Our cat died this week.  She actually passed on Easter Sunday.  She didn’t pick the best day.  After 14 years of life, she might have been a little more considerate than to choose a holiday.  This isn’t about me though.  It is about the kids.  I was not her biggest fan.  She was supposed to be my ex’s cat.  He adopted her when we were together.  And like everything and everyone else, she was left behind.  She became just another symbol of abandonment.  And she played the part well.  She scratched up one piece of expensive furniture at a time.  She had literal pissing contests with my dog ruining multiple rugs.  She hated my kids when they were toddlers and refused to come inside until they were in bed at night.  Whenever I watched a movie at night, she would need to come in and out of the house 25 times, usually during the best scenes.  She never knew how to retract her claws which hurt … a lot.

My inner conversation about this was not good.  There was a deep unconscious connection between this cat and my ex.  She fueled my karma kid like nothing else.  I was being punished by my ex for thinking I was strong and could raise the kids on my own.  I was being punished by my ex for actually being strong and raising the kids on my own.  I was being punished by my ex for not needing him even though he left me.  I was being punished by my ex for not taking care of him anymore.  Even after he died, I was being punished by my ex from “the other side”.  To my karma kid, he had a hold on me even though he was gone.  And this is typical for the karma kid.  They really do see people as powerful in these ways.  They are often told by abusers that they would always be bound to others and would be punished if they dared to think otherwise.

So I didn’t really like the cat.  But I also knew it wasn’t her fault that she was crazy.  And I knew she wasn’t really punishing me.  I never gave up on her.  I even brought her back to life once when she had a heart attack and died while sitting next to me.  I performed kitty CPR which I didn’t even know what a thing.  She revived, sat up and looked at me like, “What are you looking at?”  She always had her food and her water (dripped from the faucet of course).  And I look her to the vet despite the near death experiences with her claws.  I would never give up on an animal.  That’s not my style.  And she grew to love the kids as they stopped grabbing her tail.  And we even had our moments.  Two nights before she died, I actually looked at her and said, “You’re really not that bad.”  I think she appreciated it in her own way.  She gave me a long, slow blink.

Maybe that’s what she needed.  Maybe my karma kid had finally energetically separated her from my ex.  And maybe, just maybe, I was able to let go of him (and apparently her) on a deeper level.  I am not suggesting my recovery killed my cat.  She was 14.  For an outdoor hunting cat who never backed down from a fight, that’s a good life.  I know I am not powerful enough to dictate her life and death.  But animals are very tuned in to energies.  They know their job and they know when they are done.  They can let go, something most humans can’t do.  We hold on and hold on and hold on to everything and everyone and every animal.  We resist change like there is nothing good that could ever come from it.  When in reality, it is our purpose to learn how to let go.  It is why we are here.

I have worked hard to learn the art of letting go.  It is a quintessential part of the recovery process.  We can’t recover without it.  This is why I am constantly preaching to my clients to grieve.  Grieving is the most productive emotion we can express.  It clears out connections that no longer support our growth.  And it makes room for the new.  In my case, I am letting go of my ex (and the 100 people he represents) so that I can make room for new friendships (and maybe more).  And it is scary to let go of the way I have always defined myself.  I don’t want to figure out life without all the old rules.  There is too much to figure out.  There are too many directions it could all go.  But there is hope too.  There are soooooo many directions it could all go.  And that has an interesting ring to it.  My freedom fighters think it could be cool.  So I’ll keep working to let go.  I’ll keep peeling off the layers of my ties to the past.  I’ll keep ending my contracts that I never wanted to make.  And maybe I’ll miss that cat a little too.