Mercury, who I considered to be my feline soulmate in many ways, was killed by a car right outside our house.
I didn’t want her to be an outdoor cat, even the part-time status she had, for that very reason. But Mercury had a free spirit and a mind of her own, and she demanded again and again to go outside after we moved to the new house.
We let her out to make her happy, first thinking we had the yard adequately blocked off so she would stay within our fences.
That turned out to be not the case, as she immediately figured out how to jump over it… but she adapted so well, and was so at peace when she was allowed outside, that we couldn’t say no — no matter how much I tried to.
It’s that age-old dilemma: do you try to protect what you love by keeping it close, possibly smothering it in the process… or do you let it be free, both to happily do what it loves, and to also possibly make mistakes?
Well, we also knew that with Konan on the way, it would never work to force Mercury to stay indoors. She would either demand more attention than we were able to give her with a new baby in the house, or be miserable, or both.
So we let her have her way.
And despite how it turned out, I know she appreciated it very much…
All summer long, I ate my breakfast outside on the deck. And every time, Mercury would come over to tell me how her day was going, and what kind of adventures she was having. She would jump in my lap, and rub her head and body all over me, leaving me covered with cat hair and a lot of love.
Just a week or so ago, we were smiling at her jumping around the front lawn hunting bugs. She was obviously so happy to have that freedom. Then she suddenly dashed across the road without looking, and my heart sank. Luckily there were no cars around, and we live on a rather quiet street, but I told Barry I didn’t like to see that sort of behavior.
It scared me… which I suppose was a premonition of sorts, but then we were unexpectedly swept into the job of bringing Konan into the world, and it wasn’t fair to treat Mercury in a way that she would see as a punishment.
I feel bad that when we brought Konan home, there were less than two days of Mercury’s life left, and I didn’t have time to spend it giving her as much attention as I would have liked to if I had known. But I feel happy that she was able to spend her final time enjoying the life that she insisted on having, outside and at one with nature.
And while I was in the hospital and Barry came home one evening to work, Mercury unexpectedly jumped into his lap and requested affection… something she had never done with him before. It was almost like she was saying goodbye, and planning to leave this world — and our lives — to make more room for Konan when he arrived in it.
She taught me that some connections are unexplainable without considering the metaphysical side of life. She taught me that love can be immensely disproportionate to its small package. And she taught me that perception is very powerful, as Barry and I often interpreted differently what she was trying to achieve.
She represented Barry standing up for me against my former husband, who hadn’t wanted to let me have Mercury. And she symbolized the two of us coming together — my old life in Toronto being brought into my new life in Oregon.
I smile when I remember the good times with Mercury, and I cry when I realize that there won’t be any more. I find joy in thinking about the goodness she brought us, and sadness in thinking that the journey we shared with her is now over.
I’ve only experienced the surreal qualities that Mercury possessed a few times, and each time the cat was only in my life for a short while. It’s almost like they came to accomplish a purpose, and then left.
Mercury was in it the longest of all of them, but not even a fraction as long as I had hoped she would be.
Still, part of me feels that in the grand scheme of things, she was here for exactly the right amount of time. She arrived precisely when she was meant to make an impact on me, and on Barry, and she left when her mission was complete.
In loving memory of Mercury, March 27, 2007 to October 24, 2008. You lived life large, even though it was short.
Rest in peace, my friend. I’ll always remember and appreciate your big loving heart, your free spirit, and the way you made me feel like the most special human alive.
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