Helping the Pain Go Away

Orange and white cat

Good people are kind to their animals.—PROVERBS 12:10 (CEV)

Mom had plastered the inside of her front door with greeting cards featuring kitties as part of her collection. Photos of her beloved cat, Rufus, covered her fridge door. “Do you ever hear from the family who adopted Rufus, Mom?”

“Just at Christmastime. Look at this picture they sent me of him sprawled under their tree!” Although she chuckled, I knew the cards and pictures were little compensation for the Rufus-shaped hole in her heart.

Mom had always treated the huge six-toed tabby like a grandchild. Spoiling him with treats. Talking baby talk to him. Fretting when he escaped outdoors. When she moved from California to Illinois, she made the painful decision to leave Rufus behind. She’d realized that caring for a cat had become too much for her, although it was another month before she was actually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

A couple with plenty of land and well-mannered children adopted Rufus. “I’m so relieved he’ll have a loving family,” Mom said. But the sadness in her voice was unmistakable.

I couldn’t take Mom’s pain away. But I could have her over for Sunday dinner, where she petted and chatted with my two cats, one a Rufus look-alike. I made sure her Mother’s Day card and birthday cards featured kittens, so she could add to her collection. Mostly I prayed for Mom. Better than anyone, Jesus understands the pain of goodbyes.

Today's Prayer:

Lord, thank you for understanding our pain. When faced with difficult decisions, may we find your wisdom and grace. Amen.

Adapted from Strength & Grace: Daily Devotions for Caregivers, a new publication from Guideposts