When I think about what that sweet cat taught me, three lessons come immediately to mind.
Be open to new things...I hated cats. Period. I have never owned a cat, paid no mind to any cats that might be pets of my friends, and did my best to avoid cats at all costs. I have no idea why. I just thought I didn't like them. "I'm a dog person" I would say to everyone. I'm not really sure why I felt you either needed to be a "dog person" or a "cat person" and you couldn't be both, but that's beside the point. She taught me to be open to new ideas and even old ideas that may not be true to who I am anymore. By loving her, I realize I never hated cats, I just never gave them a chance. I was never open to the idea and had a pre-conceived notion about something I knew nothing about it. I think about how many other things in my life I haven't given a chance because I have already made a judgment based on a past experience or memory or even because I'm afraid. (And yes, I will be trying yogurt today. I have in my head I hate yogurt so I have refused to try it my entire adult life. I have a yucky look on my face right now even thinking about it, but considering I don't actually have a memory of ever eating it and not liking it, I think I've created the whole thing in my head! I'll keep you posted!)
A simple life is a happy life...As with most animals, she didn't need much to be happy. She just wanted to be fed, a safe place to sleep, and a little attention here and there. That's it. I tried to buy her some fancy cat toys one time but she looked at me like "Girl...really?" and never touched them. She was happy with the sun on her face and the peace that came with knowing she was safe...that she didn't need to look over her shoulder all the time. I do believe she was genuinely happy this past year and that definitely brings me some comfort. And I agree with her, a simple life is a happy life. The more "stuff" I accumulate in my house and even in my mind, only makes my life feel cluttered. I don't need it. She has inspired me to simplify.
We all want to belong, to feel connected...As independent as Sadie was, she still wanted to belong to something...to our family. She wanted to feel loved and she wanted to feel connected to something bigger than herself. One day when I wasn't feeling well and I was in bed all day, Todd brought her into the house and put her in the bed with me. She never left my side. She wanted to be touching me the whole time. We all need that human touch. We all need to feel loved. We all want to belong. There's not a person out there, no matter how independent and strong, that doesn't have these basic needs. We should always remember that.
If Sadie is still alive, I hope she's found a loving home and I will always be looking for to show up again. If she's not, I just hope there was no suffering and she is looking down on me from a very happy place. We had a very special connection. I always felt like she was watching me...looking after me. And there were times this year, I needed to feel like someone was watching out for me. She brought me comfort, she showed me love, and she gave me inspiration. I will be forever grateful. Dr. Seuss says "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." I'm smiling Sadie, I'm smiling.