Zelda graced our household for sixteen years, serving as protector, healer, companion, and role model. She was feline, all black, supremely sure of her worth, and maintained a Sicilian-like vendetta towards veterinarians (and anyone else who assaulted her dignity).

Last week, in the middle of a family crisis, Zelda let me know it was time to release her and let her proceed to the next adventure. I was, of course, out of town.

I had known we were heading this direction for a while—the signs were there and my intuition told me it wouldn’t be long. I just wanted to make sure it all went “right.” You see, I had a plan and I was betting against the cosmic timer that I could ensure her a pain free death while still completing my “get it right” list.

Zelda, true to her nature, listened to no one except herself. I loved that about her but her timing was lousy. I’ve learned, however, that tough times have their own schedule. You can argue with that schedule—as I have done–but it doesn’t do much good.

I’ve also come to understand that life’s difficulties have the ability to bring perspective into our lives. Jolted out of our comfort zones and turned upside down, we can see things we might have missed or ignored before. Zelda’s death made me look at some things that I have a tendency to overlook or ignore.

You can wait too long trying to make sure things go perfectly.

If you read my last blog, “Just Say Yes” you already know I have a bit of an issue with perfectionism. Zelda’s body had been failing for a couple of weeks but I was too preoccupied with trying to get things right to see the signs that her end was nearer than I wanted to believe. And while I was trying to muscle the Universe into making my plan work, Zelda took matters into her own paws and followed the wisdom of her body. When I don’t listen to my intuition and try to force things to fit with my plans or schedule, it rarely turns out the way I want.

Sometimes a decision can be right and still feel crappy.

I couldn’t get back in time to attend Zelda’s death—I was needed more, elsewhere. I know Zelda understood. I was with “her boy” –the one she helped through cancer—who was recovering from an accident. Being with him took clear precedence. Still, it felt crappy to not be there in person. Talking her through her last moments by phone (held lovingly to her ears by my boyfriend) was the best I could do. I’m perfectly ok with the decision I made. I know it was the right one. It just didn’t feel good. This is a helpful thing for me to remember the next time I find myself avoiding an uncomfortable situation or not speaking my truth.

Life is impermanent but love is eternal.

It’s my belief that the Universe/God/Love is with us always, in so many guises, helping us to grow more fully into our Divine and spiritual natures. I’ve had several experiences with spirit after the death of a loved one and so I wasn’t surprised when Zelda sent a few messages through the Divine Guidance cards I had pulled, right after her death. The first one was a cat playing, her left paw in the same position that Zelda’s had been paralyzed in before her death. The second one was even more straightforward—a black cat under a moon. I’m pretty sure the cards meant, “I’m ok” and “I’m still around.” That’s what I’m choosing to believe and it’s what I’m hanging on to right now. And I wouldn’t be surprised if that veterinarian finds a hairball in the middle of her bed sometime soon.