I don't remember how my cat got a last name. Not ours, for sure--I've never known a "McGillicutty" in my life, but he was one. Nine years of warmth, wrestling, stalking, pouncing and laughter. Five moves, the birth of my second son, my divorce...Angus was there for it all. When I went days without crying so my boys' world would be secure--Angus curled up next to me while I sobbed in the dark. When my youngest, Brennan, was in the hospital after a post-op hemorrhage, Angus slept on his pillow until he returned home.
And now he's gone.
It was a blockage....and the potassium rose in his blood, slowing his heart--there was nothing the vet could do. So sudden...this afternoon I shooed him out of my lap and he stood watching me paint for a while. And 7 hours later he's gone.
We do have another cat, Bartimaeus. Still a kitten, he's kitty skittish and playful. Angus had almost a...languid maturity that I adored. Every year we throw this huge Soup party....last year, 60+ people in our house, and they marveled how Angus lay stretched out in the middle of the living room floor. He was confident in his domain. He observed, supervising the frivolity of the evening...he was king.
My intellectual mind is lecturing my weeping one. How we war within ourselves at times. I called my sister. She said, "I wish I could take your tears away--but crying is the acknowledgement of having truly loved...and lost." She's right. Perhaps the entire purpose of our pets is to practice this grief. To own a pet, to love--anything at all--is to invest with no guarantee of return. Life is so amazing, so beautiful and so fragile. I cannot fathom how you would even breathe after the death of a spouse or child. I know we find strength for what we face in each day. Sometimes I look back at the sinkholes in my past...it took chains and hooks and ropes to haul myself out of a few of those. The human soul is truly astounding in what it can endure.
Today I'm sad. Tomorrow I have to tell my children. Their sorrow will overshadow mine. But they will grow stronger, more compassionate for their pain. My heart aches....
What a crazy, marvelous, piercingly tender world this is.