for the 40+ woman!

On Thursday afternoon, we put our 13-year old Sunny, to sleep.

It was a good death, as far as deaths go. We brought him home from the hospital for one last visit with us all. We kept the house quiet and warm, fed him steak and endless cat food, and just hung out. Then when the vet came to inject him, we cradled Sunny on our son Tristan’s lap for a bit, and told him how much we all loved him. Then, with my husband cradling his beat up little body, and with all eyes on him and with loving pats, the vet slowly injected our beloved friend. Sunny never took his eyes off of Tristan. Within a very short time, he was gone…

Death is hard, to be sure. It is a very personal experience, and for some they are comfortable in the presence of it, for others, not so much. For our family, we have come to accept death as a part of life (our ever-growing pet cemetery out back is proof of that).  But for me, it always brings up other stuff, not necessarily death-related stuff, but other thoughts / issues / memories/desires that have been kept at bay. And now, well, the floodgates are forced open once again.

So at this time, I huddle in my house, grieve, process, and think. I needed this, a reminder, a STOP action from the Universe because, well, I wasn’t doing it myself and I needed to….

So I am here, asking myself: “What do I want at this juncture in my life? What is working? What isn’t? What have I been afraid to tend to, or what have I pushed away? And what do I need to bring close, and to really own up to? Simply put: “How do I want my life to move forward from this point on?”

Big stuff, I know. All a result from kitty passing over. Yep. That’s how it is with me, anyway. And it’s good. It’s necessary. And it’s needed.

And so I go back to my chair by the fireplace, look at the old feeding dish where our cat Sunny used to hang out, and I contemplate some more. It’s becoming clear, and I know better than to stuff it away. I’ve gotta feel it. It’s the only way, really. It’s uncomfortable and freeing at the same time. Because we cannot move forward unless we release the past. Buddhist Pema Chodron calls it “leaning in to the sharp point.” Embracing what hurts is the way to change, freedom and an open, ever-growing heart.

Thank you Neil for your compassion, as always, with all living creatures. Thank you Tristan, for your bravery and for doing what was best for Sunny, despite how painful for the humans.

And thank you Sunny, for being, well, you, and sharing your life, and your lessons, with us over the years.

(Top right, Sunny at 12 weeks, Tristan at 5 years old. Bottom right, Sunny’s last day with us).