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Sunny was such an endearing and trusting soul who made loving easy. And loving has never been something that came easy for me. It always felt scary, and I was always looking for the danger signs that would show me (usually too late) that the person I’d chosen to love not only didn’t love me back but also wanted to hurt me. This was one of the first things I ever learned, beginning with my parents, and has unfortunately been – with very few exceptions – the rule. So yeah, I have trust issues.

Sunny had no such issues. He was born almost straight into my hands sometime between 10.00-11.00 on the morning of August 5, 1993. Well, I gave Lua about an hour to get the newborns cleaned up and fed, then I moved them to a clean duvet and commenced cuddling kittens. So I know that from Sunny’s first hour he felt he was safe and loved. Since I couldn’t tell the kittens apart at first I put Sunny’s birthtime at 10.30 – halfway through the whole birthing process – and curiously, that was also the time that he died.  At 10.30 last Wednesday he took his last breath. So I was there with him at his birth and also at his death – and during the sixteen years, three months and twelve days in between I did everything I could to make sure he always felt safe and well-loved. And a magical thing happened. I discovered for the first time in my life that I was actually capable of giving that sort of flat-out, no holds barred unconditional love that I’d only ever heard tell of. And it felt good, like I was being the person I had always wanted to be. Someone with a fearless heart.

And I owe all that to Sunny. He brought out the best in me just by being himself. Because of him I discovered all the love that had been trapped deep inside me and, because of his absolute trust in me, he made it feel safe to love him back. And that love was eventually extended to my other two cats … and the occasional human. Because of Sunny I had finally learned how to love.

I made Sunny a promise as he lay dying in my arms – that I wouldn’t let all that love die. That I would never “let him go” and that I would keep trying to pass on some of the love & trust he so willingly gave to me. Because as long as I can still be the person who loves Sunny, I know that this is someone I can feel proud of being.

Luckily Sunny’s little protégé is still here to help me…