My last full day in Nafplio was a difficult one. The well being of the tiny kitten I felt compelled to care for weighed heavily on me. There were tears and I felt mentally and emotionally occupied much of the day. My appetite disappeared and the indulgent last meal I had imagined with anticipation lost its appeal and, instead, I went to bed without eating.
The smart man in my life prompted me to consider why the situation was impacting me so deeply. Maybe there was something more to my response, something beyond a kitten abandoned by its mother….
Truthfully, it had occurred to me that my reaction to the kitten’s circumstances was kind of extreme. There were stray cats, both young and old, all over Greece. I had fed my leftovers to a number of them already without feeling bonded to any of them in the way I felt emotionally connected to, and responsible for, this desperate wee one.
I recognized that I related to it in some deep, powerful way. I understood and empathized with this vulnerable, perfect creature who simply wanted its mother to come back and care for it. My tears were for it and, all these years later, for my own child self.
My mother never literally abandoned me. She simply didn’t provide emotional support or care to me when I needed it as a child. I truly don’t consciously dwell on that void, believing that as an adult I am responsible for my own internal well being. However, a situation like the one with the white kitten, brings a lot to the surface for me.
I wanted to fix things for the kitten in a way that I would have appreciated my own childhood to have been improved. I wanted the kitten to feel safe and secure and able to thrive.
Yesterday when I said goodbye to the kitten, whose condition was much improved after a mere 24 hours of my ministrations, I spoke to it softly and I found myself repeating the same three sentences over and over to it:
You are loved.
You are strong.
You are a survivor.
I don’t know where those words came from, but they flowed from my heart effortlessly. Perhaps I’ve been saying them to myself for a long, long time.
I’m crying a little again as I write this, but I’m saving most of my tears for when I’m in the arms of that smart man again. Until then, I’m going to enjoy my last days in Athens. I’ve got a really good life, filled with wonderful people I love and the gift of being able to explore and enjoy beautiful places.
I wish nothing less for that kitten.