It’s Week 4 of the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge, here’s our challenge for this week:
If you missed any of the other posts in the series, check them out here.
Week 4: A Family Member
I hope you all are enjoying my journey through 52 Weeks of Gratitude! I’ve loved writing a new post for you all each week, and reflecting on a new topic. This week, we are talking about a family member.
There are literally hundreds of family members to choose from in my family. I come from a large family, and one who is spread out all over the country. I thought hard about which family member to choose for this challenge, and truth be told, I couldn’t pick just one. Many of my family members have given me such great opportunities. One of my aunts helped me get my first job, my dad helped me furnish my first place, and even one of my grandmas helped me make probably the hardest cake I’ve ever made in my entire life (it was an inside out black forest cake by Martha Stewart, and it was delicious.)
So, my family member of choice is my family cat Sandy. I’m sure you probably had to reread that line, and most of my family members who read my blog are probably laughing at me and thinking of course she picked the cat. Trust me, this is by no means just the easy way out of this challenge. I had a good reason for picking her.
Since the day I was born, we have always had a cat. I was too young to remember our first cat, she died while I was still really young. However, I remember almost every little thing about our second cat. We got Sandy after my parents couldn’t take my sister writing letters to our dead cat any longer. We went to the pet store as a family to pick out a new kitten. We adopted a seal point Himalayan named Sandy, and our home felt complete again.
Sandy only ever let my mom and I pick her up, if my sister or dad tried, she would extend her paws to keep a great distance between them. I don’t know why Sandy even liked me, if I’m being totally honest. I used to carry her with two arms just above her belly, swinging her as I walked. It’s amazing she didn’t grow up to despise me.
We had Sandy almost my entire life. Until my freshman year of college, that is. In her old age, Sandy developed cancer. Despite the amount of pain she must have been in, Sandy wasn’t going down without a fight. She wasn’t ready to give up yet, and you could see it in her eyes. During Labor Day weekend, my sister and her husband came down to visit, and I came back from college for the long weekend. The entire family was under one roof again. When I left for college that Monday, I didn’t know that was going to be the last time I would see my cat again.
On my way to take one of my first math exams, my mom called me to tell me that Sandy has passed away in her arms that day. I was devastated. In all my 18 years up to this point, I hadn’t really dealt with many deaths in my life. My great grandma had passed away while I was in high school, but other than that I had never really lost anyone in my family that I was close to.
Sandy prepared me for what would come in my sophomore year of college. My mom would fall ill to cancer as well. It was a very different experience, but Sandy helped me understand that cancer was incurable, and that it had the capability to take lives despite the victim’s will to fight. I’m grateful for the time I got to spend with Sandy. She taught me so much about unconditional love and how to care for someone who is ill. I could have picked a number of family members for this challenge who I am forever grateful for, but as I’m writing this post, Sandy is who came to mind.