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Rest in Peace, Fluffy Cat--We'll Miss You, and You are Sincerely Loved

The weekend was a rough one. Fluffy cat's health went down hill as the weekend progressed. By the time Monday rolled around, she was getting somewhat close to how she was on Friday before she had her lungs drained of the fluid build up. On the plus side, I got a surprise day off from babysitting, so I was able to spend her last day with her. She wasn't alone at all for her last day, and I know that meant a lot to her (she hates being alone). I stayed pretty close to her, letting her do whatever she wanted--we went outside probably 10 or more different times. I told her if she wants to go out, we'll go out even if it's only for a few minutes (because several times were only 5-10 minutes). Her morning outdoor adventure (after she decided we could both get out of bed) lasted about 35 minutes. She had a blast. She was feeling extra bold, too. Not only did she walk up the steps of our neighbor's front porch but she decided to walk down their driveway. She's never done that before. Usually she's too skittish and opts to only skirt around the perimeter of their yards/homes. She's grown so much from the traumatized little kitten we adopted 13 years ago. I'm glad that I could help you heal and grow, fluffy cat; I know you appreciated and adored our outdoor adventures. I'm glad I could help you make the most of your final day, even though you weren't able to eat even though you wanted to. I know you wanted more whip cream than the little you actually ate and more treats than the six you managed to get down. I'm just glad that your suffering wasn't prolonged any more. As much as our hearts ache from you going to your slumber at the vet, we couldn't bear for you to get to the point where you couldn't get comfortable or sleep like last Friday. In honor of your memory, I wrote a piece for you:

My precious cuddle buddy of 13 years—we’ve been through so much, and, oh, how you’ve grown. In so many ways you’re the same as the skittish, little kitten we adopted from the Humane Society. Who knows what trauma you experienced with your brother as a baby alone on the streets. You cried out to us, not wanting to be all alone after your brother’s adoption. You’ve never liked being alone. Sure, you don’t want to have lots of attention all the time, but you want to be near us. You hated being alone. You would drag clothes around the house whenever you were. You’d cry out, searching for us, as we found out on the occasions you believed you were alone but you really weren’t. You want things to be on your terms; you don’t want to be pestered, but you don’t want to be ignored. As much as you enjoy doing your own thing, you love us and want to be involved, even if it’s from a bit of a distance away.

You’ve changed in some ways but remain the same in others. Your favorite treats are the same ones you loved as a kitten: salmon flavored. You used to sleep all the time in the doll bed and toy net above my bed. You still love that cat bed you received as a kitten. You seem to be able to get comfortable anywhere, and you’re always so adorable when you cuddle up to sleep. You are always so curious, getting into everything, especially if it involves plastic bags. If there are plastic bags involved, you go to town, chewing the bag like crazy and leaving a sea of puncture holes in your wake. We’ve lost a lot of bread that way, you goof. If it piques your interest, you must investigate—you’ve gotten into so many of my art projects and schoolwork. You’ve crashed so many of my videos, too, making yourself a surprise guest star. Even though you end up messing up what I’m working on sometimes, I love you with all my heart and know you just want to hang out with me and be involved with whatever I’m doing. You hate wearing clothes and all the outfits my sister subjected you to, but you accepted the vampire cape I got for you for 50 cents. It’s the one thing you never minded wearing.

You’ve claimed so many spots as yours, stealing chairs from everyone when they would get up as well as my bed and squishy pillow. I can’t even count the number of times you’ve snatched that pillow—it’s your favorite, causing me to get you one of your own. You’ve used me as a bed so many times, whether while I’m in my own bed or during the day, wherever I happen to be. You’ve cuddled while I completed schoolwork and snuggled for movies, anime, and books. Even if you don’t feel like cuddling with me, you want to remain close, finding a spot on the desk, table, or chair nearby or using my laptop as a pillow. We’ve spent so many late nights that way. You’re the best companion, especially on those nights.

You loved climbing the Christmas tree during your first Christmas. You never chose to climb a tree again, but you love hiding beneath the tree, underneath wrapping paper, or inside of the gift boxes. You always found a way to involve yourself in the festivities. You always want to be apart of what we’re doing in your own way. I know you chewed through my brand new headphones as a kitten, but it’s okay. You didn’t mean to ruin them—you just wanted to play. Granted, I was rather frustrated and upset when it happened, but I still love you.

You love to explore my car and had lots of fun hanging out in my previous car, too. You dislike car rides, probably because you associate them with the vet—a place you can’t stand—but we’ve gone for a few car rides together to visit people, which you didn’t seem to mind. I still remember the day I told mom that you were coming to visit her at work—she didn’t believe us, but you surprised her at work anyway. You’re the best surprise.

You love the porch—it’s your favorite hangout since it allows you to be outside while simultaneously offering sanctuary from all the scary cars and strangers. Whenever you get scared on our outdoor adventures, that’s always the place you made a break for. You feel safe there and love it so. You love your outdoor adventures, and you’ve done so well. Others were convinced you’d run away, so we had to warm them up to the idea, didn’t we? We started off by using a leash. You’d run to me each time I grabbed it because you knew it meant you could go outside. Eventually, they became comfortable with you being outside, and you got to freely roam. They were still worried about you running away, though, but they shouldn’t have worried—you proved that to them. The one day you got out because someone left the porch door open, you were merely hanging out on the patio in the backyard under the bench, looking at us as if to say, “It’s about time—what took you so long?? Let’s go exploring!” You never want to leave the safety of your home—you’re such a good kitty.

You love listening to the birds, watching them gather in our neighbor’s backyard; you often sit at the fence, watching your live nature TV. You love the fresh air and breeze. You love watching all of the animals outside. Whenever you see a bird, squirrel, chipmunk, or rabbit while on the porch, you always start making your special meow just for notifying us that you see an animal. You tell us all about it, too. If you’re outside, you tend to be a bit quieter and prefer to try and chase them. You’ve never caught one yet, though. You’ve left no corner of our yard unsearched, exploring to your heart’s content. You’ve played with bugs and worms you find outside, curiosity getting the better of you (even when said bug is a bee). If we ever needed you to come to us, you'd always come happily running whenever we used your special whistle. It never failed. We'd call you with that whistle, and you'd come right to us each and every time. You’re such a wonderful kitty.

You wait for me to come back home, whether it be school, work, volunteering, babysitting, you name it. You keep watch from the window so you’ll know exactly when I’ve returned. Then you run to meet me as soon as I unlock the front door. You’re such a wonderful kitty.

You love snuggling by the fire—it made winters more bearable. You became so disappointed in the cold since it would deter you from outside adventures a lot of the time. You have a stubborn streak, though, and the cold wouldn’t always deter you. There were times you’d brave the cold, anyway, but you’d want to return to the warmth of inside soon enough. You’ve played in the snow some, but usually you get upset with how it feels on your paws. You hated it when the snow started to melt—you hate it when it’s wet outside. As much as you love exploring outside, the rain and melting snow deter you by making everything wet.

You love the sun, basking in its warmth and sunshine. You sun yourself in the hallway. You sun yourself on the porch. You sun yourself outside. It never really matters too much to you where it is. The sunshine is your friend (unless it’s amidst the sweltering heat of summer—then you opt to stay inside where it’s cooler; you love the sun but hate extreme heat and extreme cold).

You love going around the house, hunting for treats. You love this game we started. You always knew when it’s supposed to be “treat time.” It’s one of your favorite times of the day. We had to think of all sorts of hiding places so you wouldn’t get too bored.

You hate closed doors. You sit and stare at the door (and then look at us) until we listen to your mental powers and open it for you. You can’t stand to be locked out, either, and will push open bathroom doors so you won’t be excluded. If you can’t get in the first time, you’ll keep trying, and we’ll hear your paws continue to slide down the door in your attempts. You don’t want to be alone.

You dislike baths, but you never fight us when we give you one. You merely wander around the bathtub slowly and dejectedly, giving us your saddest, pathetic eyes and meows. You hope that pity will end the experience, but it hasn’t worked for you yet. Good news is that we don’t give baths too you too often—only when necessary. You love drying off on the porch afterwards.

You’re so silly with how you enjoy playing hide and seek in the bathtub (even though you despise the baths you receive in the same bathtubs). I can’t even count how many time you’ve ran around the house only to proceed to hide in the bathtub behind the shower curtain and to then dash out again. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but your tail gives you away every time. It’s so active, and we can hear when you thumb it against the walls of the tub, silly kitty.

You fill up all of our memory cards—the bulk of our saved pictures and videos always stars you. We never have to look long to find you. You’re such a large component of our lives even though you’re a fairly quiet and chill cat.

I’ve loved the long morning snuggles we’ve shared in bed over the past year. You’ve trapped me in bed so many mornings because you’ve looked so cozy and happy. I couldn’t disrupt your sleep. I end up feeling guilty just by looking at your peaceful, happy face. It’s never a bad experience spending the morning with you in bed, so there’s no complaints for me. Those are some of my favorite times. Thank you for forcing me to relax, fluffy cat.

You’re such a box cat, too. You’ve gotten miffed at the disappearance of your boxes, but you always find new ones to love. If you disappear, there’s a good chance you’re in a box (or a basket or a blanket tent). You love finding new spots for naps, like baskets or shelves. You’ve commandeered a number of Emily’s baskets and shelves. You’ve secured the bottom shelf of my crystal shelves in my room, too. You even convinced us to construct blanket tents around the house for you to snooze in. If you have your way, the house would be full of boxes, baskets, and blanket tents for you to sleep in at your leisure. You love taking cat naps on all of our beds. You adore your Pokeball rug; we find you rolling around on it so often. It’s one of your favorite hangout spots, and you look so cute when you lay on it. You love your most recent present—that pet chair is one of your favorite napping spots because it’s all yours and because it lets you be close to us in the room.

The couch has become your favorite evening spot to nap on after dinner. You walk up to the dinner table to survey what we’re having, have your fill, and take your leave. You nap the evening away, and then choose to sleep on the chair next to me at night. You want to remain close but simultaneously have your space.

You enjoy playing in baskets. You’ve loved playing fetch with tennis balls and lucky rabbits’ feet—I still remember the day I found the lucky rabbits foot souvenir destroyed by you as well as the time we found the one you knocked under the table with its fur falling off of it. You always knock your toys underneath things and are unable to get them out. You play with some of the strangest things, too. One of your favorite toys is the friendship bracelet a preschooler made for me. You love batting it around, almost playing air hockey with us, before repeatedly knocking it on the floor and expecting us to pick it up for you so we can resume the game. You absolutely adore playing with bubbles, chasing them around to pop them.

You a really strange cat sometimes, though. You love rubbing against the grill. Every time the grill is out, you go right to it, rubbing your face all over it. Each time you end up with a filthy face, covered in charcoal ash. You never seem to realize it, though, and you look rather silly.

We’ve shared so many experiences. You even joined us for the solar eclipse viewing. While I know you didn’t particularly feel like watching the solar phenomenon, you looked quite stylish in your special eclipse shades. I’m so grateful you’ve been able to get comfortable this past weekend. I can only imagine the struggle and pain all the fluids in your lungs caused you before it was drained on Friday. You’re such a trooper. You’ve lived with arthritis for a year. We started to combat your hyperactive thyroid two weeks ago. Your body is failing despite all our efforts, though. The fluids are returning—we can see your labored breathing. The vet believes you have cancer, and we have limited options—any the vet provided us is prolonging the inevitable, leading to an existence rather than truly living. You don’t deserve that. You’ve given us so much joy, love, and laughter. You’ve given us so much comfort, cuddles, and snuggles. We can’t bear to repay you with suffering. You’re precious, and as much as we long for you to stay, as unready as we are to let you go, we cannot condemn you to suffering. It’s with heavy hearts we say goodbye and thank you. I can’t imagine my life without you, but I’m sincerely grateful for our time together. We love you so much, and you’ll be sincerely missed. I don’t know how long it will take for our tears to dry and our hearts to mend, but our love for you will never run dry. It hurts right now, but thank you so much for everything. Thank you for choosing me. I needed you, and you were always there for me, loving me unconditionally. You’re the best. You are sincerely loved. Rest in Peace, fluffy angel. You’ve earned it, so sleep easy now.

My sister and I have also made videos in tribute to your memory:

Last moments with fluffy cat:

The squirrels we saw on our morning adventure on Monday were extra bold, too. They kept coming right up to us and staring at us. It happened at least 8 times. That has never happened before. There have been a handful of times where they've gotten kind of close, but whenever they noticed us, they would bolt. The squirrels' boldness and fluffy cat's boldness felt like a message to act without fear, to embrace being bold. I'll do my best to live by their example.

I didn't sleep very well Sunday night, so I'm not surprised that I don't remember much from my dream (or that I didn't sleep well because we had decided to say goodbye to fluffy cat Monday afternoon/evening after everyone was off work). The little I do remember involved trying to get to one of the boys I babysit because I knew I had to watch him/pick him up (possibly for school--I don't particularly remember the specifics). For some reason I was at the middle school I attended back in the day. I was in a class that was about to start, but I realized I had to leave so he wouldn't be late (I'm guessing he was going to school at 8, but it could have been swim practice or camp). I made it out of the full classroom without issue but struggled finding my jacket and keys. There were so many people in the hallways going to class. I'm pretty sure I willed my things to me because I couldn't find them but they materialized. I left out the back door and almost made it to my car. I got stopped by a staff member (who was a coworker from the preschool). She was about to send me back inside when she recognized me, saying, "You don't belong here, do you?" I told her I graduated in 2011. She said she thought so, that she remembered me from before, and wished me well on my way. I got in the car and started driving, but that's all I remember.

Upon waking up on Tuesday morning, I thought a lot happened in my dream, but I only recalled two specific parts. The first part I recall involved my family. My brother Drew was back home. Our mom gave a cardboard box to each of us, Emily, Drew, and me. I opened it and got confused. It was full to the brim. There was some kind of cleaning products inside, but I didn't recognize any of it. Each of the boxes had cleaning products inside. Apparently our mom expected us to start scrubbing the house top to bottom, and she expected us to do it all by ourselves. I didn't feel like it. Emily had been scrubbing like a window that was underneath a table or something, and she pulled me aside. She whispered, "Shhhh, don't yell mom!" and handed me a tiny black/gray kitten. It looked a bit like Chloe's kittens from years ago (Chloe is one of April's cats). It proceeded to climb all over me. Our mom came downstairs, and we rushed to hide the kitten. We knew our mom didn't want a kitten (Emily's been looking at kittens up for adoption the past few days, but my mom told her she wasn't ready for a new kitten). I think my mom might have discovered the kitten, but the details after she came downstairs are fuzzy.

The other part I remember involved the preschool. It wasn't the same as the last time I was there. They had changed my job. I don't remember where I was assigned first thing in the morning, but afterwards I was supposed to help out the Chipmunk class. I was in the hallway when the Chipmunk teacher called out to me, telling me it was time to help them out. I went to the room they had been assigned in real life but couldn't find them as another class was there. It confused the heck out of me, and I started searching the other classrooms. No luck, though. None of them were the Chipmunks. The Chipmunk teacher pulled me aside when I was back in the hall, asking what was taking so long. I asked her, "Isn't that your classroom? I went in and couldn't find you. I've been searching for your class." She sighed, informing me that they had been moved. Their classroom was now the hallway. The class size had at least doubled, and there were kids everywhere. They were all so active--they were brimming with energy. I think it was free play time. The other teacher for the class (each class has two--I was extra support, maybe because their class was unusually large) was nowhere to be found. The Chipmunk teacher told me to assign class jobs, and handed me a laminated job sheet and some laminated names. There were supposed to be six or so kids assigned to the role of clean up leaders, but only two of the kids in the class had their names prepared (apparently the teachers hadn't finished cutting them out). I did my best, but it was difficult assigning the jobs (I was expected to announce the jobs to the class as they got ready to clean up) because the papers I was handed that was supposed to be all of their names, cut and prepared, had a bunch of other random things included with them. I was very confused because I didn't even know all of their names. The Chipmunk teacher might have taken over when she saw me struggling or it might have just been overlooked/passed up. The details are a bit hazy. I started checking to make sure the kids were cleaning up, assisting some of them. As I rotated through their hallway of a classroom, I noticed one kid had broken a bunch of scissors in half and had somehow managed to cut off pieces of the blades, too. It was super perplexing, but I knew I had to clean them up so none of the kids would get hurt. Clean up was over and I think they were getting ready to leave the classroom. One of the boys stopped me, excitedly informing me that his birthday was in a month. I asked if his birthday was on the 19th (I guess that was exactly a month away in the dream). The boy corrected me and said it was on the 22nd. I think more happened, but that's basically all I remember. I know all the kids were happy to see me; they all had huge smiles on their faces when they saw me.

When I woke up Thursday morning, I struggled to remember my dream--the details of my dream were kind of hazy. I know at one point Tohru was wandering around a city or suburban area (I think she was homeless?). Kyo came and found her. I'm pretty sure he was kind of scolding her for wandering around when it was so cold outside.

The dream transitioned, but I think it took place in the same area/city. I think someone invited me to their school/college. There was some sort of escalator to like a basement level. They wanted me to pick up the pizza they ordered so we could eat it. I went to pick it up, but the restaurant/eatery wanted me to do some kind of challenge as for of payment. I was confused (and I don't remember what said challenge was, although I do remember other people were involved). I think I might have left (maybe I completed the challenge or maybe I decided it wasn't worth it--not really sure). I think I headed to the person's place. It was likely a dorm room or apartment. When I got there, one of the boys I babysit and his friend were outside with Pearl. She was running around or playing I think, and it started raining. Pearl got soaked and wasn't happy about it. More might have happened, but that's all I remembered upon waking up.

The details of my dream when I woke up Friday morning were pretty muddled. It's like a cloak of hazy fog clung to it. I did remember that I was babysitting one of the boys at one point. At one point in that part of the dream he was annoying his dad. I might have been driving at another point.

The part of my dream I remember the most was about Avatar the Last Airbender. Aang was born a firebender while Zuko was born an Airbender. Aang was still the avatar, though. I'm pretty sure that was the only switch/deviation in bending styles from the show because I remember that Katara was still a waterbender. Aang and Zuko were friends in the dream (they weren't ever enemies). They were at some lord or commander's home/mansion. Whoever it was wasn't all that friendly, and they knew they had to escape. There was some kind of like storage room they recognized as being their best chance of escape. Aang I think was trying to create a path/hole to escape from, but how he chose to attempt that was by writing words on the walls in cursive with fire (I don't remember what specific words he used). I think guards or the owner/enemy were coming. They noticed a small closet behind some kind of curtain or hanging scroll and hid inside together. More happened afterwards, but I'm unable to recall anything else. I knew other things and parts/transitions occurred, maybe involving me in a park/forest, but the rest of the dream was too unclear/hazy.

When I woke up Saturday morning, I didn't remember much from my dream, but I know it involved taking the boys to camp. It wasn't their normal camp. It was like in Starbucks, but for whatever reason they didn't have it (I'm guessing it was sort of like when one of the boys' swim practice was pushed back when he had a swim meet the night before). We stopped by just to check it out, and as we were leaving via the back parking lot, we noticed a bunch of huge balloons that were for the camp. I remember one was a massive tree frog and there was a massive Winnie the Pooh (there were quite a few others, but I don't remember what they were). They had another camp to go to. We went to my house. I let fluffy cat out the back porch, and other kids that were at the camp were freaking out because they thought she got out on her own (apparently my backyard was connected to the park where their camp was taking place). I reassured them that I had let her out, that kitty was fine to be outside, and the kids calmed down. I know more happened in my dream, but that's all I remember.

Waking up this morning, I didn't remember much from my dream, but what I recall from my dream was that I was babysitting the boys. I don't remember all the specifics, but at one point we were outside. While outside, I noticed that the family I used to babysit for all the time (every week, sometimes every night after school) were their neighbors. They were excited to see me and wanted to know if I could babysit again. I think later I was playing games with the boys. I think I ended up falling asleep. Their parents ended up coming back the next morning. They had planned on being back the previous night, but something had caught them up. I hadn't even noticed since I had fallen asleep. Their dad said that we would discuss payment since it hadn't been planned. I think an amusement park was also involved in the dream, but that's all I remember.

I spent the week babysitting this week. It was only one of the boys, as the other was at sleep away camp. We picked up one of his friends to carpool for band camp in the afternoons, and his friend was really sweet. His friend told us all about how he baked homemade pretzels and bread this week. When we picked him up to go to camp, he was quite the little gentleman with his chipper greeting, "Good afternoon, Jessica!" It wasn't just what he said but how he said it. He freaking melted my heart. He's such a sweet kid. I'm super grateful I got the opportunity to meet him this week. Also, while the younger of the two brothers was at swim practice (and the other was at camp), I spent the morning walking around the park. It was gorgeous, and spending time in nature definitely helped soothe my aching soul. It helped the healing process, but I know that I still have work to do.

I hung out with April and Iris on Friday since I had the day off (the family I babysit for was going to pick up the other brother from camp). It was fun, although we would have preferred it if it wasn't so hot out--it was well into the 100s temperature wise, and it felt like we would melt by being outside. It was nice to catch up, though. Iris had so much to show and tell me. She started demonstrating how she rolls like a rollie pollie. She informed me that someone died because they ate too much sugar and had stinky water (this was probably her creating stories because I can't think of anyone that this would actually describe). She had me play a version of "air hockey" with her using a plastic boomerang, sliding it back and forth across the carpet. She drew a picture for me and then hung it up on her wall. She showed me her "power" (it was a tiny toy bottle, smaller than the size of a penny, that she rolled in her hands to "power up"). Iris decided we should have pizza and had us leave early to get it (so we ended up doing a bit of driving to wait for it to be finished baking). April referenced the joke she and her mom always made (it started back in 6th grade) when they'd be driving me around and would be near my house--each time they'd remark, "Let's go see if Jess is home!" and drive past my house. April decided to repeat the joke that evening and drove by the house. My mom happened to be outside, watering plants, so I called out, "Hi, Mom. Bye, Mom." Iris, upon hearing this, mimicked me and called out, "Bye, Mom!!!" When my mom didn't respond, she exclaimed, "BYE, MOM!!!!!!" My mom still didn't seem to notice, so I called out, "Mom, Iris says, 'Bye, Mom!'" Apparently, my mom hadn't heard Iris at all, but she heard me. Iris is such a character; I'm super grateful to be able to know her and hang out with her--she always makes me laugh. Who knows what she's going to do next (LOL).

On Saturday my family got together to celebrate my aunt's graduation; she finished her doctorate in social justice, and she felt Juneteenth was a fitting day for the celebration. I loved the shirt she choose to wear for it, too. She even wore a cape in celebration. It was pretty hilarious, and I loved the authentic nature of it all. When she was explaining her cake, she remarked that armadillos are so cute and that "the armadillo symbolizes higher knowledge." Granted, I don't know how accurate that statement is, as I don't know all the ins and outs of animal symbolism, but it was rather fitting for the day/my aunt. My family is rather quirky, after all. It was nice to be surrounded by trees, too, and it wasn't scorching hot like it had been the previous day. All in all, it was a great day.

My brother brought the puppies by. One is his, which he named Yogi. The other was the only puppy out of the ten that no one was willing to adopt. That being the case, my brother's roommate (the one who owns the puppies dad) dubbed him "Uno" and then proceeded to ignore him. Poor "Uno" was abandoned in their living room; my brother's heart went out to him, but he didn't want "Uno" getting super attached to him because he doesn't have the means to take care of another dog. Thankfully, my dad's coworker has been looking for a dog for months. He came to pick up "Uno" today. They're cute puppies.

I received new Divine $9 goodies from Spiritual Supermall. It was extra exciting this time as I got a surprise freebie in this box; they gave me a free black tourmaline pendant. It was such a pleasant surprise; while it didn't take away the loss of fluffy cat, it did bring a smile to my face and gratitude to my heart. I love Spiritual Supermall; they're the best. I can't wait to see what they add next to the Divine $9 line up.

Here's the art for this week--I continued creating art in honor of fluffy cat, and I also created some paintings for my mom's former boss's wife; she had noticed the painting I created for my mom with his initials on it and requested one for her. Granted, I don't normally do stuff like that for free, but I had been wanting to contribute something to her. Her husband had passed away earlier this year in his early forties due to cancer and left her a single mom, I know that the paintings don't fix her loss, but if it helps bring some light and happiness into her life, I'm honored to have the opportunity to do so. Feel free to comment recommendations for future art projects; I'm open to new ideas and suggestions.

I watched a few movies, read some fanfic, checked out the new chapters in a game, and watched the most recent episode of Fruits Basket this week. Fanfic for this week include: I Prefer Curry Chips Instead, February Lullaby, and No More Running. I started playing this game a while back, and the storyline is rather interesting. It's not at all like what I thought it would be like. Previous chapters involved converging timelines and the like. The chapters that just released involve the main character presenting the information for audience to decide for themselves and get closer to the truth. At the press conference others admitted that they were afraid to speak up and be the first to voice their truth; they were grateful the main character had the courage to speak up and voice the truth on what's been happening. A main theme for the recent chapters is all about revealing the truth--the main character is working to expose the corruption/prejudice against "Evolvers" (i.e. many Evolvers getting killed under the cover of official business and how a ball was held as an opportunity to brainwash a bunch of Evovlers). Irrefutable evidence comes to light (thanks to white hats working behind the scenes--"Key" recorded the whole incident and leaked the footage) that removes all illusions/disguises, leaving the commander no room to maneuver. The main character is learning to trust in her own powers/abilities (she's grown and matured a lot since the beginning of the story, always fumbling her way through life previously). She's learned confidence and being able to trust not only her allies and herself but fate/the universe. The commander (the one that's been super prejudiced against Evolvers and killing them off) gets basically cornered and panics--he knows he's running out of time and kidnaps children to use as hostages to get the main character to come to him. When the main character goes to meet the commander and save the children, there's a clashing of beliefs. The main character informs him that you can't get back what you lost (loved ones that passes on) even with revenge (turns out that's why he's been so prejudiced and spiteful towards Evolvers--some Evolvers killed his family in the past). She emphasizes that love is a stronger force than hate and that love can reach a greater height than hate ever could. He scoffs at that idea and insists that he was "just playing by the rules of the world." These recent chapters seem very aligned to the current times of the world; more and more people are gaining the courage to speak their truth and live in accordance with how they truly think, feel, and believe. The so called "rules of the world" are changing. What used to work isn't going to work any more. Like the main character emphasized, love is such a greater force--it's so much more powerful than hate or malice. By embracing love and light, we can reach such greater heights than if we cling to hatred, anger, fear, and ill-will. At the end of the day, though, it's our choice. We get to choose which path we take. We get to decide what the future will hold, what tomorrow will look like.

Similarly, I watched The Croods 2 with my parents, and it's main theme was tomorrow. The tomorrow that characters envisioned initially wasn't the tomorrow that held the greatest happiness for them; they had to learn to expand their thinking and embrace others for who they are. Everyone was a lot happier at the end after uniting together and collaborating, rather than seeing others as "the enemy." Tomorrow is what we make it; we have to take the steps today in order to reach it. What worked for us in the past won't server our highest today. We've grown since then. It worked fine before, but we are no longer those same individuals. Granted, there are plenty of times when society and people haven't been the kindest in the past, but that was then. We can create a brighter tomorrow by starting today, by embracing love and kindness rather than mistrust, hate, fear, blame, and anger. It'll take work on our part, but it'll be well worth it.

I've been wanting to watch Raya and the Last Dragon for a while now, ever since Corliss shared the trailer with me back in like March. I finally watched it this week, and it did not disappoint. Raya and the Last Dragon delves into the theme of trust. Kumandra ended up split into parts/tribes after the disappearance of the dragons; the land of Heart guarded the Dragon Gem, but the other lands were envious because they believed that the Dragon Gem granted them prosperity and abundance. The lack of trust left the land divided even though, once upon a time, the land had been unified as one peacefully. Chief Benja, Raya's father, informs young Raya that all of the lands are on their way to Heart. Raya is convinced that they are coming to invade, but her father corrects, "We're going to share a meal with them... I invited them."

Young Raya: "But they're our enemies!"

Chief Benja: "They're only our enemies because they think the Dragon Gem magically brings us prosperity."

Young Raya: "That's ridiculous. It doesn't do that."

Chief Benja: "They assume it does, just like we assume things about them. Raya, there's a reason why each land is named after a part of the dragon [Tail, Talon, Spine, Fang, and Heart]. We were once unified harmoniously as one, Kumandra."

Young Raya: "That's ancient history, Ba."

Chief Benja: "But it doesn't have to be. Listen, if we don't stop and learn to trust one another again, it's only a matter of time before we tear each other apart. This isn't the world I want you to live in. I believe that we can be Kumandra again, but someone has to take the first step."

Chief Benja could be labeled as a "dreamer" with his vivid belief in a united, peaceful future for their lands, but it doesn't have to be a "dream." If the world isn't the way we want it, we need to do something about it. Chief Benja doesn't try to dictate or force the other lands to unite; he offers a peace offering, a gesture of good will and trust in gathering all the lands together for a meal. Perpetuating the same actions won't lead to change; you need to act differently in order to achieve a different result. Chief Benja recognizes this. He doesn't let "reality" dictate the now and what's to come in the future. If we don't change, just like the divided lands of Kumandra, we will end up tearing each other apart due to our lack of trust and love. Once the various tribes gather, Chief Benja welcomes, "People of Tail, Talon, Spine, and Fang, welcome to Heart. For far too long we have been enemies, but today is a new day. Today we can be Kumandra once more."

Tail Leader: "Nice speech, Chief Benja, but why'd you really bring us here? Are you gonna rob us?"

Talon Leader: "Why would he need to rob us? The land of Heart already has everything."

Spine Leader: "Oh, it's easy to pontificate on Kumandra when you hold the mightiest weapon in all the lands."

Chief Benja: "The gem's not a weapon. It's a sacred relic."

Mistrust clouds our judgment, preventing us from seeing the truth. The divided tribes of Kumandra are a mirror of our world, with our different countries, religions, classes, ethnicities, etc. We are too busy fighting each other, playing the victim card and the blame game rather than working towards a solution. People can get so fixated on issues that they become blinded to potential solutions and allies. Chief Benja simply wishes to be an ally of all the lands, to work together peacefully. The others can't see that offer, though, because they are too ensnared by envy, fear, and anger. They see others as competition and aim to best them. Namaari exemplifies this; despite the connection she and Raya were establishing over their love of dragons/Sisu, she blindsides Raya, tricking her so she can "save" the Fang tribe with the Dragon Gem. Namaari dismisses, "Thank you, dep la. You've been very helpful. In a different world, maybe we could have been friends, but I have to do what's right for Fang." Many of us have gone through similar experiences like this, and like Raya we end up feeling bitter and betrayed. While the feelings are justified, our past experiences end up tainting present and future ones. We trusted and got burned. We end up guarding our hearts to prevent ourselves from getting hurt, which isn't inherently wrong, but we also keep out plenty of blessings and caring relationships due to the fear of repeating the past experience. It's the mistrust, fear, and anger that lead to more suffering, though. Chief Benja pleads, "Listen to me! We have a choice. We can tear each other apart, or we can come together and build a better world. It's not too late. I still believe we can be Kumandra again." Despite his pleas, the other lands refuse to listen and swarm after the Dragon Gem. In all the chaos, mistrust, and competition they end up breaking it and thus release the Druuns back upon the land. The fighting, instead of unifying as Chief Benja urged, unleased the plague of Druuns on their land, resulting in so much suffering, pain, isolation, and destruction of families. We get to choose the path our future takes, and trust and love play huge roles.

Raya ends up finding Sisu, the last dragon. The dragons were humanity's one defense the Druuns. Sisu explains, "[Druuns are] A plague born of human discord. They've always been here, waiting for a moment of weakness to attack. They're like the opposite of dragons. Instead of bringing water and life to the world, they're like a relentless fire that consumes everything in its wake until there's nothing left except ash and stone." The Druun are the embodiment of mistrust, anger, fear, envy, hate, and separation. The dragons are the embodiment of love, trust, peace, light, and life. They are two paths that humanity can take, but humanity gets to choose which path to take. Sisu contrasts so starkly with humanity's mistrust for the world. She is in complete disbelief when the old lady in Talon duped her and wanted to harm her. Raya remarks matter-of-factly, "Well, I'm sorry, Sisu, but that's what the world is now. You can't trust anyone." Sisu struggles to understand the world now, and sighs, "Being people is hard... You have small heads, no tails. You lie to get what you want, like the Talon chief back there."

Raya: "Yeah, well, the world's broken. You can't trust anyone."

Sisu: "Or maybe the world's broken because you don't trust anyone."

Raya: "You sound just like my ba."

Sisu: "Well, he sounds like a smart man."

Raya: "Yeah, he was. I really wanted to believe him. I really wanted to believe that we could be Kumandra again."

Sisu: "And we can... That doesn't mean you shouldn't try."

Raya: "And I did. And you know what happened? I got kicked in the back by someone who gave me a gift. Look around. We're a world of orphans because people couldn't stop fighting over a gem. Wanna know why other dragons didn't come back? It's because people don't deserve them."

Sisu: "But you can change that."

Raya: "No, Sisu, I am done trying. Kumandra is a fairy tale. The only thing important to me now is bringing my ba back."

Raya isn't in the wrong by not wanting to be betrayed by others again, but she's living in the past. Not all people are like that. The world may be broken, but like Sisu emphasizes, the broken nature stems largely in part from people not trusting one another or acting out of love. They put up walls to protect themselves and end up embracing separation. Granted, maybe not everyone deserves trust. Sometimes it needs to be earned, but by always thinking so little of others, it skews our perception of the world and our resulting behaviors. When you believe that the world is out to get you, you act entirely differently than if you believed that the world is a loving place. We can change the world by first changing ourselves. Sisu doesn't yield to Raya's "irrefutable truth" of the world and insists, "I'm going to show you that you're wrong... by proving to you that if you wanna get someone's trust, you have to give a little trust first." So many people believe that "seeing is believing," but in reality "believing leads to seeing." Our beliefs yield evidence to confirm them. Raya believes that others can't be trusted, so that is what she sees, that is the evidence she receives. It's not always easy changing our perspective, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. Remember, "impossible" literally says "I'm possible." Sometimes it's more important to hold faith despite all the "evidence" society seems to have to the contrary.

Due to stereotypes and mistrust, Raya's group struggles to trust Namaari. Generalizations aren't inherently true. There may be some people that fit them, but each person is an individual. Tong scoffs, "Their [Fang's] blades are specially designed for the stabbing of backs."

Boun: "If it weren't for them, none of this would have happened. They're the worst."

Sisu: "If we're just honest with her, deep down, I got a feeling she wants to fix the world as much as we do."

Raya: "You weren't there when Namaari betrayed me. We're sticking with my plan."

It's understandable to hurt from past betrayals and not want to repeat them. There's nothing wrong with that. If you stay in the past wounds, though, you will never live in the present. You will never be able to see what the future can be. We can't see others as anything other than the enemy, the villain, when we view the world in that light. Sisu isn't wrong in her understanding of Namaari and how she wants to fix the world. Who would actually want to live in a world plagued by Druun? Only water and the Dragon Gem could keep the Druun at bay. Fang is running out of space on their small island; they're protected by the canal, but they are also prevented from expanding that way. Raya's group doesn't realize the good Namaari has in her, as each of us has light and dark, because they are judging her based off of labels and past deeds. While actions may speak louder than words, people can change. People constantly grow. The person you knew years ago, weeks ago, or even yesterday will have learned and possibly changed. People are fluid. They are not cut in stone. As much as it makes sense to mistrust others, it's also important to give people a chance. Understanding this, Sisu confesses, "I don't know why they [her dragon siblings] chose me. It could have been any of us. All I know is I trusted them, and they trusted me... When they put their faith in me, it empowered me beyond anything I could imagine. The same can happen with Namaari."

Raya: "I really wish I could believe that. I once thought we could be friends."

Sisu: "After all this maybe you can be."

Raya: "Even if she wanted to help us, how could I possibly trust her?"

Sisu: "But if somehow you could, you wouldn't just bring your ba back. You'd also bring back his dream: Kumandra."

Raya: "How would I even approach Namaari after all that's happened?"

Sisu: "It may feel impossible, but sometimes you just have to take the first step even before you're ready. Trust me."

Sometimes life doesn't make sense to us; life acts in mysterious ways. Even if we don't know how to proceed, it's important to move forward. Standing still won't give you the results you seek. Sometimes you merely need to trust. Trust the universe has your best interest. Trust your intuition. Trust others. It might not always be easy, but the "impossible" becomes possible when we work together. Not everyone is ready to take this step, though. Some people cling to fear. They cling to the old. They cling to mistrust. They aren't ready to listen to others, even if they speak the truth. Namaari, excited after seeing Sisu, announces, "Mother, you won't believe what I saw--"

Virana: "You saw a dragon. General Atitaya informed me that you'd be returning home without the gem pieces."

Namaari: "It was Sisu. She can fix what we broke. She can bring everyone back."

Virana: "And that's what scares me. When everyone comes back, who do you think they'll come for? You forget, the other lands blame us for what's happened."

Namaari: "But we... we never meant for anyone to get hurt."

Virana: "Yes, but if we had the dragon and the gem pieces, we would be forgiven. We could save the world, but more importantly, our people would remain safe."

Namaari: "But Raya isn't just gonna give Sisu to us."

Virana: "We're not going to give her a choice."

The world has acted upon manipulation, mistrust, lies, betrayal, fear, separation, anger, bias, and judgments for a long time. These are all so heavy. They weigh people down. We don't achieve our best and highest when we choose these. Choosing love, light, trust, connection, and peace is so much lighter. You can feel the difference. You can see the difference between humanity and Sisu throughout the movie. Namaari ends up following along with her mother's plan and tries to control Sisu and bring her back for Fang's personal gain and power. Understandably, Raya and her cohorts are none too happy about her choice (and attempt of betrayal). Tong exclaims, enraged, "It was foolish to trust someone from Fang!"

Namaari: "Don't come any closer!"

Raya: "Namaari, it doesn't have to be like this."

Namaari: "I don't have any other choice."

Sisu: "Hey, I got this. I know you don't want to hurt anyone."

Namaari: "What are you doing?"

Sisu: "You just want a better world, like we all do... I trust you, Namaari."

While Sisu trusts Namaari, Raya ultimately doesn't. This results in Raya trying to knock Namaari's crossbow out of her hands, which causes the crossbow to fire. The resulting fired arrow hits Sisu, causing her demise. Humanity's flawed judgments and conditioned actions of mistrust lead to suffering. Namaari and Raya don't desire harm to come to Sisu--they both admire her, but their mistrust of each other leads to destruction of what they hold dear. Understandably, Raya is heartbroken over Sisu's death. Raya blames Namaari for Sisu's death since it was her crossbow and attempt to snatch Sisu from them that lead to her demise. Raya storms into Fang to confront Namaari. Tong laments to the others, "She cannot see us. Raya's blinded by her own rage." While emotions are neither good nor bad, they can blind us to our surroundings and the truth. After an intense fight Raya knocks all of Namaari's weapons away, and Namaari cries, "I never meant for any of this to happen." Raya doesn't believe her, exclaiming "Liar!" Raya is so ensnared by her emotions, her grief, her rage. Namaari retorts, "I don't care if you believe me. Sisu did, but you didn't trust her. That's why we're here. Do whatever you want, but you're as much to blame for Sisu's death as I am." It's true; Raya contributed to Sisu's demise, despite her intentions. If she had trusted Sisu more--even if she didn't fully trust Namaari,--she wouldn't have acted the way she had; she wouldn't have felt the need to knock the crossbow out of Namaari's hands. If she had left things be rather than acting, there's a good chance that Namaari wouldn't have accidentally shot that arrow. Raya is mirroring Namaari; Namaari never wished for the Dragon Gem to break or intended for the Druun to be released. She never meant for it to happen; she only sought to secure the well being of Fang, just like Raya meant to secure Sisu and the others' well being from Namaari. Humanity's mistrust leads to destruction and suffering.

After confronting Namaari, Raya begins to understand what Sisu meant. She realizes that she contributed to the playout of events, even if it wasn't her intention. The Druuns run wild in Fang, and the fragments of the Dragon Gem start to lose their potency. Raya urges, "Everyone, give me your gems. We can still put it together. It can still work."

Boun: "Sisu's gone, Raya! We don't have her magic!"

Raya: "It's not about her magic. It's about trust... That's why it worked. That's why we can do it, too, by doing the one thing Sisu wanted us to do, what my ba wanted us to do--to finally trust each other and fix this. But we have to come together. Please."

Tong: "After what she's done?"

Boun: "We'll never trust her!"

Raya: "Then let me take the first step."

Raya learns that it's important to trust and move forward even if doubts still linger, whispering in your ear. It's through trust, by giving their Dragon Gem fragments to Namaari, that they are able to save humanity from the Druun. Through this trust the Dragon Gem is able to restore to its former state. Through this trust humanity is finally worthy for the return of the dragons. Through this trust the dragons were able to restore all of the petrified, stone people. Trust literally saved them all. Not only could all the dragons, who hadn't been able to return previously, now come back, but all of these dragons were able to bring Sisu back. Love and trust hold a drastically different frequency than mistrust, fear, and hate. They are much greater forces and can accomplish so much more. We can connect to so many more possibilities through trust and love. It's up to us to choose, though. What do you want to choose? Which path will you take?

Fruits Basket is playing hard with my emotions... Last week's title was "I Just Love Her" and that episode hit home hard in light to fluffy cat's deteriorating health. We had to let her sleep eternally on Monday evening, and this week's episode that released on Monday is titled "Goodbye." It made me want to cry all over again. I do love fluffy cat--so much, and it's due to the immense love we have for her that we had to say goodbye. We couldn't condemn her to suffer anymore. Draining the fluids from her lungs on Friday definitely improved her condition; she perked back up and was like normal. It didn't last long. We could tell on Sunday she was starting to slowly slip back down that slope, and on Monday she was getting closer and closer to how she was on Friday before going to the vet. Her breathing grew more and more labored. She wouldn't eat. She ended up wandering around a lot. Thankfully, she could get comfortable enough to the point where she could sleep for like 30-90 minute intervals, but she was becoming just like she was on Friday. We couldn't prolong this torturous existence; that's not living and thriving. That was a painful, pitiful existence. She wasn't herself. We didn't want to see her go, but odds are it would have happened sooner or later if we let things continue to play out. Sure, we could drain her lungs again, but if last time was anything to go by, that would only give her about 2 and a half days of feeling better before it got worse again. She wouldn't want to play revolving door vet visits. It's so surreal that she's not here anymore. I keep thinking I see and hear her around the house, only to realize she not really here. It's been a rough week on that front. I expect to see her, but she's not here. Regardless of my heavy heart, I am grateful she's in a much better place, finally able to be free and experience a peaceful, pain-free existence. Kyo admits, "I wanted you to live, so badly. I wish you hadn't died. I wish you hadn't given up and thrown yourself away." He wanted his mother to keep living, and this sentiment rings true with me; I wish that fluffy cat hadn't died. I realize she didn't give up, though; she didn't throw her life away--she was fighting to stay with us, but she was losing the battle as her body began to give out on her.

As much as life can hurt at times, life continues marching forward. Time does not stand still. Tohru, still hurting from Kyo's remark about being disappointed in her, strives to keep going. Tohru recognizes, "I can't go on like this. I need to move forward, find some way to get past it. If I don't, it will hurt everyone, even Kyo. I can't do that. I can't. Smile. Smile. Smile!" I know that I can't stay in the past with fluffy cat. As much as I might want that at times, that is not the present. Time keeps moving forward. I keep remembering Ichigo from Bleach after Rukia is taken back to the Soul Society; he can't understand how life continues on "like normal" even though she is no longer there. I understand it so deeply; it feels so surreal that fluffy cat is no longer here. I keep expecting her to show up, to greet me in the morning, to be sleeping on the couch waiting for me, etc. It feels like a massive piece of my life is missing, yet everything continues on as if everything is still the same. Some moments are more difficult than others. I was able to prepare a bit last weekend as we knew it was coming--we knew that we'd have to say goodbye, but that didn't make it easy. Tohru berates herself, "I even practiced, smiling over and over again, but it was no use. I told myself that it was okay, and that wasn't a lie. Surely, I would be fine, even without him by my side. I would smile and accept that this is the way things are. If I could just do that, it would be alright. But I want to be with him. I want it so badly. It hurts... so much... It's no use. I can't control them... Stop it. Stop it! Stop crying." I understand how she feels. Granted, while I don't blame myself for my emotions or tell myself to stop feeling/crying, there are some instances that are more difficult than others in accepting that she's no longer here. I want to be with her still, just like Tohru wishes to be with Kyo (the fact that he is possessed with the cat spirit is not lost on me). I want to share more moments with fluffy cat, but I have to adjust to her absence. It can hurt so much at times. It comes and goes. Some moments I'm completely fine while others it almost feels like the end of the world. The ebb and flow of emotions can sometimes be intense.

Kyo is able to confess to Tohru after chasing her down since she ran from him as soon as she saw him (she was scared of being hurt again and causing his disappointment). Kyo admits, "And then I ran, even though I know that sometimes in this world you don't get the chance to see someone again... If I'm going to keep living, I want to do it with you... because I love you." Tohru, hope building, inquires, "So does that mean I'll be by your side, that we'll be together? You're saying that I can be with you, stay close to you, and hold your hand?" I'm so glad for Kyo and Tohru. I love fluffy cat and wanted to keep living with her; I wanted to be together with her and stay close. I wanted to keep being able to hug her, pet her, and even hold her paw (much like I did as we said goodbye). I love her so much, that sweet, fluffy cat. Love is such a powerful force. It's so strong; it can do the impossible. Tohru remarks, "Haven't you figured it out yet? It's okay because I love you no matter what. I love you--I swear, and that love, it's invincible." Kyo considers this, replying, "Huh... maybe I'm invincible, too. I mean, there's nothing to be afraid of now--not if you're with me." We really don't have anything to fear with love in our corner. Love lifts our spirits, and like Tohru asserts, "Even if it's been said dozens, hundreds, thousands of times, even if the words are a worn-out cliché, they're still true." I love you, fluffy cat. It's a shame that our time together came to an end. It's not my preference, but I'm glad that you are set free from your suffering. As Akito notes, "There will be time later, right? For new meetings and new beginnings?" This chapter ended, but there will be more to come. The story isn't finished yet.

Tohru ends up retelling the tale of God's Banquets in the later part of the episode. It's a bittersweet tale. The cat is God's first companion; the stray wondered inside God's home, noting that it isn't worthy but is willing to be God's friend if God is willing. This gives God the idea to see if other animals would be willing to be friends, since the cat didn't mind being companions. Tohru explains, "The cat collapsed. It's natural lifespan was running out. There was nothing to be done. The animals began to cry, and they realized it wasn't just the cat. Eventually, they would all die. The banquets would end. No matter how joyous they had been, no matter how precious, they would end." This cut a bit deep in light of fluffy cat's passing. It's bittersweet knowing that all relationships have an expiration date where you will cease to share moments with each other. No matter how precious and love-filled your moments shared are, they don't last forever. My mom used to always tell fluffy cat that she would live forever. Oh, wishful thinking. God dislikes the idea of losing companions and ceasing the banquets, so God decides to create ever-lasting bonds and banquets. God remarks, "We shall be eternal and unchanging--friends forever, as we were meant to be." I imagine many people share this sentiment, wishing for bonds to remain unchanged, but the cat's response cut deeply. I could see fluffy cat saying it if we had forced her to remain past her time. The cat laments, "God, oh, God, why did you make me drink from that cup? I neither need nor want eternity.... God, oh, God, things must end. We are mortal. Let us accept these truths, scary and lonely though they are. I count it a blessing to have been with you for even a moment. If we do meet again in the cycle of death and rebirth, I hope it is not only by moonlight. I would like to know what your smile looks like illuminated by the sun. I would like to be there when you smile not only among us but among humans, too." Just because a life ends it doesn't mean that you will never see them again; granted it will not be in the same physical vessel, but that doesn't mean that your connection is broken. So many people remember past lives. So many people have witnessed deceased loved ones in meditations, dreams, or the astral realm. Death is not the end, even if it seems like it at times. I do my best to remember this. It's not always easy. Emotions can be tricky and messy sometimes. I do miss fluffy cat and long for her presence, but it would break my heart if she were the cat from the tale. Tohru continues the story, "But, strengthened by their promise and knowing that this end would lead to a new beginning, God was unafraid. I'll hold another banquet and another. I'll hold banquet after banquet, an eternal series of gatherings, forever unchanging. I may be lonely now, but I won't despair because everyone is waiting for me on the other side of that promise." While we can't keep things unchanging like God desired in the tale, loneliness does not last forever. New bonds will form with others. If someone passes on to return to source, your relationship changes with them--they are not truly gone. They merely are not on the earthly, physical realm any longer. Sometimes it can suck--not going to lie--but that does not mean that there is no more love in the world. That does not mean that all the happiness and good times are gone. You get the chance to make new ones and start a new chapter, even if it is a bit scary and intimidating at times.

It's okay to keep moving forward. Continuing your story is not forsaking deceased loved ones. They don't want you to suffer. They love you and wish you the best. It's okay to "let go." It's okay to start a new chapter. They won't hold it against you. Akito finally decides to sever the never-changing bonds and remarks, "I can let go now, right, father? It's okay to stop being special--to stop being a god and just be me, isn't it? To start a life that's truly my own. I'm hurt. I'm scared. I don't know who'll love me now, but... goodbye.... Goodbye, everyone.... It's hard and lonely, saying goodbye. They say that after goodbye comes hello, and all new beginnings come from endings. Clichés can wait... I don't want to hear them right now. Cry with me, please. There's nothing we can do. It's over. So, please, just cry with me. Sob with me. Scream with me. Feel with me. We lost what we had, and we're left with no guarantees. Cry with me for the terror of living in this new world... as we cling to hope for tomorrow. Please, do this much. Cry, cry, and cry like we did when we were first born into the world. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye." It hit home. It had me thinking so much of our goodbye to fluffy cat. It was difficult. It feels lonely and empty in the house now without her. It hurts. We cried so much. So many tears were shed. All of the tears seemed to act as a form of release, though. This episode was rather fitting (especially since it released the day we said goodbye to fluffy cat). It's okay to say goodbye. It's okay to cry over that goodbye, as well. New beginnings will come after goodbye, and it's okay to cling to hope for tomorrow. No matter how hard it may get sometimes, we'll be okay. All of our experiences make us stronger. We've survived all of our most difficult and painful experiences to date. It shapes us into who we are. I don't know what exactly fluffy cat's departure is preparing me for, but the universe always works in our favor. It was necessary for the next chapter, whatever that may be. I may prefer to have fluffy cat stay, but the universe has my best interest in mind. Please, take care of yourselves. Rest when necessary. Cry when necessary. Breathe and take a moment if need be. The world will still be there when you finish. I'll do my best, too. I'm still learning and growing, so I'll work on improving my skills as I continue my journey. I know the universe still has blessings and pleasant surprises in store for me. I eagerly look forward to receiving them. Stay blessed with love and light, everyone~

Here's some food for thought from Ralph Smart on Infinite Waters:

Food for thought for this week:

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