Friday, October 30, 2015

A Tribute to Basil

The second I heard his adorable, tiny meow from the wood pile, I knew he was mine. A scrawny, stray kitten, no bigger than a slipper, with black and grey stripes, muffled fur, and one eye half shut like the Bloom County character, Bill the Cat. He came right to me, cuddled like a puppy, and kneaded my chest. Then he purred, and my life changed forever. He claimed me as his mommy. And so, I brought him in and named him Basil.

 At first we kept him in the garage in a makeshift den of blankets, a pillow, and my softest sweatshirt, until I could purchase some cat things for him. He curled right up in my sweatshirt and slept. When I went to visit him with food and water he meowed a welcome, cuddled at my feet and practically begged to be held. I stayed with him to make him feel comfortable and took him outside with me when I did yard work. He followed me like a puppy.

I had him checked out at the vet, and after some shots, an ear cleaning, and some eye medication, Basil was really shaping up. He was eating well, filling out like a healthy little guy, and purred louder each day. When the temperature dipped below freezing, we moved his den into our bedroom, but he preferred to curl up on the bed, especially at night. I never had a kitten sleep on my chest. It’s about the next best thing to having an infant—warm, loving, and mine.

But the dogs were going to be a problem. They never had a cat before, and they didn’t take to the neighbor’s. Nikki had already proven to be a predator in the past. Would she be able to love a cat?

We carefully began to introduce the dogs to the new member of the family. They were curious, but on high alert. As long as I kept them separated and monitored their time together, it looked like it might work.

But alas, the bedroom door was not as secure as the garage door. Before I could save him, Basil was killed. I found both dogs standing over his lifeless body.

It was the most horrifying thing I had ever experienced. Maybe it would have been easier to accept if he wasn’t so cute, if he didn’t act like he loved me. Maybe if he didn’t run to my side or cry when I had to put him down to leave, I wouldn’t have cared so much. Maybe if he didn’t turn to meow at me while he ate his kitten chow, as if thanking me for his food. But he was no ordinary kitten. He was my Basil—as dear to me as the pets I’ve had for years. I had him for two weeks, but he felt like he had been part of me forever.

Michael made a wooden cross for him and we buried him near the pond out back. Michael said Basil would have died more tragically if we didn’t find him, and that we gave him the best two weeks of his life. Michael sure knows how to comfort a grieving mommy.

Basil taught me how wonderful cats can be. He taught me about love in a way I had never experienced. He taught me I can be a cat mommy in the future, maybe when the dogs are old and slow. He also taught me that forgiveness is sweeter than anger. I cried to Heavenly Father over Basil’s death, pleading with Him for Basil’s forgiveness. I felt it—coming from that sweet innocent animal on the other side of the veil. I prayed also to forgive my dogs for what they did. They knew I loved Basil. They saw me cuddle him, hold him, keep them at a distance from him. I wanted to get rid of both of them for what they did, but I actually felt Basil’s love pour over me, as if he had forgiven them. He taught me to forgive those who know not what they do.

Basil is in heaven with Mandy, my first and best dog. Mandy is telling Basil stories about me and Michael, filling him in on how much we loved her and how much we will continue to love him. I may not be able to have another kitten in the near future, but I will always have an undying love for the one I owned for two weeks. Basil will never be forgotten.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

IWSG October Entry: Highs and Lows

In the grand scheme of things, I'm doing really well.

 I'm progressing well with my Doorway series. My editor has sent me back some positive feedback on DBF: Believe (book one). I should have the corrections done by the end of the month--then I get to research traditional vs. indie publishing. Yum.

Book two, DBF: Trust, is in it's third draft. Hoping to complete the third draft by the end of the month.

Book three, DBF: Defend, is going to get its rough draft outline this month so I can write it in November during NaNoWriMo.

On the day to day things, I'm depressed.

 The highs and lows of being creative can be so intense. Salt Lake ComicCon and the iWriteNetwork retreat were so sweet and uplifting. Meeting my iWriteNetwork friends meant so much to me--to be around people who believe what I believe and write what I like is so encouraging. We as writers are in a secluded environment so when we see like-minded people, we are enriched. 

Meeting fans and actors of Star Trek Continues was very emotional. Star Trek meant so much to me growing up, and Star Trek Continues is a direct connection to a part of me that was always secure, alive, and full of hope. A large part of that had been lost for years. To have it back is like regaining the use of a limb. I can't get enough of that show!

So how does one balance the highs and lows? 

Remembering there is opposition in all things. We cannot fully appreciate the beautiful without seeing what is ugly. We cannot forgive without being hurt first in order to have a reason to forgive. We cannot start our climb from the top of the mountain--we need to fight the battle to get to the top where all things are then made clear. We need to understand that rewards are sweeter when hardships cut straight to the heart.

Thanks to the Insecure Writer's support Group for showing me that other people have the same struggles that I do. It helps in overcoming depression. It helps to know there is success out there, for me too, one day.