding, small house cats have very little.
I found this out during the six week hunt for my pet.
For some reason she had crossed the street to the South and gone into the alleyway there. And unbelievably, once she had done that, she could no longer figure out how to get back to the new house she had just left, or how to get to her old house four blocks away either.
I never thought about how the driveway and doorway to our new home had none of my scent anywhere…the movers would have obliterated any of my scent as they went back and forth all day as I stayed inside, organizing things.
She was stuck in the alleyway across the road, hollering and yelling for me periodically, and it was finally around three in the morning when I wakened from a fitful sleep to hear her distinctive Himalayan call…a high pitched, very loud call that would do an opera singer proud.
Followed in despair by a long “WOE” that dragged out lengthily and despairingly.
I was up and in my housecoat, grabbed a flashlight and the dog and out to find her.
I called softly, not wanting to wake the neighbors. I knew she was RIGHT THERE somewhere. But silence reigned. Wherever she had been five minutes before, she wasn’t there now.
As the days and weeks passed, and I no longer heard her call, I became obsessed.
One mistake, one little mistake, after sixteen years.
I should have kept her in her big cat carrier. Why hadn’t I done that???
The excuse that she had never needed it before felt very lame indeed as I pounded the pavement relentlessly, week after week.
This is a town of steep hills. I had just moved house. I was exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally.
My new neighbors tried to help, were full of sympathy. No one could do anything to change the facts.
I had not only lost my darling Louise, I had abandoned her out in a terrifying world of deadly 40 degree summer heat, dogs, cougars, bears, and heavy industrial traffic which thundered past on a nearby street all day.
For a cat who had stayed safe inside for sixteen years, I could not even imagine how she would survive. How she must be suffering and frightened. Lonely. My mind wracked with agony.
OK, I thought, I needed a system or I would never find her. I made a list of what to do and put it into practice quickly.
First all the obvious things.
Phoned the SPCA and all the Veterinary offices in town. Put ads in all the local papers.
Decided to print off posters. Searched through the boxes in vain for my printer. Couldn’t find it for three days. Then, having set it up at last, could not find the printer paper anywhere.
It was a nightmare that wouldn’t end.
Finally, a week late, printed posters off on my computer and trudged for miles putting them up on telephone poles.
I don’t drive, so this was all on foot.
Printed off more posters and put them in mail boxes at two weekly intervals, so no one forgot.
I knocked on doors and met my neighbors for miles around. They had all heard about old ladies and their cats, so they were friendly but cautious. “Why didn’t I just get another cat??” was written all over their faces.
Very nervous, going up to doors and knocking and putting posters in mail boxes while dogs inside threatened to tear me limb from limb.
Exhausted beyond words, I forced myself to persevere. Not a day passed I did not look for her.
Into the woods, calling.
Then a neighbor suggested getting a live trap from the SPCA. I paid $100 deposit and came home with the trap, not knowing how to set it up whatever.
Using logic, I put some tuna in place and set it up at the back of a neighbour’s property where Louise had been spotted.
I eventually caught one scared ginger cat and one terrified-out-of-its-mind tabby. What I was putting the innocent neighbourhood cats through!!
Trudge, trudge, trudge, down the road, onto someone’s private wooded property across to where the trap was hidden in the bushes, check it, reset it, more fish.
I phoned a trapper one day and asked him why no cats were entering the trap. He explained that when it rains, traps don’t work because animals can’t smell the bait in the rain.
It had been raining at night. Great, just what I needed.
Eventually it dawned on me that any cats trapped in there would need water. There were no guidelines supplied with the trap, taking it for granted we all have ordinary common sense, I guess.
I started carrying water to the trap as well as tins of tuna.
I lay awake at night worrying some cat was caught in the trap with a cougar prowling around. I sometimes went out in the dead of night in darkness with my flashlight and dog, throwing some clothes on over my pj’s, to check the blessed trap.
Never anything in it. No cougars prowling. Not even a bear.
While this was going on, where was Louise?
She was at that point hiding in the woods not far from home, but far enough she never heard me calling her. And, at 16, she probably had hearing problems anyway.
Many times she went to back doors off the alleyway across the street, begging to be let in.
One house in particular, with a back porch resembling the porch on our old house, became her obsession.
She would bang at the back door till they opened it and she would plead to be let in out of the deadly heat.
Thinking she was some feral cat, and probably pregnant (she started out with a low slung belly) they repeatedly chased her away. The neighbors next to them did the same. I will never know how many people chased her away from their doors.
One day a lady phoned to tell me she had chased a black cat away from her door early on, the first week she was missing.
I realized it was Louise and began to wander that block, hoping to see her hiding somewhere. I discovered a water fountain in the front yard of that house, and for the first time had hopes that she was finding water at least.
Then after about a month of pointless searching, fighting off despair, another neighbour told me a black cat had come over and over to their door, begging to be let in, and they had always chased her away.
But the husband said, “You know, I just have a feeling this might be your cat. I don’t know why. I just started wondering about that yesterday. My wife is allergic to cats, so we never let her in.”
I told him it sounded like my cat, and he promised when she came next time they would let her in and call me.
I got calls from all over the town and headed out on foot any time, day or night, to check. It was never my cat, but I never gave up.
Since I have been a Reiki Master for many years, I felt I should have a special ritual for helping Spirit return her to me.
I pondered what to do. In the end, I selected a number of items:
-My box of beautiful crystals
-A small china ornament of a black cat which had once contained perfume belonging to my deceased daughter (it still smells the same after twenty years…Avon Occur)
-A tiger’s eye crystal
-Photos of beloved people now in Spirit who might be willing to help
I set up the photos, cat ornament, tiger’s eye, and candles at the top of the ritual area.
I lit the candles and placed all my crystals, large and small, in a circle big enough for me to stand in the center of.
I kept the biggest crystal to hold as I meditated.
This was a system which, with variations, I use when sending Distance Healing to someone.
I made the Reiki Dai Ko Myo symbol and three other symbols in the air in the center of the circle.
I opened my crown chakra and heart chakra, third eye and throat particularly and went into deep meditation, standing there.
Every appeal, offering and promise I could think of was sent out to a listening, attentive Universe.
The main promise I made was to quit using bad language. (Some of us are not perfect yet.)
I offered my right arm. Yes, they could have it. Of course, they had no particular need for my right arm, so they appear to have ignored that one.
What I am still learning spiritually is, that I am myself marvellous Creator.
I fall frequently into the old habit of begging some exterior Creator to give me what I want.
Then I remember that new skills are required, if I am to master the art of Manifestation.
There are actions to take. Like moving my energy in a sparkling ball from the base of my spine up to my Third Eye.
Then I must bring it out like a bright ball full of visualizations of my wishes…and then I explode it in a sharp, explosive breath, so the visions shower all over my body’s and spirit’s cellular structures, multiplying by ten trillion cell visualizations as they sprinkle throughout my multi-layered physical/spiritual system.
There are many things I am still learning – some of them, very important things.
I repeated this meditation to Find My Cat several times during the six weeks she was missing.
I also placed the Tiger’s Eye and one of my mother’s favourite rings under my pillow at night, thinking she might help from where she was in her beautiful Afterlife.
As the fifth week ended and the sixth week began, hope was failing in my poor heart. I broke down while standing in a doorway or making the bed or vacuuming.
Then I remembered The Secret and all the positive things to do, and stopped weeping. I would plan once again for any positive Action I could take.
At some point at the beginning of Week Six, I felt impelled to respectfully instruct Spirit to carefully take her four little paws, which I loved so much, and place them carefully on the Right Path so she could get home to me.
I pictured her little paws and saw them stepping on mossy places, over rocks and streams and around trees and toward some Special Destination that would lead her home.
But the most important and effective thing I did, out of all that, I believe, was to follow meticulously the instructions in the movie The Secret.
Dennis Waitley says in the movie “I believe, if you see it in the mind, you will hold it in the body”.
So I held Louise. Frequently. Over and over.
Held her in my arms, petted her, felt her little back paws balancing on the palm of my hand.
Ticked her ears, scratched under her chin, looked into her eyes, felt her tail flicking against my side as I petted her and told her how cute she was.
I buried my nose in her fur and thought how clean she always smelled, like a cucumber.
I felt great love for her rise in my chest and up through the top of my head.
This I repeated often.
It got easier and easier to believe she was really in my arms.
At night I put my arms around a small pillow and snuggled it against me like it was her little fluffy body. I patted her tummy and gently squeezed her little paws.
I kept watching The Secret. I had to stay positive in the face of continuing absence of my desire.
At the one month point people began to feel sorry for me and murmur hopeless little mutterings… I should give up.
After another week, people began to say plainly I should get another cat.
“Never!” I would reply. “I could never replace Louise!”
The week before I got her back, I was out shopping one day in the grocery store. Suddenly a voice said very clearly inside my head, “Black Cat is Safely Tucked Under Big Brother’s Wing.”
I knew then that my brother, far away in spirit, in his work with animals, knew about her plight and was taking care of her. But could he bring her home?
A few days later, as evening fell and still no sign of her, I finally began to give up. Standing in my bedroom doorway, I leaned my head against the door frame in defeat. I closed my eyes and whispered, “If you don’t bring her back to me, I am going to leave earth. If you can’t even do this for me, then I am not going on. That’s my last word on the matter.”
I meant it.
Next day it was almost exactly six weeks since she had left. The phone rang mid morning. It was August 13th. It was the SPCA.
“We think we have a match for your cat,” they said. I couldn’t believe my ears.
They gave me a man’s phone number in another part of town, across from an extensive area of totally wild, virgin forest. A forest full of cougars, bears and raccoons…a forest she would have had to cross to get to his house.
It turned out the man who had found her looked after stray cats and had erected a very tall fence to keep out bears and dogs. He had made four holes in his fence for stray cats to get in.
She had entered through one of those holes on August 1st and staggered into his back yard, collapsing on his lawn, almost dead. Her little paws had indeed been guided to the right place.
Although she had an identification chip in her head, she was not wearing her tag, so he could not have known.
She had lost several pounds and was drinking copiously, having developed kidney problems from thirst.
He started phoning the SPCA to tell them about her. He called five times before the busy volunteer staff realized they had a match, and called me.
I dialled the number, afraid to even hope.
A man’s voice answered.
I said, “Is this Tom?”
He said “YES!!”
I said, “The SPCA say you might have my cat.”
He was confident it was her. How did he know?
Well, she had a lump on her tummy from an old surgery, and this cat had a lump. I had mentioned the lump in all my ads and posters.
She must be smart to be able to speak English words, as I had said in the newspaper ads, and he said this cat was very smart.
She also had a jutting out lower jaw, and when he said that, I knew it was my Louise.
The long search was over. Could it be??
He said, “I’ll drive her over right now. What’s your address?”
A few minutes later he drove up and climbed out of the truck with a black cat in his arms.
He placed her on the ground between us.
Distressed, this small pile of bones and fur began to move in aimless, frightened circles, looking dazed and confused.
He began to look as distressed as she did. “I don’t know…” he began slowly.
I said, “Tom, can you pick her up and hand her to me?”
As he handed her to me, and I took this lightweight little bony bundle from him, I could hardly believe my fat, fluffy cat could have come to this.
I could feel every bone in her spine sticking up through her fur. She was tiny, like a kitten again. She looked at me as I spoke to her, but without recognition.
She still seemed confused and dazed.
I asked him to wait a moment as he chatted to the neighbours, and took her into the house.
Once inside the bedroom with her, I gently placed her in her cozy box on the floor beside my bed. Petting her gently, I spoke to her a bit, then moved her into the bathroom where her old sandbox, water and some food had been placed waiting for her.
I settled her at the water dish, then walked out, shutting the bathroom door behind me firmly.
I went back into the bedroom and opened the connecting door to the bathroom so she could get in to her cozy safe bed, and shut the bedroom door behind me.
Going outside, I told Tom she was definitely Louise, I could feel the lump on her tummy, though it was now as small as a marble.
It normally was a little handful of fat, a result of repeated stitchings to stop her milk flow when she had her one set of kittens so many long years ago.
He refused the reward I had offered. Nothing could change his mind. He shook his head as though insulted
I knew it would take quite a time for her to recover.
I bless Tom for his loving care for all these stray cats, lost mostly from caring homes and unable to get back to their safe places.
How had my little cat evaded bears, cougars, dogs, birds of prey, and huge industrial traffic to stay alive for so long, at such an advanced age?
And in that awful heat.
Clearly, she had not been able to use her innate hunting skills, since she had been inside for so many years. And she was down to nothing but skin and bone.
But somehow she had found enough water to stay alive and the strength to keep searching for me.
I sometimes imagine her lying in a little hiding spot somewhere during the days of her ordeal, sobbing into the moss. For Louise was a cat who could cry real tears when something upset her enough.
I wonder where she hid, what her adventures were.
At night, as we sleep snuggled up together, she leaps out of her deep dreams in a panic when a big truck goes by on the road a block away. When I move my hand to pat her gently, she jumps in fright as my hand touches her.
The terror is still there and I can’t do much to chase it away, except give her all the love I feel for this brave, smart little animal.
This gift from Spirit, which I neglected to care for on Moving Day. Dumb, Dumb Mama.
Frequently, I go to where she sleeps in a chair outside in the sun, and standing over her, make the Dai Ko Myo or the Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen symbol over her, sending her healing from her ordeal.
She is getting better, bossier and more demanding once again.
Her old self.
I will add just one more note about my cat’s health and well being. A year after her return home, some of her problems persisted despite my best efforts. In desperation, one day I asked the angelic beings who help me, “What can I give her for her constipation?”
There seemed to be no answer in anything I had read or researched, so I was going for divine help. The answer came shooting back immediately: “mashed peas.”
I thought I was imagining it. Mashed peas?? After all the things I had ordered off the internet, after all the suggestions the Vet could offer, something as simple as mashed peas? It seemed unlikely.
I said to myself, I’ll get some tinned peas when I shop next…but I think I’m imagining that.
When I did eventually open a tin of ordinary garden peas and mash a tablespoon into her cat food, she had a successful BM within a couple of hours. And every day after that…as long as I mix mashed-up peas into her food.
I wonder if our way on this Earth has to be so difficult, or if we make it that way?
But perhaps the entire lifetime of events will one day, in that Other realm, fall into a meaningful pattern and make sense as I look at my spiritual development.
In the meantime, I continue to learn and expand my awareness and understanding.
The simple enjoyment of small things fills my life nowadays…my pets, my fluffy featherbed, exercise, my friends, healthy delicious food, meditation…whatever feels good.
That’s where you’ll find me these days.
And, oh yes, if you learn to mind-travel into the Afterlife, sometimes you’ll find me sitting at a picnic table in The Park. Probably laughing over some family story with my fun-loving sister Lorna.
Or riding my little black mare – a gift from my family on one of my “visits” there – across the plains of a far off country. You will see thundering along beside me the majestic form of the palomino Pegasus, my mother’s horse, as they fly along the ground beside me.
Or sitting on my brother’s porch, or having coffee with my dad, in his house in The Park.
Sometimes I wonder why I have to wait so long to move on to that easier, higher level of experience, and yearn to be with my loved ones there. Yet, this world is so full of things to discover.
My Quest to find my long-lost daughter, has been fulfilled, as you’ve seen. Her life on Earth was far from perfect, the life I was able to offer her. Many parts of that life were unfair, and her death was the ultimate injustice.
But the result of having been born is that she now enjoys eternal life. She is an immortal being, ever learning, ever enjoying.
She has gone on to become a highly responsible nurse, retriever and healer of souls, whatever she wants.
Still moving toward a goal of passion…the search for God. For the Life Force.
For that source of Pure, Unconditional Love, that one Force of Nature for which we eternally thirst.
Recently, at the age of almost eighteen cat years, Louise began to experience a bleeding ulcer. Should I take her for surgery? I struggled for days over the issue.
My friends felt she was too old to undergo one more ordeal of that magnitude. As the days passed, I could see that she was weakening and succumbing to true old age.
So Louise went to The Park to be with my family there, to continue being loved, praised and admired. Our local Vet gave her a strong sedative followed by an injection that would put her into a final sleep.
I held her as she fell asleep from the sedative, and continued to stroke and praise her as she passed from her tired out little body into a better place…where she could have her favourite delicacies…for the asking.
I know my brother, Tom, is looking after her requirements for healing and loving support, as he looks after so many animals there, both large and small.
My big brother, so changed and so healed, himself. Now caring for others.