Tuesday, May 13, 2008

5,318 Rainy Days

Yesterday at 4pm, I watched the ever-compassionate Dr. Brown slip the thinnest of needles into the fore paw of my beloved Rain Dance Little Shoes. 30 seconds later, her heart stopped. Before that heart-stopping moment lay a mountain of effort to avoid that decision and a mountain of love laid out over the coarse of 14 and 1/2 years.
Alimentary lymphoma in the small intestines, with tumors present and no hope of improvement, led me to let go of one of the sweetest loves to grace my life. As a woman with no children, cats have been a needful outlet to channel the love I carry in my heart. The pleasure I get from animals is profound. The pleasure I got from Rain Dance was at times, life-saving.
Because my 2 cats are elderly girls, each morning I would hug them and kiss them and thank them for staying with me another day. Because Rain Dance was ill for the better part of a year, we had many talks about her need to do what was best for her soul, regardless of how sad I would be without her. I told her God's plan for her was what we would follow, not my need for company and fur-love.
On the drive to the Vet for last-ditch-effort tests, I reminded Rain Dance that all her angel friends were with us, and her highest and best would be served. While at home, waiting for the dreaded call with test results, I cleaned up the mess and the effort of many months. I sat with a cup of rose petal tea and listened to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons", knowing deep down Rain Dance had reached the end of her winter season.
Back at the Vet, with trusted opinions given and no hope offered, I asked for 10 minutes to talk with Rain. I kissed her a thousand times. And this is what I told her: "There is no death. There is only a dream of love. In this moment, you are held in my arms of love and in a moment soon to come, you will simply and sweetly drift into someone else's arms of love. Your angels are waiting. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the gift of your life with mine. You live in my heart forever. You know I love you".
I put her in her favorite green walnut box and drove home with one hand on her still-warm body. I let her companion and nemesis, Miss Romance, sniff her in the box. I found a shovel and dug a round hole next to the yellow iris in the backyard. I lined the hole with a pink towel and her favorite catnip pillow. I knelt in front of the little pink womb, picked her up and cradled her against my heart. And then I sobbed. Big, fat tears that soaked her fur and baptized her into her next life. Finally, reluctantly, I layed her down and gave her body back to the Mother.
Today, I am the indentured servant to only 1 cat. Today, I mourn the loss of Rainy days. But all endings contain new beginnings. All endings bestow freedom. Somewhere, someday there is an orange cat that will come to me. I will name it Sun Dance. Because after the Rain, the Sun always appears.

11 comments:

  1. Oh my..

    I've got Rain Dance Little Shoes looking at the readers of the first morning today, too..

    (Again.. do it)

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  2. susan@80o5/13/2008

    While your tribute is immensely eloquent, mine will be wholly inadequate as I sit here teary, bleary-eyed with aching heart for you and your brave heart, and your sweet little Rain. Your words help me for when I face the day with my nearly 18-year-old Kindred Spirit. So, you have given a great gift in the midst of your very personal grief and pain...very Christ like. One can do no better. I love you, Graciel.

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  3. No words. Just great big love.

    I mourn with you.

    xox

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  4. That was wonderfully written, Grace, and I'm so sorry to hear about Rain Dance. I only met her once, but I could tell that she was a very special being who was simply adorable. I hope you're doing well and I'm excited to meet Sun Dance when the time comes :) I really like the way you transitioned that in the entry.

    -Ed

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  5. Sad but still lovely. Makes me feel like I've known Rain Dance too...and miss her as well.

    I'm giving my "Bushy" a great hug after this.

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  6. Graciel, I'm so sorry to hear about Rain Dance. We had to face the same decision with our sweet cat, Nutmeg, last year. She lived to be 18 years old before a tumor in her jaw forced us to let her life end in peace. We were very blessed to have had her in our lives for as long as we did, and Rain Dance was obviously a large blessing to you as well.

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  7. I'm sending you love and prayers as you go through this difficult time. In the past few years I've also had to make the hard choice to release beloved spirits on to the next life. The first, 5 years ago, was my gorgeous and oh so sweet black kitty who loved to sit on my shoulders while I typed and drooled with amazing joy every time I held him and rubbed his head. The second was just 2 years ago. She was my husband's 23 year old arabian mare & first love. The horse that turned me into a willing slave within days of meeting her and changed my life forever. There was nothing harder in the world for us than the choice to end her pain and both my husband and I still grieve for our loss but luckily we have memories filled with love and happiness that make the loss more easy to bear. I know your memories of Rain will get you through this too.

    Sending you blessings,
    Meegan

    P.S. Thanks for the comment at my blog. I answered it there.

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  8. I didn't think I'd bawl again about my own Little Leo so soon, but reading this post (and even the coments), and even while I'm typing this, I'm crying and crying and crying. I so admire the faith that you espouse, Evenstar, and I'd like to struggle back to mine.

    I don't know if it's appropriate to leave a link to my own experience, but I so badly want to share with other people who actually understand. crossandflame.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=15174
    My sweet little boy cat didn't even make it to one year old! I took for granted the time I had with him, and I can only strive not to do the same thing again with my other 2 dears.

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  9. I feel for your loss. Like you, my feline companions are also my kids. I put my cat Bear to sleep two years ago. He made it to the great old age of 19 years. Our house has been pretty empty since ... but I guess it's a matter of being ready to be owned by another cat.

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  10. Dear ~E,

    I read your blog post about your Leo cat. Devastating and sweet. Such a short time to have sunshine-in-fur.

    This is what I know to be true for me: nothing and no one dies alone. God does not forget or forsake any aspect of Itself, including a cat. Animals come to us for love and compassion and to offer us lessons. Most often, those lessons are about learning to treat ourselves with the same love and devotion we lavish on our pets. They come to show us how much love we really do possess in our hearts.And if we possess it, and we see it, we can share it more fully with ourselves and others.

    As well, when you reach the point where you are grateful for each moment you had with Leo, no matter how cut-short you think it was, when you are bone-deep grateful for the moments you had to kiss him and feed him before he left, your grief will lessen. Gratitude brings closure to bleeding hearts. Gratitude releases both you and the cat to continue on in God's plan for each soul.

    Yes, there is a God. Who else could have possibly invented whiskers?

    xo, Graciel

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  11. Hi. I found you at Persisting Stars & am so glad to've done so. My heart goes out to you & I hope you are doing as well as possible. Your post was quite timely for me - last month, I went through a similar situation with a cat who once belonged to me, but left me for another woman - my 90-something yr. old neighbor across the street. Within a week, my LOYAL cat (lol!) became sick & has just been diagnosed with chronic renal failure. I am learning to give her "kitty dialysis" at home (a very big deal for me - I have a near-phobia of things medical) & her prognosis is actually good - the disease it at its beginning stages & hopefully she will be with me for quite a while longer. But suddenly I am facing the knowledge that my best friend of 16 years is mortal & that, more than likely, I will at some time in the future, make a decision concerning her. As you did. Your post was wonderfully written, moving & inspiring. I needed to hear it, and can only smile at the way the universe steered me here.
    Thank you.

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I always appreciate the time you take to comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by. Peace from my heart to yours. xo, Graciel