The phone ID flashed, “Emergency Vet”. “Oh no” I whispered. I could not lose Merlin now.
Ron and I had tried to have children for a long time with dismal results. We went through many procedures to have a child, but it was not to be. I threw myself into my work. Any maternal feelings I had were spent on Merlin.
I could not wait to get home from work each night. I wanted to pick up that warm bundle of loving fur and cuddle him. I wanted to sing “Rock-a-bye Merlin”, like I did every night as he would put his paws around my neck.
Merlin was my comfort and solace especially at times when I wondered if God was listening. But last night something had changed. Not only did I sing “Rock-a-Bye Merlin”, but I asked, “What will I do after you are gone?
Although Merlin was 19 years old, a senior in the age of a cat, he did not look or act that way. I did not want to accept the fact that he was nearing the end of his lifetime. My job at the law firm was so demanding and stressful that I couldn’t imagine getting through the day without Merlin waiting to greet me at home.
I dialed the vet’s number. I asked for my husband but he already left. Then I took a breath and asked the question that no one wants to ask, “Is my Merlin still alive?” The nurse said “yes.”
Ron came home and said that Merlin had almost no red blood cells left. White blood cells were replacing them. Merlin would be needing expensive transfusions most likely on a monthly basis. We both knew Merlin was running out of time. I asked Ron to drive me to the vet so I could say goodbye to my little boy cat but he was beat tired and it was late. Ron said if Merlin was still alive the next morning then he would take me to the vet.
The next morning I called the vet. Merlin had survived the night.
After driving to the vet, I went into the examining room. The nurse brought Merlin and placed him on an examining table on his side. His eyes were tightly shut. I thought he died already. I carefully edged my hand to reach his body. His body felt warm, but when I spoke his name there was no response. No response to his name or that I was there and that I loved him. I was devastated.
In that examining room I felt helpless. I wondered how many people in an examining room felt as helpless as I did. I could not communicate with Merlin.
Feeling driven to prayer I yelled, “God this isn’t good enough. I need to see my Merlin the way I remember him, I need a miracle and I need it now!”
In that moment, God granted a miracle. A switch was thrown. Merlin’s favorite compliment entered my mind. I said, “Merlin, You are Beautiful and You are Gorgeous, do you hear me?”
One eye opened.
I said “Gotcha”. I kept repeating those words over and over.
Merlin opened the other eye and, one limb at a time, got up. He was waiting for that phrase. He wanted to hear that he was beautiful and gorgeous again.
Then I experienced another miracle.
There was no sound in that examining room until Merlin started walking to me. From out of nowhere, or maybe from heaven, I clearly heard a song we sung in church often: “It Is Well With My Soul.” I remembered thinking, “Yes, it is well with my Soul. I got to see my little boy cat one more time.”
My anger dissipated. I no longer felt alone. I felt it was okay for me to let him go now.
Merlin walked to me. He put his face in mine, which he had never done before. He rubbed a circle around my face twice. Merlin said goodbye with his face and marked me for life.
Ron appeared shocked that Merlin was up and had walked to me. I said to Merlin, “Tell God you are a good boy and how much we love you” and then handed him back to the nurse.
That was all I could say to him before we left. He would be put down that day.
I belong to a church choir and the next time we sang, “It Is Well With My Soul,” I could not sing. Tears of gratitude poured forth in memory of a miracle. You see for nineteen years God spoke to me through a special cat named “Merlin.” On Merlin’s last day, God proved he heard me when he granted a miracle. That miracle gave me time to say goodbye.
I am fine now. I know I am not alone and never was. Like the last line of “Taps”: “God is Nigh.” God is near.