She Came to Me in a Dream
A Guest Post by Karen Tate, on the gift of feline daughters
Xena and Isis were our two precious feline daughters we were lucky to have in our lives, in our home, for twenty years. Xena was solid black and her sister, Isis, was a tri-colored torty. We shared an unconditional love. So many precious times we spent together, so many wonderful memories.
Isis passed rather unexpectedly. She’d been well and seemed to be healthy but suddenly her appetite waned. We went to the vet and discovered she had cancer. I cannot tell you the sorrow of bringing home that empty pet carrier that only hours before housed the precious cargo of our beloved daughter. My husband, Roy, and I were not the only ones who missed Isis. Her sister, Xena, missed her terribly, too. Six months after Isis passed, Xena’s chronic kidney condition became more than her little body could endure. We said our good-byes at the vet as he eased her into a peaceful sleep but not before we beseeched her to come back to us – whatever that might mean. Another day, another empty pet carrier returning home too soon.
That first night after my Xena passed away was a sleepless one. I finally fell asleep in the early morning hours and had an unusual dream. The "light" in the dream was particularly striking, like I'd never seen before in a dream, as if it were suggesting illumination and I should take notice. And I did.
I was standing at the edge of a table and looking over the side. On the floor, playing as she would when she was younger and in good health, Xena was rummaging among some books and papers. She looked up at me, her younger self, with eyes shining bright and playful. I grabbed the person's arm next to me and was tugging at it, crying out, "It's Xena. Do you see her, too? It's Xena. Look! Look!"
It wasn't until then I noticed the arm of the person I was tugging was my deceased mother's arm. I didn't see her. I felt her presence. It was a kind of knowing - and quite a surprise, as I had not had any dreams of my Mom since her passing several years earlier. Instantly I got a comforting auditory message. Mama said Xena was with her and she promised to care for her. In some strange moment of "knowing" I realized that this was Mama's gift to me for my disappointment in our mother-daughter relationship on the earthly plane. She was trying to make it up to me. Suddenly, all the pain and resentment for Mama seeming to prefer my troubled sister to me faded away in that moment. It was the most remarkable thing. That heaviness and angst I was carrying around for years was lifted. I remembered the dream when I awoke and cried tears of liberation and joy.
Unexpectedly, Xena's passing helped with another emotional issue that plagued me. As I lay in bed thinking about the last twenty years I shared with my beloved Xena, it occurred to me how much emptier my life was already without her. I thought how much more empty it would be someday in the future without my beloved husband, Roy. Without them both, the loneliness would be devastating and my thoughts went to how difficult it must be for people cope without love in their lives – what things they might do or not do themselves and others. In that grief, I thought about several of the women I'd known - women who'd betrayed and hurt me - how I knew they didn't have this kind of love in their life, and perhaps that's what drove them to their ugly and hurtful ways. In that moment I felt compassion and understanding for these women. I could let this all go too and forgive. It was amazing the revelations and wisdom gleaned from Xena's tragic passing. Could this gift to me have been her soul's purpose? What a powerful and magical little girl she was.
Two weeks after Xena's passing we went to the vet to pick up her ashes. It was extremely unusual that there was no one in the waiting room but Roy, and I. As we sat there, suddenly a tri-colored kitten revealed herself from behind the counter. She looked at Roy, then me, then Roy again. Roy and I looked at each other. She was the exact image of Xena's sister, Isis, who passed away 6 months earlier. I remembered our pleas to our darlings to come back to us.
Soon we found out this new kitten's history. She had been left for dead on the vet's doorstep but they took her in and had been nursing her back to health the last 8 weeks. She needed a foster home, so we offered ours. The wonderful folks at the vet's office had been calling her Princess and we added the name Lilly, short for Lillith, the archetype of women's independence and strength because of her brave and courageous spirit to fight for her life. Princess Lilly we felt, hoped, was Isis coming back to us in some reincarnated form. We also mused that Xena perhaps helped facilitated her sister's return from the other side, in this magical meeting between us and Lilly, as we came to pick up Xena's ashes.
Xena left this world about 4:30 on Thursday September 28, 2017 and Lilly entered our world about 4:30 October 11, 2017, the season when they say the veil between the worlds of life and death thinnest. Lilly was 9 weeks old and today she is almost six.
What these precious ones taught me was a message of how loss can heal trauma, inspire emotional healing and growth and we can learn from the most unusual and unexpected situations and circumstances. We just must allow ourselves to awaken to new possibilities.
Karen Tate, seven-times published author, podcaster, social justice activist and recently admitted abuse survivor, has released her latest book, Normalizing Abuse: A Commentary on Our Pervasive Culture of Abuse. "I considered myself savvy, educated and an advocate for fairness and equality. I thought abuse was something that happened to others, not me. Only I was wrong."
Normalizing Abuse takes the reader on a serious yet heartfelt journey of discovery, not just of oneself, but also looking into many aspects of our everyday lives, such as academia, government, corporations, the workplace and media, family and friends, society and culture, religion, military, and more, to peel back the veneer hiding rampant insidious abuse and exploitation.
With dozens of prestigious endorsements and a powerful foreword written by pioneering spiritual educator Matthew Fox, known for his activism for gender and eco-justice, Normalizing Abuse is being hailed as a bullhorn for truth-telling so desperately needed as we are called to stand up and speak truth to those wielding toxic power over us.
Normalizing Abuse can be purchased from all the usual book sellers and providers. For more infomation, visit www.karentate.net
Love this beautiful piece...
Thank you for the feedback Joan. The circumstances certainly were bittersweet and remain so to this day.