Poetry Month

April is poetry month, and this year I am falling behind.

We (my husband and I) noticed that our cat Claudia was slowing down, becoming frail and wobbly, and not eating as much. She was a rescue, and her “official” age was 14 – we had her for 11 of those years – but we have both had enough felines to recognize that she was coming to the end and to remember that the shelter can only guess at the age of the cats in their care.

She passed on Saturday the 2nd, and we buried her yesterday.

It was a conscious decision we made to allow her death to take its natural course. She was not suffering, she was simply slowing down and preparing to cross. We discussed it and thought it would be calmer and more loving to let things go as nature and Claudia might will it, so she was surrounded by love, and left peacefully in her sleep.

This whole process made me look closely at our cultural pressures and seeming kindnesses. When we take an animal to be “put to sleep” there is stress involved. The animal senses our fears, and emotions, then goes to a strange cold place filled with the distress of other people and animals before being poked (even gently) by a needle and fading away. But do we do this with kindness or out of our cultural dread of death – a clean and relatively easy way to handle the passing.

I don’t know. I am not trying to judge anyone but myself.

I have had many animal companions over my lifetime. Some I have made the decision for, and others I have sat in vigil with…it just seems that unless there is an injury or other painful circumstance, that just sitting with and being with my animal companion as they and nature determine the hour of their passing, seems to be the most peaceful and allows me to tell them directly how much they mean to me, how deeply I love and will miss them.

I have carried your frail body, light and thin to the water dish and the food dish,
held you up as you wobbled for balance, so you could eat and drink.
You were as air, and I brought you to your favorite place in the window,
to watch the tiny dinosaurs and the birds. 
But once you left us, passing into the universe,
your shell became heavy - as if it was absorbing the weight of my grief,
and the waiting earth was calling to it.

2 thoughts on “Poetry Month

  1. Dear Natalia ~
    Sending my love and condolences over Claudia’s passing. Sounds like she was the luckiest of cats to land in your home and hearts. Thank you for sharing your poem. xoA ❤

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