I went home this weekend to visit my family in Cincinnati. There were many happy reasons for the trip–Easter, my aunt’s birthday, and spending time with one of my closest friends who was also in town. There was also a sad reason–I wanted to be where Toes was before she passed away.
The kitty litter was gone from her room in my parent’s house as was her cheetah taco bed. There were no signs of her fluids or her food.
“She’s really gone,” my mom said to me while we were in there.
Back in Atlanta, David had plans to clear her stuff from our garage during my trip. He checked with me in advance, and I knew what he proposed was the right thing to do. But I didn’t like it.
“I don’t want to move on from the time with her in my life,” I told him.
Accepting the reality of Toes’s death not only means coming to terms with the fact that I no longer have a cat but also facing the inevitable march of time and how death will continue to change the landscape of my closest relationships.
There are spaces now that are filled by people I love, and like Toes’s garage, one day they’ll be empty of them.
Hard to think about the looming absences but also a good thing to do and not only because it helps us to treasure the time together we now enjoy. The Buddhists’ advice to keep death always in front of you brings a clarity (I can’t but help a bit of melancholy about this) about our living here in this place at this time and also
a scalding awe at the reality of all that surrounds us and is us.
Thanks for your insight and honesty about the details of your life and your willingness to share that with us.