This blog assumes a few things.
One- that you have seen, heard of or read about the transition from being in an earthly incarnation to suddenly not.
Two-that you can see the humor in the inappropriateness of the mixture of language and shock with a side helping of grief.
My childhood pet died after I had already moved to the West Coast. One day he was alive and barking on the other end of the phone, and one day they had put him down. I was sad, but let’s face it, I’m an Aquarian and my grief button doesn’t really get triggered until I see what others people’s emotions are doing. It’s the strong Alien nature within me.
When I was twelve or so my Mother’s old boyfriend who I loved and cherished drowned. My mom came into my room one Summer morning before my drama camp and put her arms around me and started crying. She finally eeked out that Steve had died and if felt inappropriate for me to grieve since my Mom clearly needed someone to be strong. I was a weirdly empathic child who has turned into an even weirder empathic adult.
When I was in my early twenties my Grandfather, a sweet gentle soul passed after numerous strokes. My last memory of visiting him is vivid with my grandmother holding his hand and him spinning her wedding ring around her finger. They were awful together–but underneath it until the end, they were for each other.
My Grandmother followed quickly thereafter and I was on the West Coast with a broken back and unable to fly to the funeral. I sent a poem which they read aloud at the gathering. A feeble attempt at being a part of the experience yet still keeping me away from the realness of other peoples immediate grief.
Yes, aunts and uncles died. Friends of friends.
But somehow I remained unscathed.
I have helped numerous folks cross over, watching as their bodies dissolve into the light and their field is drenched in the warm loveliness of peace. But that is nothing to grieve about. It’s beautiful beyond belief.
So here we are, in my 40th year that I am both loving and hating in equal amounts. Loving because it’s freaking amazing and hating because the change required to keep up with all the shifting around me is enough to make a sweet soul like myself go mad.
But this brings us to my sweet cat friend, Chloe. And her mom, my chosen sister.
I first met Chloe over ten years ago when she left her owner two doors down and started hanging out in Jess’s house. She was an Orange Tabby and she was spunky and wonderful. I was the only one she ever tolerated picking her up because I’m so tall and I would walk her around and show her life at 6 feet above.
Every time I went over she was there speaking to me upon arrival and letting me pet and hold her.
A few years ago her health started declining and Jess enlisted the help of a Shaman and pet communicator. They would talk every three weeks or so and Chloe started teaching all these lessons we never get to hear from our pets. Like how special she is from Chloe’s eyes. And her urgings for Jess to open her heart and love others the way she loves Chloe.
Then last Thursday Chloe (through the Shaman) told Jess it was time for her to leave. That she needed help. That only Jess could make it fast and painless and that she was ready.
Jess was not ready.
Who is ever really ready to put their companion down? Their friend?
Now I am Aquarian, and I don’t know what I would do in this situation, my attachment level to people and things is not very strong. Except I have this one piece of pottery….
But Jess feels. She feels for the planet and all beings, and this is a very different affair for her, even though she knew it was coming for over a year.
When I arrived on Friday Chloe started meowing at me from the door. It was this insistant stay right there meow. I did as instructed with all my crap in my arms and she slowly ambled around chicken wire and through the way overgrown front patch of garden space and stood in the front center. She looked me in the eyes and gave this strong meow. It had purpose. It said, I want to be buried here. Please inform the others.
“Chloe, are you showing me where you want to be buried,” I asked.
She just looked at me until it was clear that was in fact what she wanted, and then gingerly scampered off.
I informed Jess, and she fell apart. Let the weekend begin.
I brought dark chocolate and red wine, like any chosen sister would. We spent time being with Chloe. We held her. She didn’t like being carried anymore because of the pain in her hips but she let me.
I had long talks with her. I told her when she got back up to her cat heaven to find the people heaven and find the royal “ME” and slap me and tell me to send better help. She looked at me and walked away.
And then it was Monday morning and the Vet was two hours late. Can you imagine what it’s like when you are doing something so hard for you and the vet doesn’t show up? Can you imagine the head games you could play…see i’m not supposed to do this! I should call it off!
But she didn’t. She held firm and we sat in the front garden where Chloe had planted herself over her soon to be grave, basking in the sun.
When the vet arrived within a little while we got started….and I’m going to skip to the part I want to write about.
Chloe was sick, yes. But she was alive. She had life in her eyes. Her heart was beating and her breathing was difficult so you could really see it in her lungs. So after the first tranquilizer shot, when we had her laying on the deck in her favorite position, and Jess is losing herself in grief right next to her, and we are all petting her and tears flew like rivers, even from the sweet vet who wasn’t unmoved by the grief and more importantly the love we had for this sweet soul.
And then, when she lost her blink reflex, the euthanasia happened. And within minutes, Chloe was gone.
And I mean Chloe was gone. Her body was there, but Chloe was gone. The life was gone from her eyes. In seconds, it just left.
And yes, we were crying. And yes, I was holding Jess and and rocking her and grounding into the Earth and offering strength just like I did for my Mom all those years ago. And now I am old enough to feel as well as nurture which was nice to notice.
And we stayed that way for some time.
Finally we moved Chloe to the front window, her favorite spot. Full Southern Sun. I put flowers around her and she looked so peaceful. I put my hands on her and felt only my energy. I said a Hebrew prayer that always seems available to me and then I said some Hindi chants that resonate fully with my soul.
And then the doorbell rang and the Pizza we had ordered because we were famished arrived. I walked to the door and opened it, still in my altered space and the Pizza guy says,
“That is one happy cat.”
I never thought that you could see through the window. I never thought someone besides us would see her. It felt like a private viewing because we were so wrapped up in ourselves.
“She’s dead,” I said. “I mean, we just killed her.”
“I mean…it was humane. Shit. yes, she is very happy.”
He just stared at me. And I stared back, willing my mind to have something coherent to say. But nothing came.
“Thanks,” I said. Backing up with the Pizza.
And I thought, she does look very happy.