Updated: Apr 12
Isaias read me a story this afternoon:
All the little cat spirits were crossing the Rainbow Bridge when one of them looked back and saw some cats' souls lying on the other side of the bridge, not moving.
“Who are they?” he asked the cat next to him.
“Oh, don’t you know, they are the souls who had no owner in life and knew no love like we did."
“So what are they lying there for?” he asked “Why don’t they cross over like us?”
“They can’t.” replied his new friend “Only pets with owners can cross."
Just then all the souls on the other side of the bridge sat up and looked down the road.
"What’s happening?" asked the little cat.
“Watch!” replied his friend.
Whereupon a woman was seen walking towards the bridge. She looked to her left and then to her right, then opened her arms wide, and all the patiently waiting souls got up and went to her.
She knelt and touched each and every spirit in turn.
They then all proceeded to cross the bridge together.
“Who is that?” he asked his friend.
“That is someone special.” replied his friend “She is a rescuer."
– Author unknown
Isaias was crying as he read it, and I knew he was thinking of our little Jasper. Although I found the story a bit overly sentimental, I started crying too because it just made me miss my little guy.
Those of you who followed me on Facebook are probably familiar with Jasper's story, but for those of you who aren't, Jasper was a very sick cat that came into our yard. We fed him and gave him water.
He was such a frightened, weary cat. It took a bit of time for us to get him to trust us enough to be able to capture him and bring him in the house.
He was in terrible shape.
At the time, I wrote:
Jasper is sleeping soundly. We have an appointment with the vet tomorrow. I expect he'll have to be neutered and will need some shots. He has diarrhea, but he seems to have been a housecat at one time because he recogizes the kitty water fountain and knows to use the litter box (although he keeps messing on himself and is embarrassed about it). He smells and his fur is matted, and he needs a bath and haircut. He seems exhausted. He still gets scared, but also seems like he feels safe.
When he was outside, he was surrounded by flies. He drools when he eats. He is malnourished and seems to be in pain. I imagine he will have some health hardships to overcome.
I look at this photo of Jasper sleeping, and I think, "Who will take care of this lost, downtrodden, poor cat if we don't?" Others might just think of him as a nuisance or think he is too far gone to save. He's just a cat, they might think.
But his life is precious. He shouldn't be forgotten or ignored. Someone needs to care enough to try and help him.
And then that makes me think of all the "forgotten," "lost," "ignored" souls we may come across each day of our lives; people screaming silently for someone to acknowledge them and their pain; to care about and to care for them; to let them know that they do, indeed, matter.
We can't save everyone. We can't help everyone. But we have the power, in big ways and small, to help someone, to lift someone, to love someone. Tonight, for us, that someone is Jasper.
During this pandemic, I have seen such selflessness and such selfishness. We each have the power to decide what kind of life we want to lead—whether we will lift or whether we will debase; whether we will heal or whether we will harm; whether we will care for others or whether we will only care about ourselves; whether we will try to help a soul in need or whether we will just walk on by. The choice is ours.
Isaias and I are far from perfect. We're no saints. But we try to help others—whether they be animal or human—when we can. A little cat like Jasper reminds me of my own humanity. I hope we're able to help this little guy.
And take care of him we did. He grew to trust us and to love us, and we grew to love him...so, so much.
Jasper came to us at a time when our grief for the passing of Isaias' mother was immensely deep. He gave us purpose during what felt like a bleak time. He gave us a reason to hope again.
He required a great deal of attention and care. He was a lot of work and sent us through a roller coaster of emotions as his health bounced between dire and stable.
He was only with us for about five and half months, but his imprint on our hearts has been indelible. We miss him terribly.
I have been thinking about him all day and have been poring over photos of better times.
But I think of our Grizzabella and our newest adoptee, Franki, both who are rescues.
Isaias and I will never have children of our own. These cats are our kids, and just like children, they give us challenges and so much joy.
We wish so much that Jasper were still with us, although if he were, it is unlikely we would have adopted Franki. At the time Jasper was alive, we had five cats to deal with, and that was too many. It got very stressful at times, especially with Jasper and Trooper's health issues.
Sometimes it feels like maybe Jasper and Trooper sent Franki to us. Franki seems to embody some of their qualities. But we sure miss our little angel boy.