Everyone knows how risky it is to love something. How many times have you fallen in love with a car, only to total it on the freeway or lose it in an ugly divorce?
We fall in love with everything from a pair of red 4” stilettos to our hairdresser. We grow attachments, easily sometimes, to favorite baseball gloves and easy chairs.
Inanimate objects are easier to love for their lack of personality. They can’t disappoint you like a kid who won’t pay attention in school and flunks out. They can’t tear your heart out like an angry ex-wife who doesn’t mind using your kids to get back at you for infidelity.
But people are the best to love. There’s so much more emotion involved—the thrills and chills of falling in love; the enormous adoration you feel for your first child. We humans enjoy our relationships, often even the ones that don’t work. We develop our lives around these people. We become changed as a result. What we are is transformed by the people and relationships in our lives...parents, children, favorite aunts, amazing lovers.
And anytime one of these relationships falls apart or fails, it’s usually painful. In the past, people have actually killed themselves over failed relationships. So it’s risky business to love someone. A great amount of grief and sorrow has been generated over the centuries from someone losing someone they loved deeply.
Yes, you take a risk each and every time you make that decision to love someone, to let them into your heart. Whether it’s a child or an adult, you take a calculated risk.
Why do it then? Because we’re all human and we need to give love and receive it. Often love disappoints. It frequently breaks your heart. But you still do it in spite of knowing this.
I loved a cat once named Fluffy. She was a black long-haired cat that had come to us in an unusual manner. At first I had little to do with the animal. It was the first cat I’d owned since being a child. My mother spurned all animals and thought they were too much trouble. So I guess I had unknowingly adopted her philosophy regarding pets.
But here comes this tiny bundle of black fur. I opened my heart to this little kitten. We fast became friends. Fluffy had the softest bed and the best food money could buy. I bought pink salmon for her. And tuna—not the store brand either. She got the best. She had a box full of toys. She went to the vet at 6 weeks old for her shots and was spayed the moment she was old enough. She was a lucky little kitty.
Then one night right at dusk, I let her outside. I was busy doing laundry and cleaning out the cabinets over the washer and dryer. You know how junky those cabinets can get. They’re a catch-all for everything you can’t find a good place for. I got totally involved in the project and wound up cleaning the entire utility room. God! Was it ever dirty!
When my husband came home from work, he ran into the house wide-eyed. “Where’s Fluffy?” he asked.
I didn’t like the anxious quiver in his voice. “I let her out earlier. I haven’t seen her in a couple of hours.”
“I think she’s been run over,” he said. Now his voice was shaking.
“Are you certain? I mean…”
“It’s her. I’m sure of it.”
“Maybe she’s still alive. We could take her to the vet.” I was beginning to be covered up with an awful sense of dread.
He shook his head and dropped his shoulders.
“What should we do?” I asked still stunned.
“I’ve got to go take care of her body.”
“Should we have a funeral?”
He just shook his head and went to the shed to get a shovel. I watched from the window as he scooped up her broken little body and took it out back where he buried her.
Later when he came back inside, I made coffee and we sat down in the living room both very quiet. Finally, I just started sobbing. He broke down too. We sat there for a good 10 minutes and squalled like babies. I couldn’t believe how attached we had allowed ourselves to get to that cat.
Afterwards, I told myself I’d never love another cat. They get killed too easily. Dogs don’t get run over that much. But cats are very difficult to see. And they’re always darting out. They have a bad habit of darting out at night in front of oncoming cars. I could never figure out why they do this. But they do. And they often get run over.
So just like that, I made the decision to never love another cat. They die too easily. After all, it would be stupid to make the same mistake again, wouldn’t it?
Next time, I’ll tell you about Seven. She’s a short-haired gray cat who loves to play hide n seek.