Yesterday was a difficult day. We had to put two cats down. One was somewhere around 22 years old, and one was somewhere around 16. Both were much loved. Even though these things are done because you love them and don't want them to be uncomfortable, it's never easy.
And so the day was wrapped in grief and tears and recollections, and sometimes even laughter, but by the end of it, I was so incredibly tired. I went to bed with heavy eyes and a muddled head from all of the emotions and tears of the day. At a little after 11:00 my daughter came home from visiting her boyfriend (one of the cats had been his). She woke me up and said, "Come downstairs, I need to show you something." With my daughter, all bets are off when she makes these kinds of announcements. You never know what's in store.
I managed to open my eyes enough to maneuver unsteadily out of bed and down the stairs. My daughter stood by the door and said, "You have to get in the car. I have to drive you someplace." When I began to protest, she added, "You'll love it, I promise."
And so I climbed into the car in my jammies, still half asleep, and my daughter drove me down little back roads while I kept mumbling things like, "I think this must be a dream. I'm pretty sure this is just a dream." My daughter only said, "You'll love it, I promise." Finally, when we were on a small, forested road, she said, "Close your eyes."
That wasn't hard, they were mostly closed with sleep as it was. I dutifully closed my eyes and had the sensation of a small child, mostly asleep, being carried to bed, as the car slowed, made a turn, and stopped. "Okay, open your eyes and look."
I opened my eyes and said, "Ohhh..."
We were on the edge of a field of tall grasses, surrounded by forest, with a million fireflies blinking everywhere, all around. I stepped out of the car, amazed. It was like standing in the middle of a blinking, starry sky. We found a couple of large boulders to stand on so that we could look far out into the field and see how the fireflies continued on into the distance. They were everywhere, in the grasses, above the grasses, filling the air, up in the trees, and right next to us. Flashing and blinking and twinkling. We stood there for I don't know how long, mesmerized, watching a million tiny lights, glowing in quick flashes above the nighttime meadow and within the even darker night among the trees. I whispered, "Thank you, Jessica, for bringing me here." She gave me a hug.
My daughter was right. I did love it. It was an utterly beautiful ending to an enormously difficult day.
And I'm still not sure it wasn't a dream.