The Dead Chipmunk Who Taught Me About Life.

Domestic cats: A blend of cuddle and deadly predator.

Cats are my favorite animals. They are the kind of pets who makes you feel so special when they show you affection. You go from being an ordinary person to the most special person around when a cat decides it loves you.

I own three. They are the cutest beings ever. They all have different personalities from the most precious soul, to the dedicated soul mate, to the perfect snuggle bug. I love them; they are my children.

The other day, I had them all outside with me. I put them in the fenced-in area in the backyard while I am gardening. A couple of minutes later (literally), I go back to check up on them, and there I see it. Bear, my Maine Coon, is standing by a chipmunk he has just caught. My heart stops and I run towards them hoping I can do anything at this point to save the rodent.

I quickly push Bear away and grab the chipmunk.  I’m looking at the poor thing. It’s a male. Good. No babies left behind. I am no vet, but I try to feel a heartbeat, I look for injuries. Nothing. He looks perfect. I swear it felt like time stopped. Thinking about it now, it seems really stupid, but I truly felt like everything was in slow motion as I was looking at him. He was perfect. His fur was soft and shiny, his cheeks were full of seeds he had probably just gathered from the birds feeders I have a few meters away. His eyes still had life in them it seemed like he was, all of the sudden, going to start jumping around.

I felt so sad. So sad that his life was stopped so quickly. That one moment he was eating and the next he was dead. And I was so angry at my cat for killing him; I was so angry at myself for letting my cats out in the first place. I should have been supervising them.

I am sitting down in the grass with him on my lap and I have tears rolling down my face. I feel stupid for crying for a dead chipmunk, but it’s more than that. It’s my 27-year-old self realizing the preciousness of life. Realizing that we are not eternal. That I  should live my life to the fullest.

You know, since I went vegan a few years ago, the biggest change in my life has been feeling very connected with nature, feeling at peace with how I live my life, feeling like this is exactly where I fit in this puzzle called life. This dead chipmunk reached into my soul and made me realize I was way too comfortable in my routine.

My biggest weakness is that I always postpone things for tomorrow. No matter what it is. Even the things I deeply care about.

Well, there is no tomorrow anymore. Only today. And I intend to make my life beautiful and fullfilling and happy.

My cat may have ended a life that day, but he rebooted mine.

Marie

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It’s all good, dad.

When you’re a kid, your world revolves around your parents. They are your teacher, your lawyer, your driver, your cook, your everything. And, most of the time, they become your model.

Growing up, my family didn’t have much. It took everything to my parents to find some savings for me to get a haircut. Our phone line and our tv cable were cut so many times, I don’t even remember one year it didn’t happen at least once. I remember one summer where we had no phone, no internet, and basic cable (3 channels with absolutely nothing good to watch). I remember doing nothing all day and being so frustrated that we were almost cut out from our friends. As a young teenager, it was hell. I often had to give away some of the money I made babysitting so that we could have food on the table.  It was soo bad, sometimes. Try to make Nutella out of chocolate powder because there’s absolutely nothing to eat from breakfast.

Anyways, our parents did their best, we all turned out fine and now I see this period of my life as a lesson about being happy with what you have. You don’t need that new coat you saw on tv, you already have one!

My dad always regretted not giving us everything he wished for us. But I don’t see it that way.

My dad is the kind of man who does the cleaning and the cooking. He is always very honest with us. He is a confidant, a friend, a dad, a role model. My dad shaped me into the woman I am today. He taught me simple things like to put my shopping cart back to where I found it, and not to leave in the middle of the freaking parking lot!! He taught me to be polite when invited over to someone’s house and to eat whatever food is served to you whether you like it or not. He taught me to like my neighbours, to help people around me, to never judge people by what they look like. He taught me to be socially conscious and not to act so selfish! My dad recycles, and does not waste food. My dad is the type of dad who is friend with your friends.

My dad is the most caring person I know. He would always play outside with us, draw with us, play board games with us. He would try his best to explain the world to us, and was always encouraging us to look for the answer. Everything fun I remember about my childhood, my dad is a part of it. He is often the first person I go to when I need advice, and he’s the opinion I respect the most.

When I go back to my hometown this summer, it will have been 2 years since I’ll have seen him. Being away made me realize how important he is in my life. You know what they say; you don’t know what you have until you lose it.

My dad is the reason why I am environmentally and socially conscious. He is the reason why I question everything. He is the reason why, in my opinion, I turned out to be a nice person.

My dad always said he didn’t give us enough, well I say he gave us everything.