Christmas was something I always looked forward to and enjoyed growing up. When I met my husband that changed. For my husband, he associates Christmas as a horrible day, rightly so. Since the birth of our children, he has tried to change his thoughts and ways to be positive, to give our children a wonderful experience at Christmas time. The experiences he wishes he had lived as a child.
Today, Christmas 2016, started out as any other day. We all slept in until 10AM. The kiddos watched some movies. I made us breakfast. I lounged in bed watching television and playing on my phone or talking to my parents. I finally showered, even though I didn’t have the energy to do so. As I was lying in bed, I decided to get up and go downstairs to get the play dough my son had been begging me for all morning. My daughter was in her room watching a movie, playing on her iPad. My son was sitting in his dad’s chair in the living drinking some milk.
I snuck down the steps into the kitchen, then down the steps to the second level. I snuck open the closet door and was grabbing the play dough when I heard my son jump down out of the chair and start his way down the steps towards me. I quickly shut the closet door and came up the steps. We met each other by the front door. I asked him to pick a hand and when he did I gave him two containers of play dough. I asked him again to pick a hand and he picked the other hand I gave him two more containers of play dough. He then asked me to open the door to the garage so he could show his dad. I opened the garage door where my husband was smoking and our son showed him his four containers of play dough.
My son then came back into the house and started up the stairs. I walked over to get a cookie and then followed my son up the stairs. He was a few seconds ahead of me. As I walked into the bedroom, my son was down on his knees, reaching under the bed as he had dropped some of his play dough toys. There along the side of the bed was my cat Matrix lying on his side. This was odd for Matrix, as he never would lie on his side in the bedroom. Our other cat does that often, but not him. I didn’t think anything of it right away, but after a couple of seconds, I realized this was highly unusual.
I noticed Matrix was barely breathing and at some points he was not breathing. I yelled to my five-year-old son that Matrix was dying, and asked him to get his dad out in the garage. I was hysterical by this time, crying and yelling that he was dying. My son had never witnessed death and was scared. I yelled for my husband. Eventually, my son was able to go downstairs and out to the garage to tell my husband that Matrix was dead. As I continued to hysterically cry, I watched as Matrix continued to take his last breaths, tense up and take his final breath. He was gone. My husband appeared and I screamed that Matrix was dead. He asked if I wanted him brought to the vet, and I asked for what? To spend money to tell me my cat is dead?! As I continued to cry, I started to gag on my own phlegm, peed my pants, and then threw up in the toilet.
My reaction to my cat unexpectedly dying in front of my eyes is not unusual. I think of my animals as family members. I am a huge animal lover. I have gone as far as throwing big birthday parties for my pets, grilling out and having a huge sheet cake with candles. Holidays and birthdays are special, with my furry family members being showered with gifts and treats. I sometimes wonder if I love my animals more than some people. As a nurse, I cannot even count how many human deaths I have witnessed or came upon. Although every death is sad, I have been able to keep my composure and remain calm. Yes, I have cried some tears with the deaths I have experienced, sometimes I go home at the end of my shift and sob for an hour, but as a healthcare provider, I have to follow a certain standard in the moment. My reaction to my family members, and my furry friends tends to be much different.
My love for animals has always been present. In fact, when I was in ninth grade, right before being confirmed in the Lutheran church, our pastor asked us all if we had any questions. One of us raised a hand, and asked the pastor if animals go to heaven. The pastor stated that animals did not have souls and did not go to heaven. The pastor then asked anyone who believed that animals had souls and went to heaven to raise their hands. About half of us raised our hands and I suspect there were more of us that believed that animals have souls. The pastor told us that animals did not have souls, that we needed to realize this over the next week, and he would ask us again who believed animals had souls. He stated that those of us that believed animals had souls or went to heaven would not be able to be confirmed. I went home and told my mom everything that happened. My mother told me that she too believed animals had souls, but that I needed to lie to the pastor and tell him I did not believe that they did. My mother asked me to lie and tell him I did not think animals had souls so I could be confirmed. I told my mother that I could not lie to the pastor about this. My mother said it was very important that I be confirmed and I needed to lie to the pastor about my belief. Although it ate me up inside, the following week, when the pastor asked those of us that believe that animals have souls and go to heaven to raise our hands, I lied and did not raise my hand. No one raised a hand that day. I was confirmed according to my mother’s wishes. I now know how important it is to stand up for my beliefs. I also now know there are bible verses stating animals have souls and go to heaven.
After Matrix died today, my first instinct was to call my dad for help. I dialed my mom and dad’s numbers several times before they answered. Eventually dad answered and I tried to tell him what happened. I asked him to come and help and he said he would. I sat by Matrix on the floor, petting him and crying. My husband brought a box and a garbage bag and asked if I wanted him placed into the bag into the box. I looked him straight in the eyes and said he would not be putting my cat into a garbage bag. I asked him to get a blanket or towel. Eventually he came back with an old towel. I lined the cardboard apples box with the garbage bag, my husband placed the towel down, and then we both lifted Matrix into the box.
We kept our daughter out of sight for all of this, but my son wanted to watch. He left the room to draw a picture for Matrix to send with him. He drew a picture of Matrix and then drew a box. On the back he signed his name a few times. He said he drew Matrix and now matrix had to go into the box. We folded the drawing up and placed it into the box to send off with Matrix. My husband closed up the apple box and brought Matrix out to the garage. By then my dad had arrived and all he could do was blame me for having two cats and two dogs. He told me I better not get another cat right now. I told him I was found a whole litter of cats on Facebook and was headed to get them now. I retreated to my bedroom to cry. I realized I shouldn’t have called my dad to come help. I have a fully capable husband, who is supportive. Later, when I went to the bedroom and was looking through my phone, I looked to see what time I started to call my mom and dad. The time I started calling them, right after Matrix died was 1:11PM exactly. An Angel number!!!
After the household calmed down, we let our other cat Neptune say goodbye to Matrix. I needed Neptune to know Matrix was gone. My husband said Neptune already knew Matrix was going to die, because he has been acting weird for a few days. Cats are so smart. If they know when humans are going to die, they ought to know when another cat is going to die. Later, my husband came into the bedroom and reminded me what I told him last night. Last evening, the four of us drove around town for 1 ½ hours looking at all of the Christmas lights. While driving around I told my husband about the evening before. I told him that when my son, both cats and I were lying in bed on Friday evening; at one point I had thought Matrix was dead. He was lying on his side and I could not see him breathing. I shook him gently and he didn’t move. I yelled to him and tapped him and he lifted up his head, looked at me in disbelief, then went back to sleep. I realized he was not dead and was in a deep sleep. When my husband reminded me of this event, I instantly knew that Friday evening, I had been given a premonition of what was to come.
I thought about spirit and how we are able to receive signs from above. I remembered for the past two days when I was lying in bed with Matrix I would get chest pains. I contributed it to anxiety or acid reflux, but I now realize it was my medical intuition kicking in. Likely, I was picking up on Matrix heart troubles, as he most likely suffered from a heart attack. I thought about earlier in the day. I was cuddling with Matrix, against his will, hugging him and kissing him. I told him I loved him and that living with me, he was able to feel so much love and happiness in the short year he has been with us. I literally told him I loved him and didn’t know what I would do without him. This was within an hour before he died today. About twenty minutes before he died, I was lying in bed talking on the phone to my mom. Matrix came over to me and I was petting him, scratching the top of his head and talking baby talk to him like I always do. I told my cat stories like always, telling my mom that Matrix wanted to come over today and spend the night with her. She laughed, as I always talk baby to my animals.
Matrix was able to feel so much love and peace today before his death. He did not suffer a long, slow, painful death. There is not much more I could ask for. Everything that lives will also die. Matrix dying was also a learning opportunity for my son. My husband and I discussed dying with him today, explained the rainbow bridge. He was somewhat understanding this information, and then I found a video on YouTube, which describes the rainbow bridge for pets in a song for little kids. I played this video for him and it finally clicked in his young little mind.
After the video played, my husband was a sobbing mess. He tried to tell our son three different times that when he was a little boy, not much older than him, his mother died and went to heaven. My husband could not get the words out. Our son asked why he was crying. Finally, I told my son what my husband was trying to say. Our son looked my husband right in the eyes and said, “It’s okay daddy, your mommy is an angel now.”
For the past week our son has been talking about dying and asking questions about death. Part of me wonders if someone in the spirit world has been in contact with our son, prepping him for the death that was to come. Our son has been talking about death, dying, angels, and the rainbow bridge all evening tonight. Over the next days, this will continue to decrease and eventually cease. Since I am spiritually awake, I have been able to process and accept the death of my beloved cat Matrix much more quickly than I ever would in the past. I know this is not the last time I will see or feel Matrix. He will be around me until it is my time to leave earth and go to Heaven, whenever that may be.
Sending you love and hugs on this Christmas night,
Copyright December 25, 2016 – Light As A Feather (Jadie Winters)