I am a newborn foal, a furry white rabbit with pink eyes, an adorable black, white and tan 6 week old puppy curled inside a warm hand; a 19-year-old dying cat. I am someone’s life-long companion and friend; I give unconditional love. I have meant more to some people than most friends. I am a pet.
The 19-year-old cat was laid to rest a few days ago. She was a well-loved cat who slept with her owner and gave her happiness every day, all the time and especially when times were tough. They were each others comfort. When the cat lay dying, her mother/owner gave her one last precious gift. She ended the long journey with pain and put her out of the miserable, uncomfortable life she had known for many years. It was probably the hardest thing she has had to do in a very long time but she did it for me and I know how hard that must have been. Letting go of someone or something you love is never easy. Never.
I know; I speak from experience. Letting someone go is sometimes the truest test of love. I gave that permission to my dad when he lay dying in the hospital and was just clinging on by a very weak thread so delicate it was almost like a fiber. I talked to his nurse and told him to give my dad a secret message that included it was “okay to let go” and that “we would all take care of each other,” my mom, my sister and I. He died 20 minutes later. Do I believe he heard the message and felt it? I do; I have to.
The pain of life is like a current that runs through all of us. Sometimes the current is low, sometimes it’s very high. We need people, friends, family, pets, something to believe in to help us get through the challenges and the losses we face in life. Life changes so fast it’s hard to keep up, but we have no choice but to try; it’s hard to do it all alone. No matter who we choose to love, no matter what. Sometimes, we all need a little help and mostly, not always, it is ours for the asking; and it is ours for the taking.
We are buoyed by our loved ones when life is down, and when life is up, we sing together in joyful harmony. Life, though, is not just about the good times, really, it’s about how we cope, who we lean on and who we love. It is about joy and sorrow. It is knowing when to love and knowing when to let go. It is hard and painful and exuberant and joyful, every day there is some surprise. Just try to “ride the waves” a friend once told me, up and down and never, let go, until you have to and you will know,deep inside, when the time is right.
For my friend: Michal. In Memory of Dusty.