Saturday, January 8, 2011

An Early Goodbye

Vixen and I had a second session with Pet Psychic Laura Stinchfield yesterday, and once again, it was sweet and sad. Laura was amazed that my girl is 22 years old, and I told her she'll be 23 if she makes it 'til March! This session gave me new insights into how Vixen perceives the world, as well as feedback on how the things I've done in response to the last consultation have helped her.

Laura first asked her about those, with no input from me; I wanted to see what Vixen talked about as being important to her. Laura typed for quite some time before sharing the following:

I have had some massages down on my body and they have helped me a lot. They help me move more freely. My shoulders used to hurt a lot and my neck and now I have much more motion in my shoulders. Sometimes I have a gum soothing process. It’s like a rubbing of my gums makes me feel good.

I told Laura that she'd been going to the chiropractor with me, and seemed to like him. Apparently, as he checks the alignment of her spine, she feels like he's massaging her and likes it. It was good to know that the sessions had helped her, something I'd suspected from the way she's been sitting more erect and walking better, and how her back legs don't get that tremor they'd had for a while. The gum-rubbing thing was new; it sounded like what she does when I pet her sometimes, when she rubs her jaw on my hand. Laura continued with Vixen's feedback:

Sometimes I feel windy in my body and I wonder if I am going to die and then it goes away and I feel ok again. It’s like a cold wind goes through me and I feel really fragile and empty inside. And then I start to get better and I feel more myself.

This was a bit sad to hear, but echoed what she'd said in our first session about feeling close to death sometimes. Laura said the feeling she got when Vixen communicated this to her was like a draft feels when you're sick. And Vixen had more to tell her, too:

I also think there is something mom puts in my food. Little drops that makes my mind healthier. It keeps my mind sharp because sometimes I lose myself. Yes, I walk to one side of the house and then I forget time. I don't know how long I have been there or what I am doing there and then I feel dizzy and have to lie down and then sometimes I forget how long I have been there. Have I been lying in strange places?

Laura asked me about this, and I told her that I'd been giving her a supplement in her water, and it is little drops. It's good to know that she feels like that's helping, too. And as for lying in strange places, she's been spending most of her time on the warmer I set up for her, as the weather's been fairly cold this winter, for here.

That was all Vixen told her initially, so I asked next what Vixen remembered about her life before she came to live with me. I'd taken her in when I lived in an apartment complex, way back in 1989, and had been seeing her around for several months before it seemed that she decided to come and live with me. She appeared to be a feral cat. Here was what she told Laura that she remembered from those days:

Yes, I remember seeing mom also and she would talk to me. I remember being really healthy and running around with my litter mates. I had other friends there. I saw one get hit by a car. I remember wishing I had a real home. I had a deck with food and water and a man that would feed me but no one that really loved me. When mom took me I felt really lucky and it came at a good time because one of my friends had died. I was really lonely and mom came to me.

She'd never appeared to be hanging around with any other cats when I saw her, but I did see her tagging along behind one of the maintenance men one day, batting at one of the tools dangling from his toolbelt. He must have been the one who was leaving food out for her. I'd always worried that someone had been taking care of her and would worry that something bad had happened to her when we moved away together. She was always very playful in those days, lurking in the bushes and swiping a spotted paw out at you as you walked past. I also had Laura ask Vixen why she's afraid of strangers; every time she's aware of anyone other than me in the house, she hides in my closet. Here's what she said:

For a long time I didn't want anyone to take me away from mom but then I started to feel fragile and something inside of me would tell me only mom is safe. In my head I kind of know differently but my body was instinctively telling me to stay away. I feel like I have my mom and I don't really need anyone else.

I told Laura how after my mother had died 18 months ago, there had been 10 straight days of house guests, and Vixen had ended up in the hospital with a kidney infection because she'd been too afraid to come out of hiding long enough to use the litter box when she needed to. So Laura asked her what she remembered about that time:

Well it was a really hard time and most people who came over were upset and worried about coming. I could feel them like a strong thick wind coming. Different than the chiropractor who comes like a warm wind or mom has a friend that comes over sometimes who is like a warm wind. She is a nice woman.

The friend she's referring to is probably my friend Lori, who comes over to feed Vixen when I go out of town. Laura thought it was interesting how she equated the feel of people with different types of wind. That sounded to me like she's sensing their spirits.

Another change I'd made after hearing how badly Vixen's neck hurt in our first consultation was to raise her dishes up off the floor by setting them atop some short drinking glasses. It was odd that she hadn't mentioned that before, so I had Laura ask her if that had helped her:

Yes it helps me a lot- raise water. In between my shoulder blades are less painful. You know that hot pad for me can we wash the cover many times? I think I smell sometimes and I like a fresh one.

I hadn't told Laura about the warmer I'd set up for Vixen, by putting a folded electric throw I'd bought for my mother inside a pillowcase. And I'd just been noticing the other day that the pillowcase was getting a little hairy and needed a wash! I changed it that very evening, and she happily went right back to it, curled up and went to sleep.

The next part was something Vixen just volunteered on her own, and it made me a little sad:

Mom would you be upset if I died in my sleep? Would be sad that I didn't say goodbye. Because I don't know when I will go. Sometimes I think I am already there, then I wake up. Will you be ok?

Laura said she was asking if I would mind if she died without saying goodbye. Odd that she would mention this; after having two cats die from miserable illnesses and suffering a lot toward the end, I'd hoped for Vixen's sake that when it's her time, she can go peacefully and happily in her sleep, without having to endure a similar fate. Although I'm not eager for her to go, I would hate to have to look into her very cognizant eyes knowing that she was dying. Laura stressed that Vixen wasn't saying she felt like she was going to die any time soon, just that she didn't know when she would go and worried whether I would be okay. And she had more to say about that:

Can I tell you goodbye now and that I love you so much. I am so grateful for all that you have done for me. I feel really special being your cat. Mom, I think you should buy yourself a nice bracelet with a locket and put me in it.

Laura asked me if I had a piece of jewelry like that, and I told her no; she wondered why Vixen had suggested a bracelet instead of a necklace, and here's what Vixen told her:

I like it on her hand.

I told Laura that I’d had Vixen’s portrait painted a while back (that's the photo at the top of this post), but that it hadn’t been framed yet. She asked if I’d showed it to Vixen, and I told her that I thought I had when it first arrived, but that she doesn’t really see very well any more and I don’t know if she could see it. Laura said that she would be able to see it in my mind, though, so she asked Vixen about the portrait:

I think he was generous with my weight. Did he capture my spirit? I wondered why she needed that if I am still here but then I started to understand people. I love the idea of having pictures of me so mom won’t be lonely. When I die will she be able to sense me when I come to visit? Because I have a feeling I will lie with her a lot even when I am in spirit.

How funny; I guess humans aren’t the only ones who think we look fat in pictures! The portrait was painted from a photo taken of her sitting on the back of my sofa when she was about 2-3 years old. That was one I'd selected because it showed off her markings very nicely. But she was a bit heftier then than she is now, so maybe that was what it was, I thought...but upon looking at the painting again, I realized what Vixen meant; she does look a little fat in it!

Time was getting short, so the last thing I asked Laura to ask Vixen was whether the spirits of my other two cats who had died ever came around; she'd mentioned last time sitting with my mother's spirit, but nothing about them. Here's what she told Laura:

Yes, they come but they won’t come when I am there in spirit because I don't want to share the same spirit space. We will take turns. One comes more often then the others the Big gray cat.

The big gray cat would be Frankie, and it's no surprise that he's here a lot; he felt very protective of me and my mother, and of this house. Even in his last hours here, he was sitting guard in the front flower box. And Vixen's attitude about sharing space with them was right on target with how she's always felt about other cats, so I had to laugh at that! Laura said she explained to Vixen that it may take some time for me to sense her spirit when she would come to me after she dies.

It was only upon reading Laura's written feedback that I realized Vixen had said the gray cat comes more often than the "others", plural...who besides my one other cat who'd died before Frankie was she referring to? My mother? Perhaps Leapy, the yellow tabby who'd lived next door when I was growing up? Or maybe even Gretchen, our last dachshund, who lived and died by our back door and was so attached to my mother? Certainly something to ponder.

What a wonderful gift it must be to understand what animals are trying to say to us! It's always been a particularly interesting challenge for me to try and communicate with them, and I do always speak to feral cats when I encounter them. They seem to be fascinated by this, although still leery of me as a stranger. Laura must certainly lead an interesting life!

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