Over the past 15 years, my cat, Marvin and I have had a few conversations that have changed my life. Yes, I believe in kooky California crap like animal communication.
Throughout his life, Marvin has talked to a pet psychic named Sonya. She tunes in remotely while looking at a picture of Marvin, and allows us both to chat about things like food preferences, and negotiate places other than furniture for Marvin to scratch.
Once Sonya started a session while Marvin was sleeping, and he responded, “This is my naptime, but it’s ok.” He went on to address my obsessive mind by saying, “Tell Adele to stop worrying so much. She gets up in her head and it’s dizzying for me. She starts spinning around and it drives me crazy. Tell her to catch the thoughts that aren’t healthy…and live more in her feet like a cat.”
Marvin is quite cuddly with me, and I often apologize when he isn’t interested in other people petting him. When I asked why he occasionally hisses when people approach him, he responded, ”I’m not as social as Adele. I prefer to keep people at a distance. I’m a one person guy. I don’t care if people think I’m cute. I’m not a toy. Adele needs to be less concerned about what people think.”
Apparently Marvin finds his moody mother “entertaining”… “She’s very sensitive and it’s fun seeing her get so spirited. I’m pretty even tempered and not prone to extremes,” said Marvin. (Clearly my son doesn’t share his mother’s Sicilian DNA).
Once, I shared with Sonya that I feel guilty about eating meat (since I love other animals, not just cats). I told her I’ve wondered if karma might have me come back as livestock. Marvin nipped the topic short by saying, “She’s not allowed to worry about what happens next lifetime.”
Before I met my husband Chris, Marvin suggested, “She needs someone who can stay grounded and calm when she’s upset. I’d like to see her with someone mature. The last guy wasn’t right for her at all.”
When Marvin met Chris, he admitted to being a little “jealous” since prior to this new potential parent, Marvin explained that he and I were “partners.” Now all of the sudden, he complained, “it’s all about them.”
“I don’t want to feel second,” he shared in a more vulnerable moment.
Despite feeling territorial at first, Marvin soon warmed up to other man of the house and admitted, “Chris is caring and considerate. Definitely the best guy for her.”
Before being bicoastal, I worried about how the distance would affect my family. Marvin kept encouraging me to be brave and embrace the opportunities in NYC.
“As she grows, it helps the family grow. Tell her she’s got to do this. We’re always connected no matter where she is. She’s following her path and she’s on track. I’d never ask her to give up something so important to her. She always comes home, and Chris takes good care of me when she’s away. I’ll be fine. Tell her to remove the worry element and things would be perfect.”
OK, I admit, this kitty communication stuff may be a convenient way to assuage guilt. Still, I always feel better about myself after talking to Marvin.
Last month, we discovered Marvin has an aggressive form of Lymphoma. The news coincided with the 20-year anniversary of my father’s death. Needless to say, I was a very “spirited” mess.
When I talked to Marvin, he encouraged me to have a positive perspective. He told me to focus on the LIFE we shared…and to be “right here, right now.’” He said he wasn’t afraid of dying, and that we’ll always be connected.
“Please tell her to stop being so hard on herself. Love is a choice. I hope when she doesn’t have me to fuss over, she can start treating herself the way she’s treated me.”
Most of my life, I’ve believed I had to prove my love through pain and suffering. For years after my Dad died I made myself miserable, as any good devoted daughter would do. I cried at restaurants, wept on freeways, raged in therapy…hoping Dad could hear how much he still meant to me.
After a major meltdown following Marvin’s diagnosis, Marvin said to Sonya, “Great love doesn’t have to have great pain.” He said he’s “not into drama,” and wants me to allow “happiness” into my body.
Deep breath… So in an attempt to honor Marvin’s wishes and wisdom, for the first time in 20 years, on the anniversary of my Dad’s death, I went out and celebrated his LIFE over a great Italian meal with my brother and sister in law.
For the first time ever, I had fun rather than focusing on the loss. I believe even my dramatic dad would want me to eventually rewrite the Romeo and Juliet story, and lighten up a little.
Sometimes I’ve ended our sessions with Sonya in tears, while expressing my appreciation and love for Marvin. He once called me “pretty gushy.” Then he said, “We adore each other and always have. We’re a good team. There’s no room for regret. Thank her for me too.”
The coming weeks will be tough, but I’m taking Marvin’s message seriously…as I’ll do my best to take life (and even death) a little less seriously.
“Humans often connect happiness to how they perceive things in their mind, rather than what they feel in their heart. Let go of control and notions of what’s good or bad.” – Marvin