Saturday, March 22, 2008

Shiva Lullaby's first night home

This short clip shows our new kitten sleeping on my lap her first night with us in August 2007. She had been rescued by the little girls next door after they saw a woman down the street throwing her out of the house from the porch. The two older girls named her Vullaby before their mom said that she had to go (five kids there, step-father Iraq war vet just left for good). They spent a full day in front of a local grocery store attempting to tempt, then knocked at our door late in the afternoon to see if we wanted a kitten. We have one indoor cat, Feather, very pampered, and three others who sleep in warm beds in the garage - former strays now living a pretty good life. I asked the girls to keep the kitten in the box they prepared outside for one more night and to bring her to me the next morning. I wanted to reward them for caring. It was my intention to have her tested the next day at our vet clinic, and if she was cleared of feline leukemia to then have her first rounds of shots. The idea was that the girls would have an easier time finding her a home.

Before we arrived at the vet I named her Shiva, why I don't exactly know because Shiva is the male Hindi god of death (but also of renewal), but that is the name that came to me. My husband, who was driving, knew about then that we probably had another cat. She tested healthy, albeit laden with fleas, so had her shots and came home with us.

I am in love with Shiva! I lost my favorite cat, Bleecker, age 16, in December 2006 but hadn't lost the sorrow, and Shiva has some special quality that provided the healing I needed.

The girls visited often to see "Vullaby" and said she now looked like a "princess cat." One Friday night a few weeks ago a fire truck and ambulance pulled up in front of our two houses, and we saw the two girls wrapped in blankets, sobbing on the front porch. I walked across the yard to see what had happened to find EMT workers performing valiantly inside to save their mother's life. She was whisked away, breathing but unconscious. One of the EMTs stopped to tell the girls that their mom would be ok. We learned the next day that the mother had indeed made a nearly-successful attempt at suicide with a load of pills.

The youngest girl (10 years old, let's call her Ali) took my offer to stay the night with us, while her sister and the other siblings went to be with their grandmother. I made dinner for her and then Mike bundled her up in front of the fire while I made up the couch in the living room. Along came Shiva to snuggle up with our sad little guest and she followed Ali under the covers on the couch, where she didn't leave her side all night. Ali called her Shiva Lullaby, a variation on the name her sisters gave the kitten. It seemed just right to describe this cuddly, soft, gray consoler. The next day Ali and I ordered a new tag for the kitten with the name Shiva Lullaby.

Last week the family moved to another house not far away. I spoke with the girls on the phone but we haven't seen them since they moved. Reports are that the mother received special counseling in the hospital's suicide unit and the kids were assigned a case worker before authorities approved the family remaining together.


Adam said...

Wow. Poor kids. I don't know what I would do if I had to life without one of my parents at that age. Quite a harrowing story.

I did submit the link to my blog--it would look very good to have awards on there :-) Have you noticed any spike in readers since you got it? It would be interesting to know if there was any direct effect of having such an award.


Ronni said...

Sad, lovely story and not quite on point, I'm curious why you named your favorite cat Bleecker and even spelled it correctly which even some New Yorkers don't.

Ronni Bennett

Lydia said...

I was excited to see your blog referenced in "Write Your Life," as we'd corresponded briefly some years ago and I only recently jumped back into the blogosphere - but had forgotten the name of your blog. I'm using my middle name in my blog, but you may remember recommending an excellent New York songs CD to me.

I named Bleecker for Bleecker Street; loved the old Simon & Garfunkel song with about it and headed straight there my first visit to NY. The spelling was tricky even for my sister, who sent him Christmas presents! I appreciated Bleecker's vet for spelling his name correctly on all his records, and the private cremation company spelled it correctly on his urn. I remember you are a cat person, too, so you must fully understand how much I could, and did, and still do, love that special cat.

Great reading your amazing blog again.

sharryb said...

Hi Lydia,
What a touching story about Shiva and Ali. There is nothing like a sweet little kitty to lighten the blues, even when they are serious.

Looking forward to getting to know you better through your blog.


I'm curious about where you live. I'm down in Ashland (OR).

Kathe W. said...

noodling around your blog today and discovered the two linked blogs. Lovely- I can never ever be without a cat...and bless you for being such a good neighbor. I sure hope the mother and daughters have found peace .



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