One year ago, tomorrow, I said a very difficult goodbye to Nettie. She's come to mind so much lately - though not so much with sadness about how very hard that day was a year ago, but with gratitude for what she taught me, and continues to teach me, about the ongoingness of love.
Nettie arrived as a wee little thing having been plucked from a cold Virginia autumn into safety by some dear friends. Just a few weeks old and with every known kitten malady, she blossomed quickly and made her way straight into my heart so fast it made my head spin.
Every animal that comes into our life arrives with a special lesson to to share. They help us to give expression to a part of ourselves that would otherwise be dormant. Some cats come to teach us about joy, some about accessing our peace, some about how to have fun, some about the gifts that accrue to our hearts if we mimic them in their ability to sit in stillness and remain gently attentive and interested in everything in the world, no matter how small or seemingly ordinary.
Nettie taught me that it's possible to love an animal deeply and still survive after they're "gone." Oh yes - I miss her antics, her snuggles, having her sleep on my heart every night, her sparkling green eyes . . . and I miss having a being in my life that saw straight past any masks I wore right into my heart and was willing to stick around anyway.
Last summer I took her ashes and spread them in Montana at one of the most precious and holy places I know. I'd left Duke's ashes there the year before. I love to think of them there, on that sacred ground.
Thank you, Nettie. You're loved always, and in All Ways.