Diana Hemingway officially helped me to name my new cat “Little Cat” (LC) on the day of her passing. I was undecided about naming him and avoiding it, as he/I had brought about some relationship conflict (described below). Even after it was resolved, I kept calling him Little Cat because I couldn’t quite commit to him with those feelings/thoughts in the mix. She suggested over FB messenger, only hours before she took her life, that I just call him Little Cat.
About the conflict (I don’t know why this feels important to detail, but it does! Feel free to stop reading now if you liked the mini-status above and you’re pressed for time): The fact that I had gotten a third cat when she was allergic and potentially facing homelessness (there were many other barriers beyond the cats, so please don’t think I’m a totally insensitive asshole) really hurt her. I did not know for almost a week how she felt. She had been a bit distant last week, and I knew something was up. When we saw each other in person Friday, we discussed what she was feeling at length, almost immediately after I settled on the couch with her. I had just retaken the Yes Institute Communications Course last week; I think I ‘recreated’ her in a huge way when I looked her in the eye and said “I think I get it — you really felt deprioritized. I am so very sorry, my love.” She looked at me and said, “yes, I did.”
She also told me in that conversation that she already loved LC and could see my love for him, and that it made her joyous. She said she recognized that her go-to feelings around the new feline addition were not really in sync with the reality of the situation or my intentions, and knew that this was a miscommunication (stemming from our first conversation about me potentially adopting LC, where I asked her for her thoughts/feelings about the idea). As usual, we both affirmed for each other that we had shared all we needed to about this; we both felt okay moving onto a new topic for the evening.
I have to tell you that Lil’ Cat has not left my side much at all since Diana’s passing. Right now, he is laying between the laptop keyboard and my belly as I sit at my dining room table. I am confident that the universe provided this animal to me to present my love and I with one last conflict to sort through, one last opportunity to be vulnerable when things were hard, one last opportunity to listen with intention and devotion.
The universe also knew I would be in tremendous need.
When I look at LC, I will forever think about the complexity of the love I shared with Diana, the many barriers we faced both together and independently, and also the marvelous way in which we navigated and scaled those barriers — in nothing but love and mutual respect for one another’s thoughts/experiences/boundaries/decisions.
Our relationship work together really taught me that conflict does not mean that love is not present — instead, as long as no hard limits have been violated — conflict is always an opportunity to strengthen love.