A few months ago, I started using Reddit. At first it was to see what the online BPD community was like. But I was surprised to find a fairly positive social media site. So I signed up for subreddits related to cats, books, Twin Peaks, fashion, dance, cooking, lupus, and endometriosis. I have a gift for puns, which found appreciation on the cats sub in particular.
This morning, a woman on the cats sub asked, “If I leave a suicide note, will someone take care of my cat?”
I didn’t even read her entire post because I rushed to answer it. But I saw that she lived on the street with her disabled cat Kafka, that she’d tried to get a shelter to take him because she’d used her last money to feed him, that they wouldn’t accept him because he was disabled, that she had a history of being sexually abused.
In my reply to her post, I asked her to please stay here. I told her that I had been that desperate and it had gotten better. I told her that I didn’t even know her but I was crying. After a minute, I edited my reply to say that she could DM me, which I never said because I’m shy and social media scares me.
A few minutes later, she messaged me to say, amidst her life’s collapse, that she was sorry she’d made me cry.
We talked for about an hour. I told her my name, but she wouldn’t tell me hers or her city although she said she was in Turkey. A shitty, awful town, she added.
I told her, I’m a professor and researcher, and I can help you find resources in your country.
She said, please believe me, there aren’t any.
I asked her to stay for today. I told her I cared so much. Her cat was beautiful. There must be some way to help.
She didn’t ask for anything, which made me want to send her some money to get through the day all the more.
Please. I want to help.
But I haven’t eaten for days and neither has the cat. I need to do this now. I’ve been crying for days too.
I asked her again for her city. I told her that I would contact the nearest animal shelter even if it was in another country.
She said that she shouldn’t take up any more of my time, that talking wouldn’t help, that there was nothing more to say and that was why she had posted.
I told her I would be here if she changed her mind. I admitted it wasn’t my job to tell her what to do. I told her I was honored that she’d talked to me because it was clear that she was a very kind person.
While we talked, I loved her as much as I ever have, do, or ever will love anyone.
She wrote, “You’re probably the last person I spoke to, and you made me very happy.”
I repeated that I cared and told her that no matter what happened, I would never forget her.
Then I prayed. I prayed to my best friend Sue, who died 11 years ago, to send this woman and her cat an angel because they were pure beings and because this world is unbearable and because there are so few we can save even when we think to want it and because please, please, let me save this one person and the creature she loves.
I won’t ever know, probably, if an angel helped her.
Nine hours later, I still open Reddit compulsively, hoping for a message from her.
A couple of months ago, I told my husband that I always thought of him as the angry one, but I’d come to see that I was the angriest person I knew. Angry at the difficulties I’ve gone through, the stigma I’ve experienced, and how people take advantage of my desire to show and receive love. But a couple of hours after talking with this woman, I realized something.
All of my anger was gone.
I didn’t feel lighter. I felt repurposed.
In the moments during which I talked to her, loving kindness was the golden pillar on which all life balanced.
It always is.
I will never forget.
I will never forget you.