Offering Hope and Encouragement in the Midst of Sorrow

                          A Meltdown of Tigerific Force


Jenny’s 8th birthday was rapidly approaching. Her mom was having a difficult time thinking of a special gift for her. One day while driving past a pet store, the thought occurred to Jenny’s mom that a kitten might be just the thing to nestle in the empty void that was left in Jenny’s tender heart after the death of her daddy.  
Kittens are like zucchini! During the summer months you can’t find enough consumers to equal the population of zucchini. It’s either feast or famine when it comes to zucchini. Kittens are much the same. We are forever turning down offers of black, yellow, and grey felines. However, if you’ve ever decided that your child actually needs a kitten, you may have to search high and low to find one of the small cuddly balls of fur.


As in many situations in our life when we are left wondering how to deliver either good or bad news, Jenny’s mom sought help from Hallmark.  Right there in the middle of the card rack was the cheerfully colored answer to her dilemma! “Congratulations on Your New Kitten,” the card said!


Jenny opened a few small gifts before being given the card. It did not take long for her to figure out that the card was an announcement of future happiness in the fuzziest of forms. Tears welled up in her eyes and she began to cry tears of joy. Visions of kittens danced in her head. It was the best gift she could have ever imagined.
There were important issues to discuss. Decisions needed to be made regarding the specifics of such a delightful gift. The family already owned a grey cat and a black dog. It was decided that the search would begin for a yellow tabby which would, of course, be named Tiger. A pet shop, conveniently located on the route home, had two grey striped kittens, but the decision was made to wait for a yellow Tiger. Jenny’s mom was dismayed to find her young daughter crying one afternoon. “They are tears of happiness,” Jenny said as she explained the anticipation of such a wonderful gift brought the tears to her eyes.


One day Jenny wanted to be reminded of the reality of her much anticipated feline fancy, and asked her mom if they could stop and look at the two grey striped kittens at the pet store. Upon inquiring about the two kittens the sales clerk told the young girl that both kittens had been sold, but another cat had just come in and they were welcome to take a look at it.  The sales clerk said it wasn’t a grey striped pussy, but an ordinary yellow tabby. Jenny’s pleading eyes focused on her mother as she reminded her mom that the yellow tabby was just what she had been waiting for. The tiny yellow Tiger cuddled up in her arms and the hole in Jenny’s heart was warmed by fuzzy yellow fur. 


 The tiny yellow Tiger quickly wormed its way into everyone’s heart. Tiger was blessed with a wonderful personality and was every family’s dream of a perfectly behaved house cat.


One night a week after Tiger was welcomed into the family, Jenny crawled into bed and awaited her mom’s goodnight kisses. The warmth of the kisses and the sweetness of the goodnight prayer left both mom and daughter in a peaceful place. As Jenny’s mom placed the final goodnight kiss on her young daughter’s forehead and stepped back from Jenny’s bed, the horrifying sensation of a small yellow frame being crushed under foot became reality. Attempting to move quickly off the fragile little feline, Jenny’s mom maneuvered her feet in a swift fashion, only to land a second time on the unpredictably moving object. With swift movement Jenny’s mom swooped up the injured animal and ran towards the laundry room to evaluate the seriousness of the tragic accident. It became quickly visible that the tiny lifeless body was going to quickly move from being a heart warmer to being a heart breaker.


That’s when it happened. Right there in front of the inquiring eyes of her children, Jenny’s mom had a meltdown. She stumbled upstairs to her son’s room, her sorrow pouring out, forcing her to mold her body to the wall for support. Her son responded without words, running out of the room to find the source of his mother’s anguish. With the sounds of Jenny’s mom’s meltdown, Jenny’s sobs were barely audible. Wrapped up in one another’s arms the family cried together.


As Jenny’s mom sat on my couch relating the sad story her heart ached for Jenny’s loss. She mentioned that it was only a cat, and in no way could be compared with the death of Jenny’s daddy, so why did she have a meltdown of such Tigerific force?