We struck up a conversation in the hallway afterwards and she loved the title of my book, If I gave you God’s phone number….. So I added her to my book promotion listserv and we’ve stayed in touch intermittently.
This summer when my e-book came out, I sent a broad announcement out and she resurfaced in a response. And she asked me to consider contributing a guest-blog to her popular blogsite called “Madam Mayo.” This is where she and weekly guest-bloggers contribute various pieces on “books, bees, cheese, creative writing, human potential, Mexico, pugs, screen publishing, soundwork” among other fascinating topics.
Now I don’t know much about pugs. Nor bees. But I do believe that I’m a human with potential. ;~)
So I took her up on the invite and decided to put something together on famous phone numbers. Since, of course, my book is about a ‘phone number.’ Here it is.
Now, I have to also mention the C. M. Mayo is an international expert on Maximilian, the Austrian Prince who attempted, unsuccessfully, to become the Emperor of Mexico in the middle of the 19th Century. She wrote a novel based on the history of Maximilian in Mexico called The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire. She also has extensive information and links about Maximilian on her website.
Here’s the interesting piece. My cat was called Maximilian. I did not pull that name out of mid-air. His name came to me after weeks of trying to figure out what it was. I actually heard it one day while gardening. This is the kind of thing that happens when one starts studying with Native American teachers. He was born at my teacher’s house and she told me that she knew who he was but I had to figure out his name myself. And one afternoon I heard it and knew immediately deep in my gut that was his name.
I will probably be asking people to stretch their beliefs here, but this cat was one of the more regal cats that I and my friends have ever met. People commented on how he was more of a ‘little man’ than a cat. The way that he strutted around the house and slept on cushions. This was no tough macho alley type of cat. He actually acted in an aristocratic way.
Max took his role of guardian in my life very seriously also. Wherever I went outside he would try to escort me. When I went to a neighbor’s for dinner and movies, he would follow me and attempt to come into her house. When we would not let him in, he would wait for me outside and be there when I emerged out the door at the end of the evening. Occasionally we went for several mile walks together into the park across the street from me. He was an exceptional cat.
According to this native teacher, there are times when people come back as animals. It’s for a variety of reasons that I don’t fully understand. And she believed that my cat was the very same soul that lived that tragic life as the last prince of the Mexican Empire. According to her, he had chosen to come back as a cat a number of times since he suffered so much in his last life as a person and had such power issues that he was trying to work them out before returning as a human again.
And in a very strange way, Max seemed to think he was a two-legged most of the time. He was in love with me and would get all aroused when I was reading on the couch on lying in my bed. It was rather embarrassing and I tried to discourage him by reminding him that he was a four-legged and I was a two-legged. But he would act very rejected when I would push him off the couch or bed so I finally just surrendered to this idiosyncrasy and let him continue to do it.
Max died in April of this spring. He had been having health issues with diabetes and kidney issues. it seemed he had a sensitive system which was in line with his sensitive bearing.
On Good Friday morning, he just looked at me and told me that he had had it and he was not going to eat any more. His communication was extremely clear as he stared at me intensely and refused to come into the kitchen to eat. He then trotted up the steps to my bedroom, his sanctuary. He had a tough winter vomiting almost daily and the medical treatments just not working.
On Monday morning, the day after Easter, I took Max to the vet’s to be put to sleep. He had been getting weaker and weaker all weekend. And because of my commitment to honoring the four-leggeds in my life as I would honor any human, I asked a part-Mi’kmaq man who was in the region for several days if he might have the time to lead Max’s burial ceremony before he returned to his home in New York State.
This gifted medicine man agreed to do it. It was a beautiful ceremony with prayers and Native American flute and tobacco out in a large wooded area west of Baltimore. We even created a medicine wheel of stones on the top of the grave site when we were finished. It was a beautiful tribute to an amazing cat who graced my life with tremendous love and devotion for eleven years.
Later that evening, the part-Mi’kmaq man shared with me how he and Max had been conversing spiritually before Max completely passed at the end of the ceremony. According to him, Max did confide that he was the Prince and that he was torn since he felt very “sentimental” about me and wanted to come back as my cat again. Yet he also felt that it might be time for him to come back as a human again instead.
That night I gave Max my blessings that he did not need to return to be with me again if he was called elsewhere.
So who was my cat? I am certain that this story is going to be rather hard to believe for many. But truth can be stranger than fiction. And as one native teacher told me once: “The Universe is the greatest recycler.” And considering how awful Maximilian’s death by court martial was in Mexico when he was taken prisoner with two of his generals, maybe, just maybe I was able to honor this amazing soul with more love and respect with his burial ceremony on the forested hill outside of Baltimore this spring.