Every once in awhile something happens for which, unaccountably, I feel so much shame that I can’t talk about it with anyone. I was able to talk with McT and one friend about it, but it’s taken me several days to convince myself that I need to blog about it.
In a previous post (A Cross Stitch, New Kitties, and Two Smoking Needles), I talked about becoming the proud parent of two new kittens. Well, on Wednesday, the 28th, five days after bringing them home, Margaret died.
She died! What am I to do? She died!
I felt such devastation that I was overwhelmed and at a loss for words, for action, for anything and everything. All I could do was cry out to God, “My God! Why? What happened?”
About twenty minutes before it happened, she had allowed me to pick her up and pet her. This was surprising to me, as she hadn’t let me come close to her at all before that. Then all of a sudden she let me hold her and pet her. I cuddled her for about fifteen minutes, then she got down and disappeared, and I continued to watch TV. Then I got up and tried to find her.
I didn’t have to look very far, because she was on the floor around the corner from the couch where I was sitting, and when I looked at her I could see that she wasn’t breathing, plus her mouth was wide open. When I touched her she was cold and stiff.
Shock coursed through my body. What did I do wrong? I left fresh food and water out for her ~ for both of them ~ at all times, and I made sure that the litter box was clean. Plus I changed the water every day. Surely I couldn’t have done something wrong, but maybe I did.
Did I kill her? I was terrified that I had done something to cause her death, but I couldn’t think of anything that I might have done. I had decided earlier in the day that I was going to take her to the vet the next day, because she needed to be seen, and because she had been acting like she wasn’t feeling well. But then she died before I got the chance.
I emailed the woman from whom I had adopted them, and told her that Margaret had died. She replied that she didn’t think I was responsible, that Margaret must have had some kind of undiagnosed heart condition. She said she would pay for a necropsy to find out the cause of death, but after doing some online research, we both decided that was way too expensive. I felt like I could accept her idea of an undiagnosed heart problem, so we both let it go at that.
So now I’m left with the confusion and desolation I feel because of her death, and the hole in my heart that’s there, even though I only had her for five days. And as I said at the beginning, unaccountably, I feel a huge amount of shame. I don’t know why, but I do. Somehow, even if her demise wasn’t caused by me, it must have been my fault. There must have been some way in which I was responsible. It’s not logical, I know, but there it is.
I wonder if at least part of it doesn’t go back to Harry blaming me for stuff that I couldn’t have been responsible for when I was little, and for the cult rituals doing the same thing. There was one particular ritual that they did when I was about two where I had to answer questions, and if I got the wrong answer, a man was slowly lowered into a bonfire and burned alive.
The problem was, the questions were unanswerable. There were no right answers, though there was no way I could know that, especially at age two. So I had to answer these unanswerable questions, get the wrong answers because there weren’t any right ones, and listen to the screams of agony of the guy as he was lowered into the bonfire. And the whole thing was all my fault ~ or so they told me.
Talk about the essence of torture, both for the guy being burned alive, and for little two-year-old me!
But I’m no longer living in that reality. I’ve been set free from that life, thank God. And interestingly, I named the other kitten Charlotte, and she, thankfully, is alive and well, even though she still won’t let me near her. I discovered in the process of deciding on Charlotte’s name, that “Charlotte” means “freedom”. Maybe that’s why God motivated me to name her that, I don’t know. All I know is that before I brought them home, the name Charlotte was the only name I could think of.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:32, NLT.
And this is the truth that will set you free,
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. ~ Romans 10:9-10, NLT.
As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” ~ [Isaiah 28:16, Greek Version], Romans 10:11, NLT.
So, regardless of how I feel, I must go on what Scripture says. If God’s Word says I am FREE, then I AM FREE. That means NO SHAME ALLOWED!! I did not cause Margaret’s death, and I did not cause that man to be burned alive!!
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. ~ Galatians 5:1, NIV.
oh Sarah, I am so sorry; poor little Margaret. Its so sad, the only thing I can say is please keep talking to us all and let us know if we can do anything for you.
I hope you and Charlotte will find comfort in each other soon.
Thanks, Kim. I’ve been able to cry a little bit, which has helped. I’m still not sure why I’ve felt so much shame, other than the stuff from the cult, and though that makes sense, the level of shame doesn’t. I guess I’ll just leave it in God’s hands, and pray that He’ll work it out.
You always know the best things to say! I’m grateful for your kind thoughts, and especially your prayers.
Something else I’d really like is if you could post the lovely email you sent about Valkyrie and suggestions of things to do for Charlotte here. That way other people who might have experienced similar situations could also learn from what you said. The things you recommended for me to do for Charlotte are excellent ideas, and I’m going to implement them as soon as I can.
I think she’s already familiar with at least some of my sounds, because I’ve begun reading to her from the James Herriot stories (All Creatures Great and Small), and I talk to her all the time, telling her that I love her, and how beautiful she is. I also tell her what I’m doing, if I’m cleaning out her litter box or putting out fresh food and water, or if I’m going someplace, when I’ll be back. Plus she hears the TV when I have it on, or if I’m talking on the phone she hears that.
Also, hopefully, she’s learning my habits, because I’m pretty set in my ways.
Anyway, I hope you’ll post as a comment here that wonderful email. I’ll comment more in response to it if you do. Thanks!!
I love you a whole lot!!
Sarah, Its very nice of you to think this can be helpful to others. Thank you so much for always seeing my heart.
Here is a reprint of the email, as others may have surmised Sarah and I have known each other for a number of years now, hence we communicate via email as well.
Anyone who has found this page and suffers from any type of past abuse will find the stories and love here very helpful. In this day and age when it seems like psychopaths rule everything. The things which Sarah teaches us are straight from God’s healing hand. And proof that love wins. Proof and a reminder.
I think it’s the Mom in me, but I feel like I need to say this.
No this wasn’t your fault ; the kittens came to you with some issues. The fact Charlotte is so scared is a sign she didn’t get enough handling when she was small. Kittens/Cats learn their reaction to humans by the time they are 8 weeks old. And they need a lot of love and petting when small.
Please try to get Charlotte to become used to your touch before she gets much older.
You can think of yourselves as 2 hurt little beings who need each other and both of whom do not or didn’t like touching.
I say this with some experience, we have raised many many like dozens of feral, hurt and our own kittens and the vet always tells us we raise the best animals and it is because they are always treated the way we would want our kids and our ourselves treated. They know they are loved and we will never hurt them, so they learn to trust humans.
Saying this as Valkyrie came to us horribly abused and she is the sweetest dog, its even written on her chart ‘sweet dog’ but she has these triggers and turns her into a crazy dog. She has never hurt anyone, killed a couple of ground hogs, but the sounds out of her seem like something from the pit of hell sometimes. The Fedex Drivers and UPS drivers are feeling very proud that she likes them now 🥸. We think she was used for dog fighting.
But that being said she is an awesome dog who had a traumatic beginning.
And never listen to what people say only what you see for yourself. If you haven’t tried to get Charlotte to sleep in your room with you, move her in tonight with a nice little box or bed and give her a treat. She doesn’t have to take it from you or eat it in front of you. Then if you can close the door to your room so she stays in the room but in her own spot. She needs to learn your sounds and smell and habits.
You are probably doing this already, just reaffirming it is the right track . Every animal is precious, and we love them so much and they are such a gift from God.
The other thing I would do is throw away the food you have and get something else. Make sure it says made in the USA or Canada. Bring your reading glasses, cause its always written in the smallest letters. Its getting hard to find but much safer for the pets. Its probably not the food, but why take a chance?
I am sorry this brought back horrible memories for you and the results triggered something so awful. But like you said you are free and safe in the arms of the Lord.
Love to you all
Thank you so much, Kim! I’m grateful that you would be willing to do as I asked! I really do think that people can learn from what you wrote to me. There is much here that can be useful for those who’ve experienced similar situations.
You know, it never occurred to me that Charlotte’s fear could be caused by the way she was handled ~ or rather not handled ~ when she was younger (she’s already pretty young; she’s only about three months old). I guess that’s why they foster these kittens. The woman from whom I adopted them was fostering them, and she got them from someone who was fostering them before her, but had to give them up due to a medical emergency. Debbie (the woman from whom I adopted them) said they were beginning to get used to her after a couple of weeks.
I’m just praying that God heals her of that fear. I’m going to quote 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given [you] a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” to her. Even though she won’t understand it mentally, the devil tormenting her will, and hopefully he’ll take the fear away.
I don’t know how much sense that makes, but there can be no harm in quoting Scripture to her. The Word can only help her.
As far as the memory that was triggered, I figure God can use that as an opportunity for healing, and I will always take that. Always.
The food I have was given to me free by Debbie, the woman from whom I adopted Charlotte. Also, I already had a bed that Lily used, but I think I’m going to get a new one just for Charlotte. Debbie also gave me a whole bunch of toys, and Charlotte has been playing with them. A LOT. She’s also been staying in my bedroom at times, but when I come in to go to bed at night (or early morning) if she’s in there, she bolts from the room. It’s funny but sad. I come into the room, and all of a sudden i hear this loud patter of tiny feet as she races out into the hall, and she does it before I can shut the door to keep her in.
It’s a blessing to hear about Valkyrie. It just shows what love can do, and I’m hoping the same will happen here with Charlotte as I continue to pray for her, read to her, and speak love to her.
I love you so.much, Kim. I’m so grateful to God for placing you in my life. You’ve been such a healing balm to me in so many ways, as have Helen and Rachel. All three of you are tremendous gifts to me!
I’m so sorry for your loss of Margaret and for what happened to you at a very young age. Trauma and being blamed for things that aren’t our fault in early childhood really does leave us with lasting entrenched issues. I am glad you have the strength and clarity to see past all that with the help of our Father and his word. You sound like a very good cat owner. Sadly these things just happen sometimes. I wish it didn’t though. I’ve lost a cat and it is so painful x
Thanks, Alice! I’m recovering well from Margaret’s death, and Charlotte is providing me with reasons to laugh, even though she’s still keeping her distance. You are so right. Losing a pet is incredibly painful. I’m grateful that I was able to turn to my therapist, as well as a couple of friends for solace ~ as well as God, of course.
As far as my difficult childhood is concerned, God is in the process of healing me, and I’m very grateful for that. In so many ways I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for God’s presence in my life. And aside from that, it is what it is. I’ve forgiven them, and thankfully, it’s no longer happening.
Thank you so much for your kind thoughts and comments, and thank you also for reading my post!
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