Mourning and Loss: on the death of an animal friend

#599From a Journal entry, 2003. On the death of AriCat… male urinary blockage.

There comes a point when you’ve examined your resources, faced what is possible and what is probable, when you realize that the right course is no longer action, but acceptance.

Not resignation—things can change, and if they do, you retain the capacity and will to act accordingly,  but it is important to know how, and when—to let go.

What Ari needs isn’t more tubes shoved up his penis or drugs or being left in a cage in a vets office… he needs to feel a warm hand when he reaches out his paw, and to be left in peace to resolve his animal life into the mysterious Nothing from which he came, and to which we all ultimately belong.

I say to Zeke and Ari every night before going to sleep; All animals are equal in our dreams, for at the gates of the great dream of death, we are equal. He is not merely an object of pity—he is a fellow creature who can teach us—who, even as he nears death, grows more powerful in a wisdom beyond words or thought.

There is a temptation to grow frantic in trying to save a creature from what we ourselves fear—when if we grow still and listen, we will see that they are not afraid—and not because they don’t know what is going to happen. We are as ignorant of death as they are—only more arrogant in our presumption. and it is the presumption and the arrogance that makes us afraid. Ari is now our guide, our teacher. It’s time to let go, to be humble in our animal lives, to be sad, not out of desperation, but out of love, and because sadness, too,  is part of the fullness of life..


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