It was just an ordinary Thursday when I got a text from my mom asking me to have a lunch date with her. I was quite excited since I had some good news to share about the blessing I got from work. I was also eager to meet her because she said lunch was on her.
My Mom asked me to choose a place where we could have lunch together. I was craving for La Paz Batchoy that time since I just recovered from a week-long cold so I chose the place that serves the best Batchoy in town. I was just blabbering away that I didn’t really notice then that my Mom was feeling uneasy. In the middle of the meal, I asked my Mom how my 11-month-old pet cat Dimi was doing.
I was worried about him since his left eyelid was injured the previous week. I had to ask my Mom to take him to the vet and get antibiotic shots because the area around his left eye socket was swelling and he couldn’t really open his left eye. On that weekend, I traveled for about 2 hours and a half to my Mom’s hometown so I can personally take care of him. When I asked my Mom the question, her eyes watered and told me that Dimi wasn’t able to get back home for 2 days and they discovered that the cat left dead on the side of the road was Dimi. Tears fell from my eyes immediately though I didn’t want to believe what she said. I tried to stifle my sobs while she was telling the story because I don’t like crying in front of strangers much more in a public place and I also don’t like crying in front of the people who I care for. My tears were just falling and I felt that I was already having a hard time breathing a bit so I asked her to stop giving more details about the story(thank God I didn’t have an asthma attack – which I sometimes get from crying/being sad and would make things worse and would be more embarrassing :D). I went back to work. I felt so down and gloomy that I couldn’t really concentrate at work.
Later that night, I cried my heart out to God and was asking Him a lot of questions. He comforted me through the verse from Psalm 147:3. The verse says: “He (God) heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” I felt better with that comfort but the next day, some of my coworkers told me that I was really abstracted. Their comment made me think more of what I was really feeling about Dimi’s death. I realized that I haven’t really given up all that I felt about Dimi’s death to God. After a moment of seeking God and asking Him to reveal to me why I was feeling the way I did, I came across an article online that helped me discover that I was still on denial and I also felt guilt from what happened. It was God’s way of letting me know that I needed to give those negative feelings up and use the loss to think of His love. After browsing more articles from the site, I felt more grateful that I found the site and came across this quote:
“…God uses pets to help humans learn about love. From pets, we learn mercy, compassion, patience, and understanding — and we also learn what it means to receive unconditional love. If pets are a means by which we are taught about love, must we assume that once we have learned the lesson, we must then be forced to lose that love forever? Shall we assume that God, the author of love, has so little compassion for us that He first gives us pets to love, and then tells us, “Yes, well, I know that you really loved that little dog or precious cat I sent your way, but rules are rules”? “
This made me think of what God made me learn via Dimi. I just realized that owning a pet helped me to be patient, understanding, sensitive, compassionate, and loving.
Dimi was supposed to be a pet for my friend. Before him, I already had Daniel, my eldest cat. I only took him in, temporarily, for a friend. However, my friend later on learned that it was impossible for her to adopt the kitten. Our family decided to keep him, thinking that he could be a companion to Daniel who was having separation anxiety at that time (yeah, didn’t know that cats could get them, too). Daniel became more affectionate again.
Pets help us become more patient and understanding. In the first few months that Dimi spent with us, we haven’t really given him a name because I wanted my friend to be the one to come up with it. I first came up with the names Dimitri and Damien but since my brother said that it was quite hard to say, we decided his name would be ‘Dimi’. He had a hard time recognizing his name because we’ve been calling him ‘bibi miming’ (which can be literally translated as ‘Baby Cat’ in English) and other names before that. It was also a challenge to establish routines with and to potty train him because he came to us when he was just on his ‘weaning’ stage, which was not ideal. He was also really playful so he would jump on almost anything. He even jumped near the stove and got burnt and permed whiskers afterwards. He played with my iPhone’s headset and bit on it until the wire was split in two. It was my fault then because I just left it on the bed. I forgot that we had a playful kitten. :p
We experienced many more patience-stretching circumstances as he grew older. I didn’t know back then that it was also one of God’s ways to teach me to be more patient. You see, I grew up as a spoiled brat. I didn’t have much patience and my understanding of other people then isn’t the same compared to now. Those mini experiences with Dimi and Daniel trained me to understand the other party and the situation first. I learned that I couldn’t always do things my own way. I began to research more about cat behaviors so I would be able to train my pets well. After that, I somehow developed a similar attitude when facing patience-stretching experiences.
Spoiled brats are usually only sensitive to their own needs, kinda like some cats too. Keeping a pet, especially a cat, requires you to be extra sensitive to their needs. I had pets when I was younger but I would often rely on my parents, relatives staying with us or the helper to feed them and take care of them. Unlike now, I had to allot some amount for them and I spent more time training them to be disciplined felines. Learning more about the body language of cats somehow taught me to be more sensitive to people around me. I learned that I was more sensitive when my mom told me a few months back that my attitude was really far from the toddler me.
When my Mom was hospitalized a few months back, I learned how to manage time well since I had to spend time with theme too and I learned to be more mindful of others, too. I remember Dimi almost got dehydrated because he got stuck between the window screen and the glass part of the window for about 6 hours because I forgot to close it. I believe those events were used by God to help me become more sensitive to the needs of others. I began to think about and started to understand my family and friends more.
Dimi was a very loyal cat. There was a time that he spent hours on the roof of my grandma’s house and refused to get down for us to realize that Daniel had been stuck on the mango tree for hours. When Daniel complains during his bath time, he would just stay and walk around restlessly near Daniel. After bath time, he would also help Daniel lick his fur until he’s dry. These made me think of how God is also faithful and loyal in loving us.
Dimi was also a very gentle and patient cat. He’s okay with us just lifting him up and cuddling him whenever we want to. He would behave like a rag doll every time. During bath time, Daniel would claw or sometimes threaten to bite but Dimi doesn’t do any of those. He would just complain with a soft ‘meow’ and would only huddle closer to me. When he had his eye injury, his eating patterns didn’t change and he wasn’t grumpy even when his left eye was swelling and he was having a slight fever. We didn’t have a hard time applying some of his eye-drop-medicine on him because he was well-behaved. These made me reflect on how God is really patient with us. Though at times, we do things that is really painful to him he still is gentle with us and enjoys us whoever we are and whatever we do.
Dimi is one of my music and nap-time buddies when I’m at home. I love listening to Christian music. When I’m in our room, I would always play music then Dimi and Daniel would position themselves next to me or sometimes on my foot, arm, etc. and fall asleep :D. I would surely miss one soft, warm, and furry creature sleeping next to me when I get home. In the same way, I have thought of God as someone who knows what we enjoy and loves staying beside us. I am feeling much better about what happened because God didn’t cease to bring me comfort via friends and family.
I feel sad about the loss but I would always be thankful to all the moments I spent with Dimi. It’s just sad that he had to pass away in such a tragic way. I have resolved that I would never find answers to my ‘why’ questions soon but I know the answers will come. I am sure that Dimi’s short stay with us was with a purpose. The lessons that I learned will forever be with me.
Everyone goes through seasons of difficulty or times when things just seem dark. Do not lose heart because God has a plan to drive you out of darkness – He will flood you with His light! (Psalm 112:4)