Lotus's Legacy

I just started studying Buddhism and in Buddhist symbolism a Lotus is revered as the beautiful flower that grows through muddy water. Reflecting back on my kitty’s life I see that her name was almost a prophecy.

I got Lotus from an animal rescue centre in LA when I was 18. I chose her because she was cute and mellower than the kittens. They said she was two- but who knows?

As soon as I brought her home she hid behind a bookshelf for about a month. I was so disappointed that I got such an antisocial cat… but she was mine and I loved her. Slowly she came out of her shell and about a year later I heard her first meow. Most people who knew her are quite surprised when I tell them that because later she developed quite the personality with a super loud and cranky meow to match. Some would say she was bitchy- I would agree- but it was so cute!

She wasn’t the most agile cat either. She’d fall off the couch, miss leaps onto the counter and bump her head on the coffee table. She was special and I love her more for her peculiarities.

We had a unique bond. She followed me around the house while I walked from room to room and slept on my head. My favorite was when I sat on the couch and she would walk right up to my face and dive, nose first, into my chin as she collapsed onto my chest.

We were tight, but she didn’t care much for anyone else. Sure she tolerated some and kinda liked a special few but it wasn’t until she met John that she became a social cat.

She HATED him at first. She did not like sharing me. Whenever he tried to engage with her in any way she would hiss and swat at him. But John was patient, loving and determined to worm his way into her heart.

It took him two years to break down her walls. Everyday he would come home from work, pet her until she hissed, tell her he loved her and then leave her alone. He bribed her with treats and soon enough Lotus realized that John’s love feels amazing. Eventually by teasing/tormenting her John gave Lotus a greater sense of security and she became socialized.

When Lotus was diagnosed with cancer the first time I was in Australia teaching a teacher training and John cared for her through the amputation of her left leg. I was riddled with guilt but when I got home Lotus, who was at least 13 at the time was in great shape! She adapted to her life as a tripod with ease and appreciated our company even more.

We joked that she traded in her leg for a more loving personality. Like the flower, Lotus became more beautiful as she grew beyond muddy waters. She was a fascinating little creature whose presence went from nearly nonexistent to extremely prominent. Lotus also moved with me from LA to Singapore to Denver. My whole adult life she’s always been there. After her cancer resurfaced, February 1 at 5:30pm, we decided to end her suffering. I held her and as she took her last breath I felt her soul enter my heart. She is my companion for life.

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