Peace in the sadness

My lovely cat, Einstein, is now in heaven as we speak, frolicking with our other loving creatures that we have adopted and cared for over the years.  He is full bodied, able, and meowing his head off.  He is eating like there is no tomorrow, and will now watch over me……….

Saying goodbye to him was as surreal as it was completely sad.  I had thought about where I was taking him last evening for most of the last few days, and almost the whole ride home from Pittsburgh yesterday.  What I would be thinking and feeling as I held him.  How much I would cry.  How badly I would miss him.  How relieved that I would be that he would no longer suffer.

I knew he was suffering, you know.  He told me, and I sensed it.  That is how connected I am to him.  To all of our animals, but to him especially.

I adopted him from the local humane society in 1994.  I had been without a pet for a couple of years, and when I saw him in the cage, six months old, orange and adorable, I knew that he was the one.  He was named for the character dog, Einstein, in Dean Koontz’ first novel, the name of which escapes me at this moment.  A golden lab, in the book.  How that got to an orange cat I am not sure, but it fit him, and it stuck.

Over the last fifteen years, he has moved with me five times.  He was with me for the ending of one relationship, the beginning of this one, the ending and then resumption of this lifelong commitment I now have with my beloved.  He was here with me for the arrival of our daughter.  He saw  me through the most serious illness of my life.  He has been through more milestones with me than any living being.  I have been with him, and he with me, longer than anyone, except my family.

He would lay over my head at night; he would need me to adjust the pillows, just so, so that he could lay right above my head all night long.  Every once in awhile, he would slowly stretch out his front paw, just to touch the top of my head, no claws out.  Just to connect.

All the way to the vet’s office yesterday, I talked to him, and he talked to me.  He was scared, then he would get quiet for a bit, then talk again.  I cried a little bit.  When we arrived there, we had to wait for awhile before the doctor could see us.  His doctor had been the only vet that had ever treated him; he had brought Einstein back from many an illness, one of them during which he almost died.  Doc knew it was time as well, and supported my decision.  He explained what would happen to me, and I knew it was right, and it was right that I was the one there with him, to accompany him.

First, they gave him anethesia, so he would just fall into a sleep.  As he was starting to fall asleep, they brought him to me, to hold him for awhile.  He was a bit awake, but only for a few seconds.  As soon as he was laying heavily on me, I knew he was unconscious.  The grief overwhelmed me, and I sobbed harder than I have for anyone, or anything, in years.  All that he had given my life, all of the moments that were ours alone, came like a flood.  I realized how ready I was, and how my life would have a space where he had been, after he left.

After he died, they brought him back to me, wrapped in a cotton pillowcase that I had brought for him.  I wanted to take him home, to bury him with our other kitties, and our guinea pig.  The tech had drawn a small purple heart with a marker, right where his head was, so I would know where it was in order to hold him.  I held him like an infant in my arms.  He was still.  He was free.  No more pain.  She walked me to my car, carrying all of my belongings so that I just had to carry him.  She just walked with me.  It was truly beautiful.

So many lessons, so much that came to me through this deep, meaningful experience.  Two of the biggest lessons of this journey were about gifts, and about being selfless.

The gift was that I gave him permission to go, I let him, let go.  And, I was with him as he did.  So that he knew for all eternity, how much he was adored and loved.

And, I have to say, that this was one of the most selfless acts that I have ever participated in.  To be with a living creature, to comfort it as it passes to the other side, is amazing and powerful.  For me, the true grief comes afterward, when there is a void in the life where that creature once walked, and breathed, and ate and played and loved.  The void is the grief.  The empty spaces, hundreds of them, in our home where he was.  Where he still is, in so many ways.  It was a lesson in preparation, preparation for letting go and knowing always that letting go is so selfless and loving to others.

Rest so peacefully, my beautiful companion.  You are truly loved.



14 thoughts on “Peace in the sadness

  1. Tears are falling off my cheeks and are dropping on my hands. I can hardly see. I have no words for you. Only time will help but your memory of him will live forever as long as you let it be there.

    Only my best thoughts are with you V. I’m so sorry.

  2. Just pitiful… sweet baby kitty… 😦 So sad.. I hate it when the go on to the other side.. I know it happens, but just doesn’t make it any easier.
    Positive energy and a big hug to you!!

  3. Oh Vanessa. . . I’m sitting at my desk crying right now. What beautiful words you have for your companion.

    It is amazing to me how pure of a love animals give us. They give their love so freely, unconditionally, with no questions asked.

    Your cat was so lucky to have you as her mama. I wish you peace and comfort as you struggle with a life without your kitty.

  4. Leah: You have me misty at my desk! Thank you so much for your compassion and friendship! I appreciate it so much! He is so beautiful, isn’t he?? Life will go on, one day at a time…..

  5. He really is beautiful, and I know through the hurt it’s probably hard to realize, but he you and your cat are so lucky you had such a nice death experience. (If death can ever be nice) 😦

    My husband and I had to put a cat down about 3 years ago. She had some mental issues and starting urinating on everything. She was an older cat, and no one wanted her. It got to the point where we had to put her to sleep. We brought her to the humane society, and they wouldn’t let us be there with her when it happened. I’ll never forget my husband and I handing our cat over, both of us sobbing, and our poor cat screaming out to us. I hope she forgives us and knows that we meant the best by it.

    Okay, sorry for writing you a book. 😀 Animals are just so special, and yours was so lucky you were there with him until the end. 😀

  6. Beautifully expressed…I am shedding tears for both of you. I so understand the connection you had..that circle of love. My dogs..Ringo and Ava “get me” far more than most humans. You know I call Ringo, my dog guru. I just found Ava at the shelter a few months you..I knew she was meant for us the minute she looked into my eyes!! She is teaching all of us things..including Ringo. It is a magical circle of living, learning, and loving.

    I could write so much on this subject, but I’ll let it be. I do want to leave you with something interesting…
    In my last “reading” I was told I had many, many spirit beings around me (I’ve seen some of them). She said it among them are animal spirits.
    So my beloved Saber (he was a red wolf) and your Einstein are near us.

    Good energies to you and peace of heart, my dear.

  7. Leah: Thank you so much for sharing your story. It really is so hard, I still feel so emotional about another cat of ours that we had to take years ago, leaving him there still stays with me.

    I feel blessed to have had him in my life…..

    Gypsy: Thank you for your compassion. It is amazing how animals touch our lives, and how we are forever changed because of it. I am so happy for you that the spirits surrounding you are animal in nature, they know that you are a person that respects that animals as well as humans…..

    And, Saber, a red wolf is close to my heart as well. Thank you so much for your energy and love….V.

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