White Kitty, or Shnoods as he was more often called, was with us for only a few years. When he first came to the back door and adopted us we were told that he had FLPV, a feline virus that will eventually cause cancer. From the very beginning we knew our time with him was limited. He was a constant reminder of impermanence in our lives.
Yesterday, we took our 6 year old with us and all held hands as the vet administered the two shots. One to gently put him to sleep and the other to stop his heart. We talked about how there's the physical part of the cat, his body and all his bones and such. And the energy part of the cat, the part that makes him special and alive that we can't see or touch. That giving him the shots would allow the energy part to leave the physical body. That we would have the body cremated and the ashes sent back to us in a box.
Ashes? Like the sand around the campfire?
Yes. Like that.
On the way over my daughter asked if Shnoods was going to get angel wings like Phoebe's uncle.
Um, I don't know. We don't believe that people get angel wings.
Why not? What do we believe?
We believe that a person's or cat's energy leaves there body and then finds a new body to come back in.
But who is right?
I don't know. I think they are both right. It just depends what you believe.
I am feeling a bit sad for my daughter. I would like to be able to give her the definitive answer, but I don't have it. She is doomed to be indoctrinated into a mythology of confusion.
The vet said something about the cat going to heaven. I know she was just trying to be kind.
But what if you don't believe in a heaven? It seems just as reasonable to think that our souls, energy, being leave our body and then find a new body to be reborn into as it does that there is a place where every soul of every person who ever lived is floating around together eating bonbons and playing bocce. Or that our kitty is playing with all the other kitties that have ever died. Are there really enough mice for all of them?
And then there is my dad. We die. That's the end. Less romantic to be sure, and yet still somewhat comforting to me.
After we came home from the vet daughter and husband went to the store. They came back with a Monopoly Game. The rest of the evening was spent oscillating between learning how to play Monopoly and being very, very sad.
When I tucked my daughter into bed at the end of the day she asked if I felt big happiness and then big sadness, followed by smaller happiness and smaller sadness. She said that her heart was black and grey. She said that her heart wasn't broken this time. It was just gone.
Yes. Sadness. We feel grief in waves. Sometimes it's overpowering. Sometimes it goes away for a while, only to storm back in demanding our attention. I tell my daughter that she can cry as much as she needs to. To let the sadness out. That it's okay to go to school and do your regular things. The sadness will be waiting for you when you're ready. I tell her it's okay to not feel sad. I want her to learn to be able to hold all the emotions, happy and sad, mad and afraid.
Dear WK, Thank you for bringing so much love and magic to our lives. And for the amazing lesson in love and grief that we have been able to share this week. We are on the lookout for a cat that loves sliced turkey as much as you did and hope to run into you soon.