About these cats
After my mom passed, I brought home two foster cats to my dad’s house. This was after I had changed all his furniture, got him a new bed, and moved back in with him. (Just for a while)
My dad spent a lot of time sleeping- which he doesn’t do often… and a lot of time drinking his sadness away. Of course, I was there with him every night- doing the same.
There was a limit to the things I can say to him. I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know what I could say. Sometimes, even among family- you will find that there are no words to describe your emotions. Especially when you’ve been trained to lock your emotions in for over 50 years.
Lunar New Year came and went- we prepared my late mom a meal for the holidays (Korean ancestor worshipping tradition) and on the last day of the holiday, I brought these two fuzzies home.
Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to bring two new family members to our house in a state of grief. But I believed that we learn to heal by helping others heal. My dad and I needed a sense of empathy, a support group telling us it’s okay to be… well… not okay.
None of our human family members told us this. They told us to be strong. They told us to move on. They looked at our grief as a sign of weakness- something they can just rush past when clearly that wasn’t possible for the both of us.
What I learned from these two
Lesson 1: It’s okay to feel uncomfortable.
When Yulmoo and Chapssal first came, they seemed fine. They ate, ran, and used the bathroom. But just when I thought they were adjusting, that night- they soon became agitated and scared. Chapssal (I’ll call him Chap for short) meowed the whole night, and Yulmoo (I’ll call her Yool) hid under the sofa for the whole day after.
I think sadness and fear don’t necessarily show up as we predict they will. Sometimes, we feel okay- then we find out later that we really aren’t. And that’s ok.
My dad and I were okay with the cats being so- and maybe we should let ourselves be okay with not being okay. Even if we said we would be.
Lesson 2: In time, you will learn to love and trust again.
Must have been hard for them to come out of hiding. Even as small, fearless kittens- you can’t really force them to come out of hiding. It’s something that cannot be done by force.
But when they did come out from under the couch and stop crying- they learned to resume their daily activities, even started a few fun kitty fights with each other.
They learned to trust their environment and the situation they were in. Chap and Yool gained the confidence to start being themselves again.
Lesson 3: There are better days coming.
This isn’t the end for Chap and Yool. They are going to find a better home- and a loving family. For them, coming out of their fear and sadness was just the beginning of a new story.
Sure, they won’t go back to the old, warm house and family that rescued them. But that is in the past. There are better things waiting for them, and with every passing day, that day becomes closer.
Lesson 4: We always have each other, and sometimes it doesn’t require words.
Lastly, they’re always there for each other. That’s all that matters. Though they are parted from their rescue home, they still have each other to help each other get through it.
They don’t really say much, to be honest. They just sit there watching TV together, grooming each other, and eating with each other. Sometimes- it’s just the fact that someone is there for you that counts.
My dad and I, Chap and Yool spend more and more time laughing and playing now. It’s amazing what emotional change two foster cats can bring to us. I know that we may not be their forever home- and if someone else comes along to adopt them… we might need to say goodbye.
But for now, we are going to enjoy the time given to us- and just let ourselves be who we are, and look out for each other, for all of us- just like these two do for us.
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