This morning I had to have my cat, Hailey, put to sleep after a long illness. I thought I would be relieved after she was gone. Hailey and I had a love/hate relationship. I adopted Hailey after seeing her at the SPCA where I was doing some volunteer work. She was there for months and months and never got adopted. Whenever I would see her, she'd be sitting over in a corner by herself not socializing with the other cats or with any of the people. She just seemed to want to be alone. She was fat, had no tail and wasn't very pretty. And wasn't very friendly. She wasn't really mean, except when you had to give her a pill or trim her nails or bathe her. Then she was mean. But the rest of the time, she just stayed to herself. She never would let me hold her much or even pet her really. When I first brought her home, I hoped that being in a home instead of a shelter would bring her out and she'd become a loving cat. But that was not to be. All she seemed to want to do was eat and be left alone. After a while, I gave up trying to get her to be affectionate and just accepted her like she was.
In recent weeks, as Hailey got sicker, she was more willing to let me pet her and sometimes hold her. Maybe she just let me hold her because she was too tired to squirm out of my arms. Today as I sat in the vets office waiting for them to come in and put Hailey to sleep, I held Hailey really tight and she laid her head on my shoulder. And I cried and cried and cried. And I talked to her and told her I loved her and I realized that it was probably the first time I had ever told her that. She just wouldn't let me love her until right in the end.
I believe that everything that comes into our lives is there to teach us something. That includes our pets. And I think that Hailey came to teach me that I need to let people love me and I need to try harder to love them. Hailey rejected me all those years I had her and it was hurtful to me sometimes. After a while I just tuned her out. I fed her and gave her a home but didn't try to really be involved with her because she made it clear she didn't want that. Turns out she was nothing more than a mirror of me. I cry my guts out sometimes because I'm so lonely. People just don't want to include me in their lives. But maybe that's because I am sending out messages that I don't want to be bothered. So people don't bother me. And I'm by myself all the time. And my heart hurts a lot. I want to try to be more open to people now and let people care about me and I want to try to care more about them instead of always isolating myself from the rest of the world.
I miss Hailey more than I thought I would. She had become a part of my life more than I realized. But she is in a better place now and I'm very grateful for what she helped me to see about myself. In the midst of the sad stuff of losing a pet, I found some good.
Rest in peace sweet girl. Thank you for all you taught me. I love you.