Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Into The West

I'm going to take a few days away from posting anything after this one (although I might put a comment or two on other blogs). I need some time to get my head back where it needs to be. And I need to find my heart again. By way of reason, I'm cross-posting what I wrote on a membership site:

Sometimes it seems like I’ve almost got all the answers to all the questions in the world, and then something gets in my way.

Last night, death got in my way -- Amber's death.

My wonderful, silky-fluffy feline companion of twelve and a half years -- never before sick a day in her pampered life -- had a seizure that left her blind and paralized on her left side.

Her crying out for me went right to my marrow -- this cat was almost two years old before we knew she wasn't mute -- she never vocalized! Once in a blue moon, she'd give a peculiar little squeak, but she never meowed. After the seizure was over, she cried and cried for me -- she couldn't see me at all. My hands on her calmed her somewhat (healing touch works wonders for animals), but she was still clearly in distress, and over-breathing to the point of hyperventilating (more than one breath per second is not normal for a cat). She tried to stand and walk, but kept falling over.

Time for the vet.

I took her to an after-hours emergency vet who confirmed my worst thoughts: a probable blood clot to the brain -- partial paralysis and blindness were its effects. She might be able to survive a couple more years on daily doses of various medicines, but she wouldn't regain her sight, and she'd always be partially paralyzed.

No. Not my Amber.

Not my gentle queen, who would sit squarely in front of me on my footstool and tilt her head till her right ear touched her right shoulder -- her "adorable" look that signalled her desire to be combed. Not my reciprocating beauty, who would stretch out her neck and tongue to groom my hair as I was grooming hers.

Not my guardian-in-the-night, who would sleep on the floor at the foot of my bed, no doubt defending me from bad dreams.

Not my movie-watching feline, who had a definite taste for action films, and her own chair in which to sit and watch them.

Not my musical cat, who played the coil-spring doorstop so persistently, often in the middle of the night; and who paid close attention during band practises, in case someone left a stray instrument for her to stand guard over.

Not my foot-fetishist who never saw a shoe she didn't love, and who would sit patiently waiting for me to take off my boots and then my socks -- and then look for the socks to wrestle with.

Not my soft-paw, who never unsheathed her claws, and so sometimes would simply slide right off a slight but slippery slope, trying to look dignified all the way to the floor.

Not my Sprawl Cat, who slept flat on her back in the middle of the floor, with one arm out to the side and the other tucked in to her chest, perfectly confident that she would never be stepped on.

No. Not my Amber.

I borrowed a comb from the vet, and asked her to give me a few minutes with Amber. I sang to her as I groomed her one last time -- Into The West. I have never heard any other transition song with such perfect meaning. My girl must have thought so, too, because she stopped fussing and purred while I combed her. I told her that Bast would meet her at the Gate, and that we would see her again when our own times came.

Then I gave the vet the signal to administer the final shot, and Amber died quietly in my arms with my tears soaking her silky head.

She'll be cremated, and her ashes will be scattered over flower beds in one of the local parks -- that's standard procedure unless special arrangements are wanted. But I couldn't think of anything more special than to have the residue of her body's life contribute to the nourishment of other, new life. The wheel of the year goes 'round, and the cycle of life, death, and life again never ends. And it's only her body that is gone, that I will miss with an aching heart.

The spirit of Amber -- Bast would call it her ka -- lives on.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Ian Scott said...

Sorry to hear this, my friend. My condolences.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Dear girl, I am so sorry for your loss. Take heart that she got to have all those wonderful years with you.

Thursday, March 02, 2006 4:35:00 AM  
Blogger Dez said...

We each feel the pain of mourning in our own way, but knowing of Amber's death reminds me of that frantic trip to the vet and the last moments I spent with my old friend - and I know something of the pain you must be feeling right now.

I am again reminded, and comforted, by the fact that death is painful only to the survivors, for the dead suffer no more.

I took me many years to accept another cat into my heart after the death of Goblin - raised from kittenhood and twelve years of growing closer, then to be separated by that dark veil.

But, there behind me, perched on his chair and watching my every move, is Mustafa. Every bit as loving and affectionate as Goblin was, but unique and different as all individuals are.

The circle comes around, and love finds us in our darkest hours.

The cycle of mourning must walk its path, and healing awaits on the other side. When the time is right, I know you will come back to us. You will find us waiting.

Friday, March 03, 2006 9:41:00 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

Chimera, I'm so sorry. The truly unconditional love of a pet is a great comfort to have but a great loss to endure. My thoughts are with you.

Saturday, March 04, 2006 8:01:00 AM  
Blogger Sean McCormick said...

I'm so sorry. :-(

Monday, March 20, 2006 10:29:00 AM  

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