A couple of weeks ago we noticed the cat was knocking the chess pieces over, and put a box up to protect the chess game. A couple of days later, I realized she was maybe too weak to climb the stairs, and moved her things to one level, and began to fear the worst. A week ago, I was too distressed by her illness to go to work, so I took time off, and in the afternoon, was persuaded to take her to the vet. I didn’t want to, for in my experience, there’s only one outcome from that.
They took her in for tests and treatment, and I went in the next day to visit her. I knew it was more serious, for the doctor brought two other staff in with her to talk with me. She talked to me at length about her organs failing and cancer of this and that and strange growths and abnormalities and being realistic. They said “have to be realistic” a lot.
I already had a bill well over a thousand dollars just from the cost of keeping her alive and finding out what was wrong (everything, basically), but I was willing to spend more if it would help her. They said that even if they managed to save her this time, and get her strong enough to survive chemo-therapy, she wouldn’t last long, and would be in pain, and would never be well again.
I kept thinking that if she saw me, she’d get better.
They took me in to see her, in intensive care, with tubes and bandages around her.
She wanted me to let her go. I communed silently with her, and she wanted to go. The body she was in was dissolving. What we had was love, what we have is love, all we have is love.
“We’re ready,” I told the vet, and we moved on to the next stage immediately.
I looked at her with love while she died in my arms. All is one. There is no longer an apparently separate part of the Universe in called Virgin, but there is still the love we shared, and what she showed me of love, of silent communication, of being fully present with another, of the need for regular affection and attention.
There was a time when I didn’t appreciate those needs, or have enough people close in my life, so the Universe sent me Virge. Now I have learnt those lessons, and now I have humans in my life close enough to be affectionate with, and while my ego, my idea of myself, the illusion that is continuity of consciousness, wanted her to stay, I can glimpse the appropriateness of the timing. From a certain perspective, I can accept it.
I didn’t take any ashes. She is no more that lifeless body than she was what she pooed out the day before.
She is not a collection of atoms.
She is a part of the Universe that manifested separately as a cat for a time, to share love with me, so that I can share love better. (I’m British; it’s not like expressing love is something I grew up with).
I can feel what I felt with her when I lie on a bed with a friend for a cat nap, when I just enjoy tuning into our shared breathing and body heat.
I can feel what I felt with her when I look on my friends with love and lack of judgment, and receive the same from them. I can feel what I felt with her when we socially stroke each other, or just enjoy being in each other’s company.
I can feel even more than I felt with her when I hug my friends, for humans are built to hug humans.
And the conversation with humans is a little more stimulating too, but frankly, it took me this long to find enough humans with enough intellectual interest to be more stimulating than a cat. I’d rather a cat’s silence than the drone of corporate or thoughtless cruelty, of mind-numbing cliché or one-up-manship. Humans who act as if they are separate to the Universe, as if they are or can be better than others, are far more destructive to my peace of mind than the silent acceptance of a cat.
But I grow and change, nurtured by a loving Universe, and people, human and cat, come and go, as will the notionally separate part of the Universe that constitutes this writer.
The only reliable, permanent part of this reality is Love. I remember feeling Love with my cat, I remember feeling Love last night with my friends at the pub, and I dedicate myself to Love. Everything else is but dust and ashes.
I took Virgin to the vet on Wednesday, held her as she died on Thursday, and on Friday paid the enormous bill with a bank loan. Outside the vet, I looked at the bill, and saw the item for “Euth/ routine cremation Cat”, and it, the passing of my close personal companion, Virgin, was complete.
There’s still tears, but I can choose whether I follow tears with more tears, or choose something more kind.
Friday night, I saw a cat on the street as I was heading out. It did a cute show and posed upside down against a wall, and then looked at me with such disappointment when I walked past. I realized I had been called over, so I spent a little time sharing affection with it, before continuing on my way.
I danced the weekend away, and had a lovely quiet time with friends in the pub on Monday night.
I’ve had a few mildly sad moments of expecting to see or tend to the cat, when I remember she is gone, but I don’t make a drama of it, this is just a phenomena of repeated behaviour, and while the separate character of Virgin was in a play that has now ended, the Love behind that character is forever, and Love calls me to be present with life as it is now.
Labels: cat death dying connection attachment love