Sleeping With God

"What do you think she is doing now?", she asked.
"Hmm..." I responded, but my mind was not in answering her question. "Maybe playing"

I glanced at her for a second, she was sitting straight. I can see that she is sleepy, but something is missing.

"Shouldn't she be sleeping?" she asked again.

I stopped typing and look at her. I know there are a lot of things she must have wanted to ask. She got me to answer her but even I can't satisfy her curiosity sometimes.

"Maybe" I smile, "You should be sleeping. You used to be sleeping at this hour"

"She used to be sleeping with me"

I know. "Well", I stroke her hair and run my finger through those fine strands "Angels don't need to sleep, as with God"

"That should be fun" Half of her thinks it's great, the other half, not so sure. She is a child after all. There are many things running in child's mind.

She turned around, and then laid down, trying to curl up into the night.

I didn't stop her. I just turned back to my computer and start typing again.

"Would sleeping with God the same like sleeping with you?"

There's no helping talking to curious kid.

I turned back at her, "Maybe. I have never been there before, but I think, you know, I have this feeling that it's a lot lot lot better"

"Like?" she pursued the lead

"Like it's warmer, and cozier" I tried my best, "And then there's no pain, there's no sickness, and you got to sleep any way you like, any time you like, anywhere you like"

"Like you won't get some sore neck when we slept all over you"

I laughed "Haha, yeah, sure. That too"

"Will there be many friends?" she asked again.

"As much as you like"

"That's not fair" she sort of protested. "I've only got her and she choose to be where she can have as much as she likes"

"Because she is special" I really am not sure. Part of me understands what is happening and the other part share her envy.

"What kind of special?"

"Well, she is younger than me, and she is smaller than me" I explained, "And yet she went through a lot more than we do. All of our suffering and trials combined would not take half of what she has to go through"

My little friend shrugs "To each their own"

"Still, in her short and painful life, she touches people around the world" I continued, "From here, this town, to other places in this country, to Australia, and America. To the land where God Saves The Queen, to Canada, and aaaalll the way up to Norway; she touched many with her life story and get them together in the name of love, compassion, sympathy, and faith"

Before my little friend replied, I finished taking my breath and continued, "If she had been a human, she'd be worthy of a Nobel Prize"

She looked at me. "Is that more important than a friend?"

Cheza turned around, looking out through the window. She didn't say anything.

Six hours prior, the empty space beside her was Hero. The one and only. She would go out for the litter box or a sip of water, but as soon as I opened the door, she will slip right in and back to the top of the bed for Hero. Eat with Hero, play with Hero, roll with Hero, snuggle with Hero, sleep with Hero. Harass Hero, slap Hero, got bitten by Hero, almost lost an eye because of Hero, fought Hero, love Hero.

Just like Cheza has her own luck, from hot pavement to warm tote bag to cool places and eat quiche at Starbucks, Hero has her own luck. She was ran over by car, her left leg crushed to pieces and had to be amputated. Her right knee was forced out of its kneecap and she was abandoned at the roadside for maggots, but she lives. A kind lady picked her up, fought for her life and then we met, and she lives. She was handled by the most senior veterinarian in the whole town, with millions of practicing hour and very many kind of mishap ever done to an animal, and she lives. Her right leg was amputated and she lives. She had to wait until the first surgery heals before the other leg can be fixed, she cannot wait. That leg gone really bad, and the guy at the other side think enough is enough, and she - I think - rather gladly accepted.

See? Hero is of different league.

I closed my laptop. I stood up, and hold her in my arms. "She went away, doesn't mean you are not important. I am sure she made a hard decision to go away. After all, she stayed here for so long while she can go two weeks ago; but her duty here is done. Her mission was accomplished, now she has to do bigger things and while she done so, she is waiting for us to catch up with her"

Cheza looked at me.

I look at her. "Be as strong as her, as enduring as her, as courageous as her" I said. "Nothing goes away until it teaches us what we need to know"

Cheza walked away from my arm and curl up at that spot, where was Hero.

She is too young to understand, maybe; though cats are known to be God that never forget that fact. She is three months old after all, like her BFF. And yet nothing has never shown me so very clearly what BFF can mean.

I sat there quietly, keep stroking her soft fine fur until she fell asleep; in peace.

Just like at the other side of horizon, her counterpart is now in peace.

~ Josie

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Two Battles, One War, One Little Hero

As I carried Donna to the crematorium, most of my conscious connection to the world had shut down. Withdrawal had been my self defense in the first place; my psyche chose it perfectly in line with my personality and disposition.

At such state, I can function normally, I can connect normally, I can interact normally, based on normal people's standard. I smile, I participate in community meetings, I laugh when someone made a joke, I gave perfect answer and respond courteously, I eat, I do laundry, I clean up, I go shopping and did not miscalculate a dime. I am not in pain.

But out of those all, the only connection that has blood and soul on it, is Donna. Donna's life, Donna's memories, Donna's antics, Donna and me.

We were lucky someone else died and were sent to be cremated at the same day, so Donna can go in immediately. I can collect her ashes Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, it's like being surrounded by everyone, as they wrote lines of sympathy and compassion that indeed, keep me alive. I feel their warmth, their arms, their tears, running for the same sorrow. I felt their efforts to ease the pain, to infuse some logic and strengthen the realization that I always knew: Donna had a great life.

I wouldn't trade those for a prolonged life when she would be reduced to nothing but a lump of corroding meat slowly dwindled to die for my own selfishness. Although Donna is 'my' cat, 'my family' and I would love her to live as long as I do, her life is not mine. Donna is an individual with her own timeline and if I love her, I'd think on her best interest. It's that art of crossing the "my", "me" and "mine" and underlining the "she", "her" and "hers"

However, by Saturday evening, even my thick bunker wall start to crumble. I was trying to reply all the messages and comments and emails, but while I intended to write one thing, I blink, and realize I wrote the other. As the night advances, it's completely gibberish. I wanted to wrote "Thank you for your compassion", my brain said so to my fingers, I blinked, and found out that I wrote "Thank you asdlfke nfaipsna"

I knew it then that I need to let go. I knew it then that I need to get away from it, take a deep breath, or fail.

So I made myself sleep. I made myself go away, I go out there and try to do something different. I know there are a lot of things I need to do. I know that if I don't write, people won't come, donation will drop. I need another USD 200 to get through the week and Hero still need her surgery paid.

I can go back there and use voice command, I can turn around, soldier on, keep fighting until it's over.

Really?

But then I put my cellphone down, close my laptop and walk away still.

I didn't do any weekend fundraiser. I didn't write, I lost potential donor, I am going to have USD 200 short for the next week.

I gave away two battles to win the war.

We're going to wait for this sleeping child to wake up, and then we're going back to the front line to fight for her life. That's the war.

Part of her leg that was too rotten to stay intact had been cut off. We're given the whole weekend to heal her watery and mushy skin and kill the inflammation so that she will have the best chance of surviving and grow up healthy and happy in her new home. That's the war.

I will need all my patience, my conscience, my instinct, my sanity, my "natural talent" to heal her and keep her alive post surgery. That's the war.

When she completely heals, we're going to need to find someone with enough expertise (if available) to get her some wheel so she can have her life back. That's another war. Wheels are expensive, those are beyond our means, which is, another war.

The road is long, our chances are slim, our chest is almost empty.
But she is my Hero. She fight like a champion, all by herself.

That's why I gave away two battles so I can win the war as her soldier.

~ Josie

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71 Years - Indonesia Independence Day

Per August 17, 2016, Indonesia would have been a free country for 71 years. For a country that has been slaves to the Dutch colonialists for three and a half centuries, then slaves to the Japanese imperialists for three and a half years that was worse than the previous three and a half centuries, and then was about to be made slaves to the Allied Forces (yes, including USA) at the end of the second World War, 71 years of freedom may mean very little.

Still, 71 years of independence is a worthy triumph.

Though skyscrapers and financial stability (even when the whole world went to recession) are the face of this country; in the throat and the gut of the nation, many still live in the dark, many still sick, many can't read.

Animals are at the bowel.

We have a long way to go. There are so very many issues that we need to address, and only one president.There are so very many things that are lacking, and yet there are only a few channel.

But the movement is there.

Throughout eight years of my service as animal rescue, I've seen a lot of people. Some tried little, some give a lot, some just keep their sympathy to themselves.

While there have been many years where people just don't know what to do when the female stray they have been looking after just keep producing cats, more learn of alternatives.

More vets learn the importance of spay and neutering, more are willing to suggest spay and neutering, more are gaining courage to dissuade wannabe breeders, more understand the importance of good food.

More youngsters follow their passion, while we do have very many who rescue just for the trend, some silently working underground. Maybe they can only save one, maybe they can help with some more.

In my community, it started with Maeve. The common story of a street cat mother who lost all her children by the harsh force of nature. Every one knows that story, and very many experience it themselves, when a stray cat they look after keep breeding to the point of human exhaustion and the nature balance tipped over.

Yesterday, it moves one step forward with one of the community leaders, whose wife and children love cats. She told me about the demise of her blind cat, and how they struggle to keep the other alive since they are running our of place and resources to keep everyone alive.

I told them about TNR, and how I managed to keep over a hundred of street cats alive. I told them about how many children were kept entertained by well managed community cats and at the same time learn how to treat animals.

They ask me about the price, I told them I will help. I frankly told them that with our donation drive struggling, I probably won't be able to help much this week, but I will figure it out.

Next week, all seven of the colony they have been taking care of will be fixed.

And then they won't have to fight about which one to be thrown away to other places because they can't afford anymore.

They promised to help me convince people within their authority to do the same.

I don't know how to fund it yet; animals are at the bowel of the nation, but like the whole eight years that has passed, and many more that will come, we will figure it out.

For animals, 71 years of independence means very little.

Therefore, one step forward is a worthy triumph.

One day, every street cat can be like Pascal.

~ Josie

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