Posted by: heatherinparadise | July 26, 2012

Only Love Can Break Your Heart

When Scottie died, she took my desire to blog with her, along with some of my optimism and a tiny bit of my faith in the goodness in the world. It seemed monumentally unfair to me that she should have come through all the misery and suffering that she had, only to be denied the lovely, happy life she had ahead of her.  I struggled to find something good to come out of her short life, and in her honor, began examining my own life.  I have been busy in my absence, taking inventory of my life, my shortcomings and defects, trying to understand why I am the way I am, trying to make myself a better person. This will be an ongoing project—one that I hope will continue for the rest of my life, but I am feeling stronger, more confident, kinder to myself than I have ever been.

Recently, a somewhat wild, sick and malnourished cat with a broken tail jumped through a screen and into my life.  She was skittish and terrified, so it took me a full day to be able to pick her up, put her in a crate, and take her to the vet.  I had to keep her isolated from my dog, so she lived in a separate room that I entered four times a day to feed her, change her litter, and give her medicine. At first, I could not pet her or even pick her up without forcing the issue.  It took her three days to come out from under the bed/her hiding place to greet me when I entered the room.  After two years of life on the streets and distrusting all living beings, however, it took her only two weeks to completely trust me.  Two weeks to erase all the bad that had been done to her.  She lies in my lap and allows me to give her love.  Sometimes, she still hisses at me out of habit even as I am petting her, but still leans into my hand as I caress her.

I named her Abra, from the line of the poem that says “And though I called another, Abra came.”

In my life, I have collected strays, broken-winged birds, hurt kittens, starving dogs.  Without exception, these animals have been able to heal, to trust, to receive and give love and affection.  From this I can only conclude that animals are the only living things upon which it is safe enough to lavish love, to unreservedly give one’s heart.

It’s the human strays, the ones with hidden damage, too far gone, past rehabilitation, that you have to watch out for—for they are the ones that can really hurt you.  Even without meaning to, they will accept your heart, savagely feast on it, reject it as unsavory, and throw it away, all without dirtying their hands.  I have come to understand that humans are my only enemies and I mean to protect myself against them in the future.

I have said jokingly dozens of times that I prefer dogs to humans; that while it is true that no human has ever taken a shit on my floor, no dog has ever broken my heart. Jokes aside, that is a truism.

I won’t say that this is my last blog because it likely will not be.  What I know is that I have been an open book, honest to the point of self-injury.  I have not protected myself because I did not understand before the importance of self-protection, but I know now that the person I am is worth shielding and I must be more discerning about what, and with whom, I choose to share.

Thank you all. I regret this blog has proven unsustainable in its original format.


  1. You’re always the bomb in my eyes – I’m glad you know you’re worth shielding and, if you ever need help, I’m right here. Love ya sweets!

  2. Abra is a real sweetie. I inherited my 16 year old cat, Darla, from my daughter when she moved out. I hope that Abra gives you the companionship that Darla has given us over the years.

    • Thank you, Darla. I am still trying to find a home for Abra, as she cannot comfortably live with a dog, but I will not turn her out, in any case.

  3. this made me cry…….for a number of reasons…….you are amazing……

  4. You should write a book, you have great talent!

    • Thank you, Daphne. I hope to someday have the determination, ambition, and drive to write a book. Or even a short story at this point, hahah.

  5. I am honored to call you my friend sweet lady.

  6. But how can I keep my admiring eye on you if not through this blog? I am a Facebook holdout. Will you email me instead? Send me your email? Let’s not lose touch again.

  7. Got here thru GAIL knapp somehow..glad I’m not the only one who dragged home strays(cats and Dayhome kids) MY WHOLE LIFE..Just want to give you a hug ((Heather)) be well..

  8. I am so very touched by your words.
    I too feel somewhat the same, just unable to recognize or articulate it as precisely as you have.
    I am coming to Playa on 9/1 staying thru 9/9.
    I would enjoy meeting you and buying a cold beer or 2 if you’re available.
    I would like to share a moment with a talented and selfless person like yourself.

    • Hi, Jennifer. I am so sorry I did not see your comment in time to meet you while you were here. I hope you had a lovely vacation.

  9. You know what they say.. “Hurt people, Hurt people” I always try to remember that, but gosh it is very difficult. Especially if you are misled into thinking someone is not emotionally damaged and then they turn on you and hurt you out of nowhere. – It happened to me just recently.

    • I am so sorry, Puertovallartagirl. Even after I wrote this, even after all I said, for the last three months I have involved myself–again–with another wounded bird. And gotten shit on as a result. I guess we are who we are, and maybe I will never learn to protect myself.

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