Friday, April 17, 2015
Good-bye to you, my friend....
This week I said "Thank you" and "good-bye" to another member of my tribe. Diogi. Just a cat. But how can just a cat hold so much of my very existence? I had gone through my first real pet loss just a few years ago, and I had been ill prepared for the sharpness of the pain of losing a conscious, breathing, part of my life. I know that the pain is felt by MANY other people and recognized as deep loss, and yet, the loss is so personal. It opens one up in a way that few other things can. I am not comparing it to the loss of a "human" family member, for really, to do so would rile others, but to me it would diminish the credit they each deserve for what they have brought us. I think the impending loss of a pet is a deceptive dance toward a heart ache that can not be anticipated nor fully comprehended. Maybe its because, if we are lucky enough, the lives and bonds we share with animals are probably 95% memories of laughter, devotion, affection, mutual dependence, and unbounded joy. Never do we "argue" with pets, hold grudges, feel betrayed or used, rather it is almost 100% pleasant memories that link us.
To see animals in the wild, whether in actuality, or even on television and in film, is to see something so primal and almost savage, that it is totally void of emotion, and almost alien to us (hopefully.) Animals give and take life as part of a survival that most of us cannot relay into our own experience. It isn't so much "life or death" as it is a symbiotic survival and balance of the species that fascinates us and strikes us with an instinctual reverence but that we have (again, hopefully) grown away from. Our common pets; dogs and cats, come from such a pedigree and yet, somehow, by being socialized by us and sharing our space and our lives, have developed what I would call a true emotional connection. They retain their wildness to a degree, but their species have been spiritually altered by those that first began weaving their lives with ours. I cannot be convinced, after living with Pepe, Diogi, and Luna, that ALL animals are void of emotions. Truly, in my estimation, they may not have "individual souls" but have become part of THE SOUL of all conscious existence. They ARE us, and we ARE them. They have absorbed our best qualities of simple affection, and personal relationship bonds. And I believe in an Intelligence in the Universe that saw to it that through our animal friends, we may understand that even in this WILDNESS, even in the midst of SAVAGERY, there can be affection and mutual interconnection. We should learn to apply that to all aspects of our lives. Also, I firmly do not believe you can turn an animal "mean." You cannot mistreat a dog to the point where it becomes "mean." You can twist their go-to responses to be fear and self defense, but one cannot turn them "mean." Being "mean" is beyond their capability. All animals, even domestic ones, lively FULLY in the present moment. They are true examples of the "NOW." We superimpose the idea of "meanness" onto them because it gives outlet to our own warped selves that seek to act out and hurt, or punish, others.
I do not understand those who hunt for "sport." I am not against eating meat (in humane, and moderate ways.) But to seek out the opportunity to extinguish LIFE, just to KILL something for the rush it brings or for some outsized sense of accomplishment, is beyond barbaric and fills me with shame and disgust. It is most certainly a left over trait from a time before we "knew better." There is no sport in how we have manufactured hunting into what amounts to a shooting gallery.
But my animal tribe have taught me more about myself, especially in the last few years, that I have EVER learned by self reflection without them. I have learned more about God, Source, the "All," and Spirit than I EVER learned in church. Diogi was almost 21 years old. Very old for a cat. I knew that such a time was coming, if not this year, then soon. His rapid decline over the last week was scary because it was the slow walk toward heartbreak I had mentioned earlier. Animals, even domesticated ones, do not often look a human, even THEIR human, directly in the eyes. It triggers in them the submission response or challenges them as a threat, and they will look millimeters off to the side. If submissive, they will even turn their heads. But when Diogi was showing me that morning that it was his time to transition, he looked me right in the eye. It was wrenching in that way that cannot be described but those who know, will KNOW how it felt. I would have howled if I could have. Later, holding and feeling at the body that had only moments before carried life and such affection for me, was the most direct and profound sense of self aware loss I can feel. It was familiar, and more real.
Right after the visit to the vet, as I was walking to my car, I said "OK God, I trusted You. Give me something. Give me a sense of understanding. Let it hurt, but I demand that You offer me at least the IDEA of comfort in this moment." I looked at my phone, and the time was 11:11. For those who understand that significance, let me say that the hurt did not diminish, it became stronger. But I was able to let it wash over me and through me. I know a lot of "men" may have learned their way out of experiencing such loss, and thats too bad. I do not wish the pain on anyone, yet knowing it is inevitable, I wish them comfort in going through it, knowing that the rest of us, we cannot help, we can only witness.