Sunday, November 28, 2010

Something a little new

Happy Sunday!
Hope everyone is enjoying a lovely weekend and for my American friends, a lovely Thanksgiving long weekend.  For today's post, I thought I would try something a little different.  I promised to have a holiday story to post on Thursday, December 23 and that's coming along nicely.  But, for today, I wanted to share with you a little story that has been in the writing process for over three years.  This is one of the stories that I have had stuffed on my bookshelf that has been calling to me to work on it and let it be read by others.  So, finally, one day last, I decided to try and finish it. You are the first ones to read my first story.  While it is one that could be read to children, I would suggest it would be best for those in the 8 to 10 year old range.  With proper explanations, it could be told to younger ones, but perhaps not under the age of 5.  Without further delay, let me take you into my first story, one that is very dear to me because it has been in the works for so long.

A Very Special Gift
by Rutheemac

You and I know that there are many things that happen that cannot be explained.  I am about to tell you a story that is just like that.  While the story cannot be explained by scientists, doctors or other specialists, it does not mean that the story is anything less than it is and what it is, is a story about how a little black kitten and her new owner became the best of friends.

Once upon a time, not so many years ago, there was a great flurry of activity in a part of Heaven that was devoted to the production of a variety of puppies and kittens that would be sent to good homes on earth.  In these new homes, the new puppy or kitten would be loved and taken care of by their new family or owner.

On this particular day, the angel known as Annie came running to her supervisor, another angel named Bethany.  "Oh Bethany, we have a problem, a slight shortage in supplies" cried out Annie,  Annie was known for getting overly excited and so Bethany stopped, and smiled at the anxious little angel.  Bethany had been an angel for hundreds of years.  That would be like counting all your fingers and toes, over and over, all day long and then through the night for all the days of the week and still not reaching the exact number of years.

"Annie, whatever is the matter?  I am sure we can solve your problem" was Bethany's reply.  "Oh Bethany, we have a shortage of black fur and are short one hind paw, yet we need to make up a black kitten to fill today's stock orders" Annie said breathlessly.  "Well, I think the solution to that would be to make a very special kitten, one that will require a very special home" Bethany said thoughtfully.  She then gave Annie some very specific instructions and sent her back to the workroom to take care of this order herself.

Back in the workroom, Annie pulled a little roll of black fur off of the shelf and stroked it gently as she hoped the special human owner would do.  She gathered up all the other components needed to make this little kitten, a very special little kitten.  Filling up her basket with three tiny paws, two chocolaty brown eyes, that could magically turn bright green, two little ears, whiskers, along with all the other bits and pieces, Annie sat down on her stool, sewing basket by her feet and made an adorable little kitten, one with only three paws, but admittedly, the loveliest little kitten that Annie had ever made.

Bethany checked in a while later to see how Annie was progressing with her special project.  When she saw what Annie had put together, she was truly pleased.  "Annie, you have done a wonderful job" exclaimed Bethany.  "This little black kitten is just perfect."  "But Bethany, I could not make a complete right hind leg and had to finish off right at the joint where the hind paw would have been attached" Annie said sadly.  Bethany gently brushed the tears from Annie's eyes.  The tears dropped ever so softly onto the little black kitten who then started purring, ever so quietly.  Bethany smiled.  "Your tears and compassion for this little creature have brought her to life.  She is no less perfect than all the other kittens you make every day, but then in other ways, this little furry one is more special and I have found just the perfect home for her."  Annie smiled and felt much better and handed the littlest kitten that she had ever made over to her supervisor after she had cuddled it one last time.

Bethany scooped the little kitten up in her arms.  This truly was an adorable little kitten.  The wee furry creature looked up at Bethany and patted her cheek with a tiny paw.  "Not to worry my little friend, I have found a perfect home for you.  You will be very happy there and the person who takes care of you will love you with all her heart."  The kitten responded with a lovely little purr.

Bethany went into her office and reviewed the prospective owner's file.   The new owner's name was Jeanne, a single lady who worked at various jobs and lived in a tiny flat.  Jeanne had been very ill when she was a child and as a result had a lot of problems moving her joints, especially in her legs.  But, after a long stay in the hospital and a lot of care, she was able to carry on with her life and worked hard to support herself.  While her flat was small and plain, it was noted on her file that she was very much in need of a kitten, one who she could love with all her heart.  A heart full of love was ever so much more important than a large flat Bethany thought.  "Yes, this is the perfect home for a special little kitten."

Later in the day, there was a knock on Jeanne's door.  She hurried to open it and found a special delivery person standing there smiling.  "Delivery for you miss, no signature required."  After saying this, he handed over a small wicker basket that had a large red bow tied to its handle.  Jeanne was startled.  "But, I have not ordered anything and it is not my birthday or any other special day."  The delivery person smiled, "Every day is a special day miss.  Maybe today is even more special than you ever thought it might be."  And with that, the delivery person skipped down the stairs whistling.  This was not just any delivery person.  This one had wings embroidered on the shoulders of his blue uniform.  Golden wings indicating that he was a special delivery angel from Heaven.

Jeanne carried the basket carefully into her tiny front room and placed it down on a table.  Sitting down in the chair beside the table, Jeanne gently removed the red bow from the basket and set it aside.  Opening the lid of the basket, up popped the head of the tiny black kitten.  "Oh my" breathed Jeanne, "you are so sweet."  She ever so gently picked up the little kitten and cuddled her wondering who would ever send her such a lovely surprise.  She looked carefully through the basket and the note she found had one simple little message.  "Love me with all your heart."  Tears filled Jeanne's eyes and the tiny kitten reached up to pat her cheek.  "I will love you forever little one, do not ever worry about that my little sweetheart."  Forever sounds like a very long time.  It can be for many days, many years or many decades.  But, forever is never long enough when it comes to loving someone or something as wonderful as a little black kitten from Heaven.

What to name this little furry bundle who was now tentatively exploring the flat.  The little kitten crawled awkwardly around and it was then that Jeanne noticed the missing hind paw.  "Oh sweetheart, what has happened to you?  Never mind, I will take care of you and we will be very happy together."  Thinking carefully about kitten names, Jeanne thought of one in particular that she liked.  "Minou, that is what I will name you.  Minou suits you perfectly, it sounds like such a sweet name for a very sweet little kitten."  And with that, the little kitten curled up for a nap in Jeanne's lap.

Bethany and Annie, along with the delivery angel were watching all this from high above, in Heaven.  "Well done Mathias" said Bethany.  "Another delivery handled very nicely indeed."  Mathias smiled, this job was one that brought him much joy.  He had other delivery jobs that were not so pleasant, but he did not want to think about those now.

Jeanne and Minou lived a wonderful life together.  Both loved the other so very much and as the years went by, their love and understanding of each other was such that no words needed to be spoken by Jeanne for Minou to know how much she was loved.  Love was in every brush stroke of the black fur, every bowl of special food put out for her and in every cuddle she received from Jeanne.  Love filled the little flat and Jeanne, along with Minou, felt very blessed.

As Jeanne got older, she moved more slowly, her joints giving her a lot of pain.  Minou would see this and cuddle up to her human on the bed and purr gently into Jeanne's ear and Jeanne, hearing this musical, soothing sound would drift off to sleep quickly.  Waking up later, she would find her best friend, Minou, laying beside her, watching carefully for the moment Jeanne would open her eyes and smile at her little furry friend.  Every day started with a smile and a cuddle.  Then, on to the kitchen to get Minou her breakfast and always a few little treats in a special bowl, a blue and white one that was only used to hold treats.

The years continued to go by and Jeanne and Minou both noticed that the other was not well.  Minou had a lot of tummy aches and was frequently ill.  Jeanne was in so much pain that she was barely able to walk and had to get special devices to help her move around the flat or to leave it to go to work or do the shopping for food for the two of them.  Minou worried about Jeanne.  She knew her human could not go on like this much longer.  And not too long after this, Jeanne could no longer work and had to spend a lot of time at home resting.  Minou, being very wise, knew that for Jeanne not to go to work each day meant that she really was not well.  At the same time, Jeanne saw that Minou was not as active as she had been and slept a lot more than she usually did.  Plus, Minou's tummy aches were more frequent and she often had difficulty eating her meals.

Jeanne telephoned Minou's doctor and made an appointment to bring her in and have her regular check up by the kindly veterinarian.  The day of the appointment came and Minou curled herself into Jeanne's arms as they waited for Dr. Brown to come into the examination room.  When he did, he smiled.  Here was an older woman cuddling a very furry black cat who was looking up into the woman's eyes ever so lovingly.  "Well, it is so nice to see an owner and their pet so comfortable with each other.  You two have been together for a long time, over twelve years" commented Dr. Brown.  Jeanne smiled nervously, "I am a bit worried about Minou.  Her tummy aches are more frequent and she does sleep a lot more, actually, we both do.  I am no longer able to work because of my health, so the two of us spend a lot of time together resting."  Dr. Brown made a note of this on his cart and said "Well, let me take a look at this young lady and see if we can find out what is bothering her."  Dr. Brown gently touched Minou's joints, looked in her ears and mouth, listened to her heart and then started probing at her tummy.  Minou sat very still through all this with Jeanne's hands holding on to her at all times and talking to her little friend to make sure that she would not become overly upset.

Dr. Brown finished his examination and sat on a nearby stool.  "Jeanne, I am so sorry, Minou has a growth in her tummy, some type of lump about the size of a spool of thread."  Jeanne blinked back the tears.  "How serious is it?" she asked quietly.  "I would think that you and Minou should have a year or so together yet" was his response.  "I will have you bring Minou back in two months and we can see if the growth has gotten any larger."  Jeanne agreed and a note was made on Minou's file to make an appointment for that time.

Looking down from Heaven, Bethany, Annie and Mathias watched what was happening.  They had checked in over the years and had watched while Jeanne and Minou played little games together.  They had smiled when they looked down and saw human and kitten sleeping, curled up together.  Now, what they saw concerned them.  Bethany was the first to speak.  "I will check with Admissions to see if they have a date set for Minou's return.  Mathias, I will let you know when you will have to go and bring Minou back to Heaven"  Mathias sighed.  This was the most difficult part of his job.  Annie had tears in her eyes.  "Is there anything I can do to help?" she asked quietly.  "I feel so badly for Jeanne and Minou.  Jeanne will be lost without her little friend."  Bethany thought quietly for a few moments. "No, Annie, we will have to wait and see what is to happen.  Then we may have a thought on how best to help Jeanne."

Time seemed to go quickly and yet slowly.  Jeanne and Minou spent every moment together, each letting the other know how much they were loved.  On good days, the two of them would play their little games together, just as they had always played them over the years.  But, now, they both knew that they may not have as much time left to be together as they each wanted.  You can never have enough time to be with the one that you love, whether they are human or a creature of nature.  All are loved in the same way by those living above, in Heaven. 

Just before it was time for Minou to go back for her appointment with Dr. Brown, Jeanne noticed that Minou had not touched her food or had been to her water bowl to drink.  The little treats had been left untouched in the little blue and white dish.  Jeanne was very worried.  She knew how important it was for Minou to eat, but even more so to drink.  "Minou, sweetheart, try to drink a little bit of water, please" Jeanne begged her.  Little Minou just laid on the bed that she had slept in with Jeanne for years and looked back at her human sadly.  Jeanne sat by Minou all that day, watching anxiously.  She knew her little friend, the one friend who she had truly loved for so many years was slipping away from her.  Jeanne sat up all that night, talking to Minou, telling her how much she loved her just as she had always done every day for over twelve years.  Above, the three angels watched anxiously.  Bethany, Annie and Mathias knew what was to happen over the next twenty-four hours and they worried not only about Minou, but also about Jeanne.  Jeanne, herself was very fragile.  She had lost a great amount of weight and looked very ill.  This was a very sad time.  Through the night the three angels watched and listened as Jeanne prayed for help and talked to her little kitten. 

Even though it is generally true that any cat older than the twelve months that make up a year is no longer called a kitten, Jeanne still thought of Minou as a kitten, her little kitten that had arrived to brighten her life so long ago.  This is just the same way mommies and daddies think of their grown children, even though the children are now mommies and daddies themselves.  No matter how old you are, in your parents' eyes, you will always be their little son or daughter, the little one who came to them so many years before to make their family complete. 

And so, now through the night, Jeanne knew what was going to happen.  The angels watched lovingly as Jeanne told Minou that she was very ill and that when a kitten or puppy is very ill, an angel will come to take them home to Heaven.  Minou listened and tears fell from her eyes.  She too knew that very soon an angel would come for her.  Jeanne explained how Minou would no longer feel ill when she went back to her first home.  Her little tummy would no longer hurt, she would be able to run and play again.  But, Minou worried about who would take care of her Jeanne.  Jeanne sensed this and assured Minou that she should not worry about this, that she, Jeanne, would be very sad, but that one day the two of them would be together again.

The morning came and Jeanne called Dr. Brown's office and talked to his assistant, telling her how ill Minou had become and that she thought that maybe she should bring Minou in to see her doctor.  Very soon, Jeanne and Minou made their way to Dr. Brown's office.  He was waiting for them and quietly escorted them to the examination room.  Jeanne explained what was happening, tears running quietly down her cheeks while her little Minou girl curled up in her arms.  Dr. Brown looked very sad.  He knew that Minou had very little time left to be with Jeanne and after checking her all over, gently probing her tummy, he knew that he could not help with any medicine.  He brought a blanket into the room and placed it on the metal examination table to make Minou more comfortable.  Jeanne gently placed her friend on the blanket and sat beside her reassuring Minou that she should not worry about her human. 

Far above, in Heaven, Bethany, Annie and Mathias watched silently, all with tears in their eyes.  Bethany looked over to Mathias and nodded her head.  Mathias knew what his task was without being told.  Just as Santa can slip into your house and leave presents without being seen, Mathias could enter a room and bring the soul, the very essence of a creature whether they be human, kitten, or puppy, back to Heaven.  And even though the body of the creature was still on earth, their soul would be back in the place from where they had come.  Their earthly body remained on earth, but back in Heaven, they were complete again just as they had been, a beautiful, loving creation that no longer felt any pain and was no longer sick.  Here they would wait patiently for their human to join them when their time came to return from where they had started their journey through life.

Mathias stood by quietly as Jeanne kissed the top of Minou's little head and stroked her soft black fur.  Minou opened her beautiful chocolaty brown eyes one last time to look lovingly at Jeanne and saw Mathias waiting for her.  With one last glance at Jeanne, and sighing with that wonderfully magical purr, Minou closed her eyes and her little heart stopped beating.  Dr. Brown could see that his little patient was no longer a part of this world.  He nodded at Jeanne and quietly left the room to give her some time alone with her little one.  Jeanne felt the hot tears run down her cheeks, landing on the silky fur of what had been her best friend for so many years.  She continued to talk to Minou, knowing that her soul could hear Jeanne's heartfelt words.  Words that told her again and again how much she was loved, how much better she had made Jeanne's life.  Mathias too, had tears running down his cheeks.  He knew that he had to take Minou back to her Heavenly home, but he felt Jeanne's grief as if it was his own.  Gently he stroked some tears from the woman's face and whispered in her ear, "Be strong, have faith, the two of you will be together again one day."  And with that he gently guided Minou's soul back to Heaven.

It has been just about two years since all this happened.  Minou romps happily through Heaven and stops every so often to gaze down at her beloved Jeanne.  She hears Jeanne talk to her as if she were still with Jeanne in the tiny flat they shared for so many years.  And, while Jeanne's heart is still very sad, she continues on, waiting for her day to join her little Minou girl.  Both know that this will happen because they have faith in what they believe and their faith makes them strong. 

This is not a sad story, even though two friends have been separated.  This is a story of hope, faith and knowledge that the two will be together again. This time when Jeanne and Minou are together, it will be for eternity and eternity is a very long time.  A time that has no end, a time that you cannot count on your fingers and toes.  This is a time that both Jeanne and Minou look forward to, but neither one knows when that time will be.  In the meanwhile, Jeanne carries on, reading books, painting pictures and loving Minou.  Jeanne's memories of her furry little friend comfort her and she knows that her little Minou girl is happy, free of pain and well cared for in her Heavenly home.  How does she know this?  Mathias took a moment to whisper this in Jeanne's ear before he left with Minou that day.  And although Jeanne cannot quite put into words what was said, she knows in her heart that it is true.  Deep in her heart, Jeanne can still feel Minou's love and as she drifts off to sleep each night, Jeanne hears Minou's wonderfully musical purr coming to her all the way from Heaven.  This is how Bethany, Annie and Mathias decided to help Jeanne and this gift is one that she cherishes, one that comforts her and reminds her that one day an angel will come to escort her soul home to Heaven, the place from which we all began our journies.

I hope you enjoyed this story!  Please take a moment to click on "comments" at the end of this post and let me know your opinion.  This was a very different journey that I took this week.  It was not an easy story to put into words, I hope you can feel that in your hearts.  The truth is, that if you do feel it in your heart, you know that while life can be bittersweet, you also realize that in order for you to enjoy life, that there has to be moments of sadness, sometimes intense sadness, in order for you to truly appreciate the happy times.  There is no shame in shedding tears when you are sad, but not to shed those tears would be wrong and deny yourself the opportunity to grow with each event that you encounter in life, be it happy or sad.

This story and artwork that accompanies it has been created by myself, Rutheemac.  No part of the story or any of the artwork will be allowed to be shown on other sites without prior consent and full credit given to me as the author and artist. 

**Pictures will be added to the side panel thoughout today, Sunday, November 28.  Hopefully, by Monday evening, all thirteen illustrations will be completed.  These couldn't be completed ahead of time as the story was not fully developed until early Saturday morning.  And even then, it changed a little as it was keyed into the computer.

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