EACH that we lose takes part of us;
A crescent still abides,
Which like the moon, some turbid night,
Is summoned by the tides.
April 2, ‘15
My very dear non-human best friend and cat of my heart died yesterday afternoon in my arms in his Aunt Cindy’s car on the drive to the Veterinarian’s office late yesterday afternoon.
He’d been quiet and peaceful for most of the drive with his head on my shoulder and me cradling his blanketed body. At first, he fought whatever it was that had so suddenly gripped him. He fought and moaned with such force I instinctively clutched the scruff of his neck to keep him from bolting, from scratching and biting. I was astounded he had so much power and energy left in his body. No sooner had I pulled his head back – the way a mother cat will to maintain control of her tiny offspring – he relaxed. I resettled him into the basket on my lap and that is when I felt him go limp and felt Life leaving his body. I knew he was dead when we stopped at the stop sign at the corner of Rt 118 and Rt 202, right across from the big and beautiful Congregational Church on the corner.
We arrived at the Vet’s 5 minutes later. The staff was expecting us and when we told him that Albert had already passed, we were escorted to a room at the far end of the building. It was the very same room where, on May 25th, ’09, I first met and ‘fell in love’ with a kitten I named Albert when he was 2 months old.
And there he was, dead in his basket on the examining table, some 5+ years later in that very same room where our friendship and our journey together had begun, a few feet from the corner where I’d scooped up his tiny body, clutched him to my heart and called him Albert. He’d relaxed, leaned his head into my shoulder and began to purr.
The sorrow I feel at his passing and the pain of missing him is equivalent to the joy of our first meeting and our 5+ years together. Which somewhat helps explain to me why today I feel so much joy in the midst of my sorrow.