This 4 1/2 x 6 1/4 inch notecard features an image of Tam Estavida Cat. According to the artist, when Tam was just a newborn kitten, his life hung in the balance. Through a combination of luck and the intervention of medical professionals, somehow, Tam pulled through. It was the memory of that experience which led Tam to become a doctor and devote his life to others. On the back of the card, buried in the details of Tam’s life and career, the artist writes that Tam came to realize that “in the most challenging times, even in experiences of hardship or sorrow, there were sparks of joy and growth and connection to be found.”
The inside of the card is blank, so why not spark a connection of your own by writing a personal note to someone special in your life?
Here is Tam’s full story as told to the artist and as printed on the back of the card.
When Tam Estavida Cat was just a kitten, no more than a few days old, his health and very life were hanging by a thread. Thanks only to myriad serendipitous good graces and kind hearts did he even pull through. While one wouldn’t think memories at that age would take hold, these did. Tam knew he wanted to give the same support, love and kindness to others in need. And so, many years later, he became a doctor.
On his breaks at the hospital, he joins so many in wonder as they stand, faces pressed to the nursery window, marveling at the new life resting there. Being a doctor, Tam sees a lot. Of lives new, of lives lost, of lives challenged, and lives filled with hope and opportunity. He’s learned that whether a life lasts one fleeting second or an entire century, it’s significant. Why is it, he muses, that those gathered at that window are so enamored by the tiny infants. Almost as if we believe that, with each passing day, our lives lose a little of that glow, sparkle, wonderment?
During his patient visits, with stethoscope to chest after chest, he thinks about this. If a life of even one heartbeat is meaningful and precious, then shouldn’t every single, successive heartbeat be treated with the same reverence; as being a gift, and just as meaningful and precious? Rather than wishing and wasting moments away, there is strength; awareness; wisdom; and evolvement to be mined. Tam started looking for the treasures in each. He soon realized that even in the most challenging times, even in experiences of hardship or sorrow, there were sparks of joy and growth and connection to be found.
On days when the hospital is in full triage mode and stress and heartache are palpable, Tam will pause for a quick moment, put his trusty stethoscope to his lips and remind himself with a whisper that life is right here, right now, and that every single heartbeat matters.