March 07, 2011
Called home to Egypt
Back in November I wrote a tough blog entry about animal companions and how we as a species tend not to do right by them. I am here today to confess that even when you do the right thing, it hurts, devastates, and lingers. Back in November I wrote about "What's a cat worth?" and described the adoption fee for our newest addition to the household. I did not know then that so soon -- way too soon -- we would say Goodbye to that little squeaky black-and-white girl kitten we had known for less than a year.
I went into St. Andrew's yesterday to be a LEM with my heart broken. Our rector Alan asked me how I was ... and I tried to give him the steely-eyed Templar Can-Do description I had rehearsed on the walk downtown. Not a chance. I finally had to say, "And now I have to stop talking about it, because I have to be a LEM and I have to get to where I can do that this morning." Tears welled in my throat and my already swollen eyes started to burn again.
Almost like losing a child.
That Sunday evening I had a phone call from my mother with more sadness: the son of one of my favorite cousins had died unexpectedly at age 22, a handsome, vivacious young man, a senior, ready to get out there and live life to its fullest. He had passed away in October and now his dad was able to contact we more distant relations with the news. On Tuesday I got to talk to my cousin in person about the event and aftermath, the investigation (when young folks die on campus, there's always an investigation), and how my cousin was managing. "You just can't make sense of it," he said. "It was just bad luck."
In fact it was bad luck that took our little Squeak from us, way too soon. Coming up on four years old, barely out of kittenhood, as far as we knew from the adoption agency, she had never lived a happy, fully adult cat life in a "forever home."
Yesterday we received a sympathy card from our Vet hospital, and all the signees acknowledged that t was too soon to lose such a sweet girl. The only "comfort" that salvages anything from eith of these situations is knowing that whatever time my cousin had with his son, or we had with our Squeak, though way too short, was filled with the purest love.
And that is the best luck of all. Having a heart that can be so desperately broken is in fact the true blessing of the Creator. My cousin said: in his son's memory, live life, grab it with both hands, don't let go, be in it every minute. Having to make the terrible decision regarding the Final Intervention on the part of a beloved companion is full-spectrum Life.
As for our Squeak: through tears we rejoice that she has been called home to Egypt to serve the Great Goddess in her temple, as was revealed in that movie long ago, The Three Lives of Thomasina. She will stand in the mighty company of her ancestors the great cats and, we hope, give testimony concerning the two silly middle-aged women who gave her the "forever home" she finally knew. We will not fear that judgment.