Personal Story: How My Angels
By Jody Cope
Jody Copeís life has changed significantly since
the surprise addition of three kittens to nurture (and be nurtured
It was Sunday, and God sent me three
I drove my trash to the dumpster at my apartment complex. Not
that Iím incredibly lazy and lifeless. Iím just weary. Having chronic fatigue
syndrome has meant that Iíve learned to be creative with my energy, saving it
for important tasks and responsibilities. Little did I know, I was about to come
upon just such an important task.
I made the circuit around the apartment complex, and returned
to my parking space just as three, tiny black and white kitten heads popped out
of an empty space in the front of my car. Now, this might not seem too amazing
to some, but I had spent hours on the PetFinders.com website for over a year,
looking longingly at black and white kitten siblings. Each time, I logged off
with a heavy heart, denying myself the joy of a furry companion.
I lived for many years with incredible cats that were like
additional children. Now, lonely and confined to my apartment a good deal of the
time with pain and fatigue, I had been yearning for just one kitten. But it
seems that God in his graciousness had sent me three.
My immediate concern was for the kittensí safety. What were
they doing wandering under cars near the exit gate? These tiny little babies
were in danger, just as I was in danger of succumbing to the hopelessness of
chronic illness and pain. Now the social worker in me said GATHER THEM UP.
I set about finding a box large enough to hold them. Then, I
took a crack at herding cats. There I was, on a hot Sunday morning, on my hands
and knees crawling in the dirt with the ants and other insects. I caught the
first two kittens with some effort, but the last one was stubbornly elusive. I
finally gave up and sat down on the step with the box. Then out he came, walked
over and decided to join the group.
Keeping kittens in a box is almost as difficult as corralling
them to begin with. I didn't know what I was going to do but I knew I
needed to do somethingóand I sensed that they were supposed to do
something for me, too.
I spent two hours on the phone contacting
all the animal rescue groups. No one could "take" the kittens, but one rescue
worker offered to help by bringing me some supplies. In a few hours, the
rescue worker arrived with a litter box, food and other supplies. Then, we took
the kittens one by one into the bathroom for their first bath in the sink. The
fleas came off and the cats trembled with cold and fear. They were so little, with shriveled pink bellies
and beige noses. We wrapped
each in a towel as we finished and held them close. They went right
to sleep with exhaustion from their ordeal.
The rescue worker suggested that maybe the mama cat had
"brought" them to meónot able to control them anymore. I didn't know how I was
going to manage three active, inquisitive baby cats either. I had barely been
out of bed for weeks. Pain was exhausting me. But I knew, somehow, that I would
find a gift in this mission.
the Mama Cat of triplets and started making formula and feeding these babies every
four hours. No more choosing to stay in bed most of the day. Now I get up early
every morning, eat regular meals, shower, dress, do laundry when the babies are
asleep and keep doctors' appointments. "Kitty-Proofing" has also been a
blessing. Cleaning up after them and getting rid of stuff that could hurt them
means I, too, have a more pleasing, peaceful home.
Iíve moved my muscles more than I have
in months. As a result I have more pain, and I have to use my cane more. But
I hope my muscles will eventually accommodate the goings on. My home health
nurse said she has never seen me look better, happier and more positive.
I smile more and belly laugh a lot. I have company for
afternoon naps, soft kitty kisses and rumbling purring to soothe my nerves. Any
afternoon you will find me stretched out on the couch with purring kittens lined
up on top of me from my neck to my knees. I promised I would find an adoptive
home for one, but it is going to be hard saying goodbye. So many lessons these
tiny beings are teaching me.
Once again, I say a silent thank you to God for showing me
that out of the misfortune of a debilitating chronic illness can come a gigantic
blessing of having the time and patience to enjoy every moment of an unexpected
miracleÖ or three.