By Marie-Claude Gachon, France
When a family of humans and pets face a severe challenge, the power of their combined love can create miracles. Our family came to know this truth firsthand.
My son, Gavin, isn’t able to walk far due to a rare genetic skin condition called epidermolysis bullosa. When he was very young, although he had a hard life, Gavin was quite a happy boy. He lived in the present, and the other children loved him. When he left primary school, the head teacher said in front of everyone, “Thank you, Gavin, for bringing so much happiness to the school.”
This was all about to change.
Day by day, life for my son became more challenging and very frustrating. He couldn’t play football or any sport that required putting weight on his feet. He wanted to play the guitar but couldn’t because it would have had devastating effects on his hands.
Although he no longer moved around much, he could draw and was very good at it. The three cats in our home at the time were Vanille, Twister, and Kiwi. They were our loving companions. Gavin enjoyed depicting the family cats as noble and strong. I concluded that his love story with cats must have been a very old one.
A Turn for the Worse
When he was fourteen, Gavin was given medicine for his skin that made him very depressed. He stopped taking it, but the medication had destroyed his happiness. He hated his body.
Nothing helped lift Gavin’s spirits and he became suicidal. “I never asked to be here—to be born,” he’d say angrily.
“We don’t always choose what we get,” I’d answer. “But you are a gift for all of us. I can just thank you for being the wonderful and very special you.” Little we ever said helped to cheer him.
Gavin started dressing in all black, staying in his dark room with the blinds closed, keeping the lights off, and listening to heavy-metal music. His dad and I were so worried as our son became increasingly depressed and wouldn’t talk to anybody. His schoolteachers sent him to counselors and psychologists. He refused to talk to them.
To the Rescue
Vanille, Kiwi, and Twister took over in our darkest hour. They started following Gavin everywhere. They stayed with him. They cuddled. They loved him day and night. We saw Gavin growing closer and closer to them.
Although teenagers tend to have problems communicating with adults and can reject everyone, it’s hard to reject cats. My son could not keep Vanille’s, Kiwi’s, and Twister’s love away. Bathing in their friendship and comfort, he started to utter a few words and proper sentences. When he finally opened the blinds and let the light in his room, we knew he was on the right track again.
Throughout our son’s healing, the cats purred on. Kiwi clung to his shoulders. Twister sat on his lap. Vanille followed him around and took on the night shift.
They were with Gavin constantly, looking at him with loving eyes. They helped him. They changed him. It was amazing. They were miracle cats.
Whenever I think about this traumatic period of Gavin’s life, I feel so very grateful for these wonderful furry Souls, for their golden hearts, and for the miracle of their love for Gavin. My beautiful son wants to live his life again.