Rescued.

Sunday was a beautiful spring day here.  I opened all of the windows in my house to release some of the stagnant energy and to let the sunshine in.  My two cats were curled up on the sofa in a sunbeam that had entered through the front door.  Everyone that has cats know how they love lazing about in sunbeams!  Odin had been scrapping with a neighbourhood cat and had received a scratch to his nose, so after all of that excitement he had got himself comfy on the sofa for the rest of the afternoon.  Freya lay curled up next to him but she was on alert.  She could hear all of the birds twittering away and it held her interest for quite a while.  I sat for 10 minutes or so just watching these two,and every day I am reminded how they saved my life.

This year it will be 3 years since Pedro and Felixia (their rescue names!) came to live with my then husband and I.  My ex husband and I were due to move into our first house as opposed to a flat and he knew how much I wanted cats.  P never grew up with animals like I did, so he wasn’t really bothered.  He left the “cat hunting” to me, so I started checking out rescue centres for kitties.  P being the kind of pompous twat that he was, would have preferred pedigree cats.  He was all about showing off and status symbols, but I’ve never bought a cat in my life.  Every pet we had when I was a child was a rescued animal.  I chose to adopt my two from a Spanish rescue charity.  My reason for that is because my family have also adopted animals from foreign countries, mainly Spain due to the way that they are generally treated out there.  So I checked out my chosen charity’s website and fell in love with a grubby, skinny little half Russian Blue street cat.  The charity exclaimed that they could only rescue Pedro if someone paid a deposit to have him because they were short on space in the rehoming centre.  I got the money together, sent the payment and Pedro was safe from the cruel streets.  I then went on to another Spanish charity and asked who needed rescuing the most.  I wasn’t bothered about colour, sex, age etc.  I just wanted to home a cat that needed it the most.  So I was offered a little black and white cat called Josephine, who was struggling with life in the rehoming centre surrounded by so many other cats.  Unfortunately just 3 days before she was due to come to England, she became poorly with a virus so she wasn’t able to come over at that time.  The charity asked if I would consider taking another cat on in Josephine’s place.  Josephine not being well enough at the time meant that there was a space for a cat on the transport which the charity try so hard to fill all gaps before starting their journey to England, which meant no one was getting adopted in Josephine’s place.  I felt bad for little Jo, but they assured me that they had found another home for her once she was well enough to travel again.  So I was offered Felixia.  My ex husband said that she was “ugly”, but I didn’t care.  Of course, she wasn’t ugly at all. She just had a grouchy looking face, but that’s one of the things that I love about her!  She is the sweetest little thing I’ve ever known.

My cats arrived in the country on 15th July 2014.  I must’ve driven friends and family crazy in the lead up because I was that excited about getting them!  I remember picking them up from Portsmouth and bringing them home for the first time.  Odin was so, so timid.  Freya was an instant lap cat!  They’re both such different characters.  Another reason why I love them both so much.  Odin was straight from the streets and even the television and washing machine had him baffled.  He would sit and watch them nervously!  Slowly he came out of his shell and it’s taken a few years, but I think we’re there now.  Freya has always been full of affection but she used to hate being picked up.  She now knows that I’m not going to hurt her and she loves being held as I dance around the house with her.  Freya was rescued from a “killing shelter” with her 5 kittens.  Sadly 2 of them passed away due to a virus, but a lovely lady in Spain has kept her 3 remaining kittens and has given them their forever home.

When my marriage fell apart, I was a mess.  I felt like I wanted to die.  My ex husband had been caught having an affair and ended up in a psychiatric hospital.  I would visit him in hospital, (something that most people don’t understand, but I will perhaps explain my reasons in a future post) and it was so exhausting.  Mentally, I was shot.  But when I came home from a long day at work where I wore a false smile that hurt my face and then travelled to the hospital to watch my husband curl up in the fetal position and sob uncontrollably until visiting hours were over, Odin and Freya were there for me.  They brought me such comfort during those dark times.  I used to lay on the bed with them whilst they purred in my ear at the end of those long days, and I used to think “So this is what unconditional love feels like”.  And that’s why I generally prefer animals over people.  Odin and Freya have never intentionally hurt me, and they never will.  They are always there for me.  I know that they love me, and not just because I feed them! 🙂

On the really bad days where I wanted to take my own life, they were close to me.  They had already suffered abandonment once in their short lives, how could I do that to them again?  I know that no one would love them both like I do.  Odin has a lot of quirks that I don’t think people who had not owned cats before could handle.  Freya is very demanding of affection.  What if her next owner didn’t give her that?  And on the days where I just lay in my bed, festering in my pajamas and staring at a wall for 3 hours solid, Odin and Freya encouraged me to get up.  Someone had to feed them and clean out their litter tray.  No one else was there.  Honestly?  If I didn’t have Odin and Freya, then I really don’t think that I would still be here now.  I’m beginning to think that we rescued each other.

And now that the bad days are over, I have company.  The three of us depend on each other.

With love, Darling Soul x

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Lots of llamas.

On Friday, I attended the funeral of one of my mum’s dearest friends. They had been friends for over 40 years. She had been diagnosed with terminal cancer just before Christmas and it was hoped that chemotherapy would prolong her life. Her first chemo session was 31 days after her diagnosis. 4 days later, she died. She kept her cancer a secret from everyone except her daughters, so her death was a heavy shock to her friends and other family members. My mum and her other friends were only informed about her cancer just 4 days before she passed away, so mum didn’t really have time to process the fact that the cancer was terminal. I understand Sue’s reasons for keeping it close to her chest though. She was such a lovely lady and she just didn’t want to worry her loved ones.

Sue had been a part of my life, just as any good friends of my parents have. One of her daughters and I even share the same birthday, albeit a few years apart. Sue came to my wedding along with one of my mum’s other close friends. It only seemed right that I went to her funeral to pay my respects. Funeral guests were instructed by her daughters to bring a red rose and wear an item of red. It was their mum’s favourite colour. I wore a black and white skirt, black jumper, red shoes and red lipstick. When I arrived at the crematorium, it was pretty much at the same time as my parents although we had driven in from opposite ends of the country. I greeted my parents and we instantly noted those who were attending the funeral by spotting the individuals wearing items of red and carrying a single red rose each. It was actually quite nice seeing that. In a way, it brought everyone together.

After greeting old friends and making general chit chat, we all waited outside for the hearse to arrive. I was focusing elsewhere. My parents were engaged in conversation with friends of theirs. My mum suddenly said in my direction, with watery eyes and a gentle smile as the hearse began to slowly drive in “She’s my baby girl. Aren’t you?”.  She’d obviously been conversing with someone about me. It took me by surprise. The relationship my mum and I have can be strained at times, but only because we are so similar in character and because of that, we often clash. I nodded and smiled at my mum, then made a joke about being a big “baby girl” because I was the eldest of her two children. I wish I had just kept my mouth shut and accepted my mum’s sweet words as they were. The hearse drew closer and silence filled the air. The funeral car behind the hearse carrying Sue’s daughters and grandchildren stopped and the passengers got out of the vehicle. An ear piercing shriek from one of the girls broke the silence, followed by thick, heavy sobbing. No doubt at the realisation that her mum was gone. I tried to imagine what that must have felt like and I had to stop myself from crying.

The service was beautiful. No hymns that no one wants to sing anyway, just some of Sue’s favourite music and some kind words said by friends and family members.  About half way through the service, my mum broke down.  She was sat in between myself and my dad and we both reached our hands out towards hers, but she batted us away like pesky flies.  She wanted to be alone in her grief.  Selfishly for a moment, I felt a bit hurt but I gave myself a shake and remembered that everyone grieves differently.  At the end of the service, attendees slowly made their way outside and gently laid a single red rose on the coffin.  Some people whispered something as they put their rose to rest on the wood.  Others said nothing.  Some people kissed the coffin.  I just said “See you, Sue.”

We all moved onto another location in the village for the wake.  Sue had lived here before she became so poorly .  Everyone exchanged fond memories, and photos of Sue in her younger years were being passed around.  We joked about the big hairstyles and interesting fashions in the photos!  She never changed much.  My own mother was in a lot of those photos and facially, she hasn’t changed much either.  In fact, I even noted that she still wears one of the jumpers that she was wearing in the photos taken around the mid to late 80’s!

On my long drive home, I started to sob.  I had to pull myself together.  It was dark and that made it difficult to see the road through the tears.  I held myself together when I was around my mum, but the feelings just hit me when I was alone in my car.  I knew Sue of course, but not in a way to warrant these endless tears that just seemed to come pouring out of the corners of my eyes.  Sue’s daughters are not far off my own age and they have just lost their mum.  I think the tears were actually the reality of loss, that my own parents are not getting any younger.  Yet somehow I seem to need them more at the age of almost 30 than I ever did as a child.  I must speak to my dad on the phone at least 4 times a week.  He often calls me just for a chat when he’s out walking the dogs.  I call on my parents whenever something goes wrong, I need advice or I just want to talk.  I can’t imagine not having them around anymore.  I recall all of the times I said venomous, nasty things towards my parents as a hormone fuelled teenager who wasn’t getting her way.  It makes my heart hurt now, just thinking of it and I don’t even remember the things that were said.

I’ve probably spoken to my parents on the phone (we live 200 miles apart, which is something I am trying to change) 4 times since the funeral on Friday, and even I have noticed that we’re suddenly ending the phone calls with love yous and “lots of llamas”.  “Lots of llamas” is a family joke from when my sister did some charity work in Tanzania, Africa.  She and I were talking on Skype and she was showing off with her newly learnt Swahili words.  We were closing the Skype session and she said something in Swahili that sounded like “lots of llamas”…so I was like, what?  And it turns out, she was actually saying something like “love you lots, bye”!  So now whenever we say goodbye to each other, we say “lots of llamas!”

Life is short.  You just never know what is around that corner.  Grief is the price that we pay for love, but make sure the ones that you love know how you feel.

Lots of llamas, Darling Soul x

Loosening my grip.

Sometimes I feel like I won’t find love again.  Not because I don’t want to find it, but because I don’t think I am capable of loving another person again with the sheer intensity that I loved my ex husband.  I have loved people since, but it wasn’t the same.  The walls that I built after the news of my ex’s infidelity are high.  The bricks are tough and strong.  A brick or two may have come loose over these past 18 months nearly, but I just can’t seem to view any possible relationship without scrutinizing every little detail.

Why does he like me?  What does he want?  Why is he saying nice things?  What is he trying to achieve?  I question every little thing and my God, it’s beyond tiring.  For me and those involved.  It takes the fun away from the chase because I’m too busy over analysing the other person’s facial expressions and actions when I should be enjoying their company and what could become.  I question because when my ex husband left, I had several guys act like they wanted to console me when actually all that they wanted was sex.  If that doesn’t make you query everything that someone who supposedly likes you does, then I don’t know what will!  That was a really horrible and confusing time for me, and very unfair and gross that people who I once considered friends would try and take advantage of me in that way when I was especially vulnerable.

Now see, I love animals.  They cheer me up and their love is unconditional.  They ask for nothing in return.  They don’t have ulterior motives (apart from food perhaps!) and they love honestly.  They don’t hate or hurt.  They don’t lie or cheat.  They know when I am sad or upset and they use their own wonderful little ways to make me feel happy again.  Why can’t people be more like animals?  Sometimes I wonder if I would be better off on my own with my animals.  No one to disappoint or hurt me.  But I wasn’t made for this life.  I am energetic, bubbly and I talk far too much.  I wasn’t created to be left alone for long periods of time.  Dammit, being an empath sucks sometimes.

Guess where I’m going this weekend…to see my ex inlaws.  Lots of people are confused as to why I’m going to see them, but it’s not their fault that their son/brother is a dick.  I was very lucky to have a special relationship with my inlaws and right from day one, they treated me like I was part of the family.  Even now, they still do.  I realise that this is not a luxury that many have and I was indeed lucky during my relationship with him, and now it appears that my luck continues even after divorce.  His parents sent me some money for Christmas and asked me to come and visit, so this weekend will be the first time that I’ve seen them in nearly 14 months.  I’m excited to see them all but also nervous.  Their house holds many memories for me and knowing that his new beau has visited their home will probably make me feel slightly uneasy.  Actually to be honest, I have no idea how I will feel.  I do have a meditation class before I head off to see them though, so I hope that I will receive lots of love and light before my journey which will help me to deal with possible conflicting emotions during my visit.

Before I finish up, a very dear friend of mine sent me this little bit of wisdom yesterday.  I think we can all relate in some shape or form.

With love, Darling Soul x

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So with the dates I’ve been going on lately, my parents told me that I should cool it on the “crazy cat lady” front.  I asked why.

“It might put some guys off” they replied.

But you know what?  I don’t actually care.  I have two rescue cats who are a big part of my life.  If I hook up with a guy that dislikes cats, then it’s not going to work, is it?  So I am up front and honest, and yes to some I may come across as a “crazy cat lady”, but it’s part of who I am.  I am passionate about animals and in particular, my pets.

Then someone said that maybe I should take out my nose ring for dates and replace it with a stud.  Why?  I like wearing a nose ring.  I got my nose pierced with a ring about 10 years ago which was before they became fashionable, I can tell you.

Several people have told me “Your eyes are pretty.  You should wear contact lenses or get laser eye surgery.”  I actually like how I look in glasses.

My ex husband hated my weird ear piercings.  At that time, I told them all out because I know he didn’t like them.  Then when we split up, I went and got a new weird ear piercing and put the jewelry back in my other ones!  And they’ve stayed in ever since, whether someone likes them or not.

My teeth are a little crooked in places and I have a chip on my front tooth.  I sometimes bite my nails when I am anxious.  I waffle a lot when talking.  I draw my eyebrows on everyday due to an over plucking incident in the 90s, haha!  I’m a bit overweight and I really enjoy my food.  Sometimes I swear too much.  I am opinionated.  I have broken veins on my nose.  My skin scars really easily.  I click my knuckles and my neck.  I’m incredibly clumsy.

How can you love someone else until you love yourself?  Totally and utterly apologetically.  And I think for the first time in almost 30 years (holy shit, I’m 30 this year!), I’m comfortable in my own skin.  It’s a really great feeling!  Love and enjoy yourself for who you are because you are pretty awesome.

With love, Daring Soul x