Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Had my birthday this past Saturday. Of course I celebrated by having a burial ceremony in the back yard for my cat Mocha (see previous post.) It was a lovely ceremony. My husband's very compassionate toward the kids when they lose a pet. He buried her before I picked up my sons, so they wouldn't have to see her (unfortunately his eleven year old daughter was the one who found her in the basement.) Then he let each child (and me) put some dirt on her grave and say something nice about her. Noah, my youngest son, went first. "I had her my whole life. Thank you for being a good cat,"he said bravely as he shoveled some dirt on the grave. Then he stepped away sniffling and handed the shovel back to Rick. Adrienne went next and thanked her for being a nice cat as well. Then she handed the shovel to Tanner, the oldest. A few weeks ago he had come up to me with a serious and mournful look on his face. He was always forgetting to feed and water her and I had reminded him to do so that day. When he walked in and called her name she didn't move. He had to walk up and touch her to get her to stir and it panicked him. I know he was worried that his forgetting to feed her and water her the previous day had killed her. Luckily, when Adrienne found her she had plenty of food and water, so that wasn't what put her over the edge.
But....my oldest son could not put a shovel full of earth on top of her on Saturday. He just stood there trying to draw his tears back into his eyes.
So on my 38th birthday I lose my cat of nineteen years. Most people would be depressed about that. But in her chosing that day in particular she helped to remind me how very briefly each of us is here. I regret her last few years were spent rather lonely in the basement (Rick's daughter has asthma and is very allergic to cats. Through limited exposure her allergy seems to be decreasing, but we couldn't have Mocha up in the living area of the house.) I actually considered putting her to sleep the last few years between the lack of quality of life she had and her poor health. But the vet never recommended it, and I just couldn't see ending her life because she didn't have much of one by my standards. Perhaps she was content to live out her final couple of years sleeping in a cool dry place, with enough water and food to sustain her. Who am I to judge?
The kids asked where Mocha went after she was gone. I told them I really don't know. But it made me think some more about that. Life is short. Life is a beautiful gift. I think that afterlife exists in what we leave behind us. The memories we have created. Our genenitic memories we have passed onto our children and our children's children.
Here are some images of memories of me and mine...