Too many people are burdened by anxiety, stress, and grief- and cats are the cure.
Our Can Opener has had her paws full lately. And everywhere we look we hear bad reports and see a lot of anxious or grieving people. The Can Opener herself is still grieving- and so is her sister. But they know of several things that really help- (we’ll talk about those later)- but guess what? We cats are great therapists!
From the beginning time, humans have seen that their cats make them smile, bring them warmth and comfort, and give them a reason to get up in the morning. That’s because if they don’t get up in the morning, their cats will eat their donuts before they can have a chance to.
But besides serving as your faithful alarm clocks (to remind you of our 3 am feeding schedule), and helping you avoid those un-necessary calories in those donuts that you always regret eating later, cats are great for your mental health in a ton of other ways.
Happy Memorial Day? Somehow that doesn’t quite sound right to say. Unless “Memorial Day” is to you just a reason to get together with friends and have a barbeque.
The purpose of Memorial Day is to remember and honor those who have lost their lives in the service of our country. We who are alive and have never been in a position of defending our country no matter the cost, have a hard time grasping the full impact of what it takes to do that. Not only for the soldier who dies- but for their families. The children left behind. The spouses left to pick up the pieces and go on living and raising their children and functioning like they did before.
My heart is heavy writing this. I lost my husband in January- not because he was fighting for our country- but because he was fighting for his own life thanks to colon cancer.
When I got on my computer this morning and was confronted with “Memorial Day,” it brought back a wave of pain triggered by the word, “memorial.”
I’ve kept myself so busy trying to just keep functioning since losing my husband. But as I thought on all this today, I thought of how much worse the grief is of losing a spouse, or father or other family member in battle- When I lost my husband, I knew what he was experiencing, because I was with him daily- I saw his pain and hopelessness.
But when a person loses someone in the defense of our country- or on foreign soil, they don’t usually have the comfort of knowing that person wasn’t dying alone. They don’t get the chance to say goodbye. They are tormented by the unknown things- and they have little advance warning.
Even if you have not personally known anyone who has lost their life in this manner or is in a situation where they could- Please take a few minutes today to consider them- and pray for our soldiers wherever they may be, because they give up everything to protect us and our freedoms.
Every relationship we enter knowing that one day for whatever reason, it will end. But that doesn’t make it any easier to get through when it does. And when it ends because of a sudden diagnosis of stage 4 cancer, the memories of all your loved one endured are relentlessly painful. And they hit you at the most inopportune times, and sometimes for no apparent “reason” at all.
Like when you’re going into your closet to pick an outfit for something, and you see something your husband loved to see you wear. Or you want to get a haircut, and automatically try to choose one he would like- or you go grocery shopping, and without realizing it, fill your cart with things he loved that you can’t eat – then you suddenly realize that you no longer need to concern yourself with those preferences.
The emptiness that suddenly hits you is indescribable. And you think to yourself, it’s only been 2 months and two days. How can I handle this for the next few months- or years?
You try to go on with life as it was before, because you have to. But everything has changed. Now there’s no one (except the cats) waiting for you when you get home- and no one to watch a movie with or share a cup of coffee with. Loud or sudden noises become extremely annoying, silence isn’t the comfort it once was, you realize you have to become very purposeful in order to do the things you know you need to do to take care of yourself.
This is where grief counseling helps so much. Seeing the impact that the loss of your husband has had on your family, you realize that you don’t want them to suffer another loss if you can help it. Exercise becomes a priority – (even though it’s the last thing you feel like thinking about)- Avoiding junk food and eating right is even more important because what you eat (especially when grieving) will definitely not only affect your health, but your mood as well.
Being with friends and family become critical – especially if you are blessed with a family like mine, where love and respect are most important. My heart goes out to those suffering the loss of a loved one without that critical support. How do they manage to face each new day?
This is what it’s like. But at some point, you have to make a decision. You can allow yourself to be overcome with sorrow and grieve to death- or you can choose to live with new purpose.
It’s not easy- but by the Holy Spirit you can receive strength for each new day, comfort in your sorrows, and a new life of purpose.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:1-3 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/isa.61.1-3.NIV