I awoke the other night at 3 am, a mere hour before my alarm signaled the start to yet another crazy day. As I lay still in my cozy bed, I was aware of the cool night air drifting over me through the window above the bed, making me want to cuddle deeper under my heavy comforter. I began to feel the presence of my animal family on the bed and all around me…
To the left of my legs was Bounder, curled up against my calves, head thrown over my lower legs to not only get close but to also make sure he knew when I moved. Kestrel lay sprawled along my entire left side, stretched out and slumbering silently, not being remotely shy about taking her fair share of space. Wedged between them somewhere, was Penguin, impossible to see as the bulk of Kestrel and Bounder’s black forms illuminated by the weak moonlight entering the window, hid his smaller, sleeker felid shape. His little chirp gave him away though as I shifted slightly, and woke him, giving away his camouflaged spot.
On my right, my older cats dominated space and stretched the length of me; Willow at my feet, Mango at my waist and Aspen near my shoulder. They were less visible in the moonlight but their weight and Mango’s soft snore gave their presence away. I knew Elf and Frog would be on the dog beds around the end and side of my bed as that is where they always choose to be. Spring was the only unknown as she shifts often throughout the night but as I moved a little more, seeking a more comfy spot for my back, I felt her by my left shoulder curled in a tiny fox-ball just off the edge of my pillow.
I continued to lie still as I struggled between sleep the restless feeling that comes from knowing my alarm was not far away from blaring my day to a rude and noisy beginning. As I lay there, I began to feel incredible warmth and love for my pets and also the love they have for me emanating from them back to me. Perhaps the toughest part of divorce and the preceeding affairs, infidelity, lies and deceit, was the blow it all gave to my confidence and psyche. I felt discarded, superfluous, undesirable, self-conscious, old, and, most especially, completely unloved. Despite the trust and commitment I willingly gave throughout my marriage, it was all just slapped aside in the end, leaving me feeling completely empty, bereft, alone and destroyed.
As I continued to lie awake in the darkness, I began to really appreciate the love my pets have for me and have shown me every day we’ve been alone. They all choose to be close, piling on to my bed to be with me at night and rushing to get the prime spot on my lap when I stop and sit in the evening. They greet me exubetantly when I arrive home from work each day and often trail along behind me as I putter about the house. They do so purely out of love for me and, I suspect, the knowledge that I bring food, comfort, love and safety. None of these pets ever chose to live with me, and yet they all turned towards my offered love and affection, and showered it back on me, loving me without judgment or censure and loving me just because I’m me. It’s that simple.
It’s a humbling realization and has made me so appreciative of their open, loving souls and the trust they have placed in me. They seek me out day and night to just be close, get some attention and sleep safely and deeply at my side. They love me despite my age, grey hair and my poor self-image. They love me despite my foibles and not caring that I wasn’t good enough for my Ex or that I was cast aside. They love me only for who I am and for what I do… No strings attached. They love me purely and unselfishly and it is a love built to last; they love me unconditionally. Is there really anything better than that?
Thanks my friends for having my back in my darkest hours. Thanks for your honesty, trust and love and for believing in me and bestowing upon me the full force, strength and power of your love. Thanks for empowering me and helping me believe that I am still worthy of being loved. But, most of all, Thank you for being my best friends and companions through thick and thin and helping me believe that love and trust still exist in some form.