Thanksgiving always reminds me of times when gratitude was lacking and how sometimes the universe shows up with a funny situation that shocks you out of sadness.
A few years ago I had just turned 50 and I went through a long dark patch. I could call it a dark night of the soul, but really it was an entire season. Even my SAD light was depressed. A lot had happened at once. My kids had left home. My marriage had ended. In the middle of this dilemma, the kicker was my dog had to be put down. I was left with two skittish cats who bolted if I made eye contact.
The only place I could keep it together was at work. I had to travel from hamlet to suburb being funny, and I realized I could turn on the charm for about as long as it took for the audience to clap and for me to collect the cheque and get to the car. But by the time I turned on the ignition, I'd be bawling again. I used to wonder why they didn't put windshield wipers on our eye balls. All I could think is, "Oh great, I am a depressed motivational speaker." That's a money maker.
(Now if you want to see me tell you what happened to me, watch herehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2ZG6IeAlq0
During this time friends showed up to help me. But nothing, I mean nothing would make it stop.
This went on for months. One night I heard something banging on the door. I thought it was the cat that usually knocks on the door, but when I looked down it was standing right beside me. So I went outside and snuck around to the garage and when I looked in, I spied a grey ball of fur with a pink thing on its head. As I drew closer, I saw it had an empty cat food can stuck on its head. A wild cat had gotten into the garage and got its head stuck in a pink can of Mr. Whiskas, and it was freaking out. So I took a broom and tried to knock the can off, but it didn't help.
Then I called my son in Toronto and said, "I've a feral cat in my garage with a can on its head."
"Have you been drinking?" they asked. "No, there is a cat with a can on its head and it's going to die." "So what? It's a feral cat!" Amherst Island is crawling with them.
I tried to knock it off with a broom. The cat was now on the walls of the garage. I tried everything until I concluded I would have to let it die.
Which infuriated me. After all I had just had a marriage die, a dog die. And I stood in the garage yelling that I had never wanted to be Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. I am not a character on "Little House on The Prairie."
I was fifty, and alone, and oh, sure, I was older and wiser, but wisdom isn't honored in this society. There is no TV show called "Canada's Next Top Crone." And another thing, I railed at was I didn't want to wear a red hat or go on a bus trip.
That night I had a fitful sleep and the next morning, I got up and got the shovel to bury the dang dead cat I knew it would be waiting for me out in that garage. But when I opened the door there it was. Sitting there without a can on its head. Alive.
I've never been so happy to see something alive -- I looked at the cat and suddenly had an epiphany. I thought, Life is like this. Sometimes we get a pink cat food can stuck on our heads and we run around trying to get it off with a broom, and people give us advice, but if we just relax, it's all going to be okay.
Would you like to see Deborah tell this story on You Tube?: I have a 6 minute.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2ZG6IeAlq0