Sunday, February 21, 2010
I know the rhythm of life has joys and griefs and I expect them, honor them, and am willing to keep my hand open through all of them. But ah, the overwhelming sadness and raw emotions that touch me in grief always surprise me, double me over, make me thoughtful, and then remind me of all the moments of grief that have touched my life. It is breathtaking, and leaves me sobbing.
And then, every so often I wonder if, in any given life, the joy outweighs the grief. I think it certainly does in mine, but still, in the middle of sad I have quite a time of getting back to ok and beyond ok to joy again.
So I said goodbye to little Luka on Friday, February 5th. I didn't expect the visit to the veteranary specialists to be a goodbye, although I honestly think I knew in my heart that we were coming to this, as I approached the day with an absolute feeling of dread. I had held that little cat on my lap for weeks, sleeping with her curled up on my legs, carrying her around just to be near her. She didn't want to go to the vet and cried at me the whole time we were there, even though I held her close, even though I whispered in her ear. Seems she had a sense of dread about the whole thing as well.
After the very knowledgeable specialist examined her, she talked with me for almost 45 minutes while we went through every option and every outcome. I was surprised, sick, at a loss. There really were no options. Nothing with more than a 20% chance of success, nothing without lots of pain for the cat. She was honest with me while I cried. She gave me time to consider and answered every question. And then she left and let me hold my kitty for 10 minutes or so while I told her how much I loved her, and cried - and Luka cried too, the whole time.
Ah dearie me, how we do love our animals. Luka had been with me for 20 years, through many things good and hard, and had always loved me so much. She was our attack cat, keeping the house safe and growling when strangers came to the door. She patrolled our yard and kept other animals away, while never going outside our boundaries.
The morning that Mr. Bryant was fixing breakfast for the kids before school and the mouse came up on the counter through the little hole by the stove, he raced for Luka and pointed her at the mouse. I will never forget how she turned up her nose and when he put her down on the counter, as the mouse scampered down the hole, and she just jumped to the floor and walked away. Oh, how he talked about her that day and how we all laughed! He would tease about what a worthless cat she was, too proud to catch a mouse when we needed her too! He told the story to all his co-workers, and grumbled the whole day long. And then, when he came home from work, there she was sitting in the den looking at him, with the dead mouse at her feet.
She was the queen of the roost, reining over three big dogs and two other male cats during her time with us, and using her claws to keep everyone in line. She was her own cat and while being independent all her days she also gave us love love love.
When Karla brought her to us we already had those two grown male cats and two of those big dogs in the house, and I could barely agree to take her in. But then she was tiny and I couldn't say no, there was no where for her to go. And I didn't know she had Maine Coon in her and that she would grow big and sweet to us while protecting us as her own.
For more than 30 years I have had cats in the house, and now there are none. All of them have been truly wonderful and I have loved them each with a passion. Seems like the more little souls we have to love around here, the more love I have to pass around! I know we will see about more kittens soon, but for now the grief is an honor to this wonderful cat, and to all the wonderful cats I have had the honor to know.