Tip O’Neill said it about Politics. It applies even more when it comes to Priorities – “All Priorities are Local”. The Great Unpleasantness might be a Big Deal if one lives within 200 miles of The Old Well. Appreciating the significance of one’s own priorities to those 8,000,000,000 Chinese or to one’s next-door neighbor is, I think, a mark of maturity. Sometimes maturity is a real kick in the gut. Case in point…..
Saturday morning at 9:15 AM, I held our little 12 y/o tuxedo cat – Annabelle – in my arms as she “went to sleep”. She has crossed the veil into Cat Heaven…. crossed The Rainbow Bridge.
If you are a pet person you understand. “Cat people” and “dog people” dance to slightly different drummers. When it comes to losing them in our conscious world it is the same. It really hurts….. it hurts a whole lot.
Columns about losing a pet are a staple among those who do what I do. “Dealing with bureaucracy” is another one. Writing about the experience is cathartic and, unlike most of you, we have a vehicle to do so. I want to be careful both out of respect for Annabelle and out of respect for the similar moments you have experienced. It’s way too personal to over-exaggerate…. to do so tends to trivialize it.
I’m not going to subject you to a litany of what Annabelle meant to me…. the routines she and I had developed over the dozen years she was a member of our family. The personality she had and the imaginary personality I gave her as she and I navigated Life’s complexities together. Yes, I knew it was imaginary but often times “our world” was a heck of a lot nicer place than what we call reality.
As soon as I told you what happened Saturday morning you went immediately to your own similar experiences. Or you projected how you might deal with that eventuality with your own “Annabelle” someday.
A pet is certainly a member of the family. But tends to bond to one family member more than the others. Annabelle and I shared that bond. Blondie and Kid both loved her in their own way but there was no question that Annabelle became “Dad’s cat” some time ago.
She had developed a condition that was incurable. “Putting her to sleep” was the only option for all concerned. The staff at the veterinary clinic were incredibly understanding. I can’t imagine sharing such moments with pets & their people on a regular basis. They seemed to know exactly what to say and how to say it to Annabelle and to me. Their compassion really helped.
If you have never read The Rainbow Bridge you HAVE TO….. LINK.
Cats and dogs and dads and moms and kids….. Each can certainly be “a lot of trouble” at times and demanding in his/her own ways. Each will have moments over the years when the rest of the family must understand the term “tough love”.
Blondie, for all her frequent “that damn cat….” mutterings; found the perfect place for Annabelle in a flower bed that Annabelle loved to observe from her window perch.
I have never had an editor with this column. Annabelle was my touchstone. If I ever thought for a moment that any of the foolishness discussed herein was really important, she would jerk a knot in me with her look that said”:
“Life is eating, sleeping, pooping and peeing. Everything else is just “filler” in-between. Speaking of which, my food bowl is empty.”
It’s only been a couple of days. I still think I see her out of the corner of my eye… quietly entering the room like Carl Sandberg’s Fog ….. “on little cat feet”. She always seemed to know when I had written enough and it was time to pay attention to her.
Now I’ve done both.