“It’s OK, Momma. I’m right here.”

Olive (the cat who is nothing like a cat) became extremely connected to me during my pregnancy with Norah. She was the first pet Norah was introduced to when we arrived home from the hospital. Norah and Olive were infatuated with each other from day one.

Olive often laid near Norah, as if to keep watch. I looked forward to the toddler+feline shenanigans that would occur… that should be occurring now.

After Norah died, Olive, who never leaves my side (she even sits in the shower with me!), avoided me for two weeks. She would run when I approached her or leave a room when I entered. I’d often find her hiding, for hours at a time, under Norah’s crib (where she had never gone before because we didn’t allow her in the nursery). While hiding is very “cat-like” it’s not at all something that Olive has ever done. She’s a social cat; always out and about, running to the door when the doorbell rings.

Over the last several months, we’ve noticed that sometimes Olive seems to contain Norah’s spirit. She will often curl up with her paw on her face, the same way Norah loved to sleep. She will occasionally approach me with a deep, loving stare, and rub her paw on my cheek. Those times are always so incredible.

This week has been one of my toughest, thus far – an earthquake-like transition, a tornado of emotions, a very painful and difficult time.

I’m trying to get to know the stranger living inside of me; trying to be patient and accepting of my new self; trying to learn to like someone within, that I don’t actually care for and don’t understand, but can never escape.

It’s a frightening and lonely journey; it goes so much deeper than death. It’s indescribable, really. There are no breaks from this. It doesn’t leave my mind or my heart. It feels as though I’ll never breath the same air again.

Yet during all of this, when she should sense the pain and perhaps want to hide again, this cat has been totally in tune to my needs. Always “checking” on me. Always following me when I’m here alone, and laying in the doorway of my office/Norah’s nursery, as if to keep watch over me now. Tonight was simply a quiet cuddle, as she fell fast asleep with her paw on my hand, as if to say words that have been presented to me before during meditation and in my dreams, “It’s OK Momma. I’m right here.”

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