October 2, 2011

Life, death & kittens – how to carry on loving despite everything

Fiona writes: Meet Roshi & Tsuki. Roshi is the wise venerable boy on the top left, resting his chin on a furry sibling. His sister Tsuki (Japanese for ‘moon’) is looking right at you.

This photo was taken a few weeks ago, when we first chose them. This evening, they are coming to live with us.

A couple of months ago, our beloved 14 year old cat Silver was killed suddenly on the road outside our house. For 14 years she had smiled at me when I sang to her, rolled in the sun in ecstasy, sought me out whenever I was eating fudge (her favourite). Now she is gone.

Roshi & Tsuki will have their own idiosyncrasies. We will dangle toy mice for them, comfort them, listen to their purring, and tickle them on their tiny stomachs. They will grow up and find their own favourite spots to sleep. If we’re lucky, we’ll share our lives with them for many years. And then they will be gone too.

As I write this, tears spring to my eyes – for Silver, for Tsuki & Roshi, and for everyone else I’ve lost or will lose.

How can we carry on loving, despite death?

We were overwhelmed by the kind messages we received from people when Silver died. Many of them were from people who’d lost their own much-loved animals. Cynthia sent me this quote:

“We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan.” ~Irving Townsend

This quote is perfect for pets, but it works just as well for all of our much-loved objects, places & people. Everything is impermanent, including ourselves. We never know when we will lose what we ‘have’. Everything is borrowed.

Knowing this all too well, I’m going to love Roshi & Tsuki with all of my heart. I’m already grieving their loss a little bit, and that’s OK. The grief (and everything else) is held by my faith in love.

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