Life, Death, Meaning... and the Passage of a Fluffy White Cat (Ulog No. 40)


Our elderly cat Bebe passed away suddenly, a couple of mornings ago. Although she was 14 years and change, it was totally unexpected and a poignant reminder of the fragility of this thing we call "life."

In that strange way of cats (and other animals, too, I am sure), she sought out a dark, quiet and hidden spot for her final moments. No drama, no fanfare, no fuss. When we finally located her she was still "alive" but her eyes were vacant and looking at something not of this world.

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BeBe the cat

It reminded me of a hospital visit some 20+ years ago, to see my former mother-in-law who was terminal with cancer.

We were talking to her, and she was definitely "there" and would nod weakly and squeeze my ex's hand to let us know she'd heard, but then her eyes suddenly got that "vacant" look... and even though the whirring equipment monitoring her vitals insisted she was "alive" for almost two more hours, we could tell that she had "left."

It was as if there truly was a "spirit" that departed, a couple of hours before the actual "death" of the meat suit that had been home to that spirit.

And so it also was with our fluffy white cat, whose breath and heartbeat continued for another 20 minutes while Mrs. Denmarkguy held her, wrapped in a blanket... even though she was no longer the cat we knew and loved.

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As I write these words, I am sitting in the waiting room of our local hospital imaging clinic, doing something I really thought I would never do: writing a post on my phone.

I am doing this because Mrs Denmarkguy is having a bunch of diagnostic scans done, in response to one of the world's most frightening sentences: "I found this lump..."

Whereas our anxieties and fears are palpable, we are holding tight to the desired outcome that it is nothing more that an irritated lymph node or perhaps a benign subcutaneous cyst.

Meanwhile, I find myself considering that just a couple of days ago we had what felt like the greatest day in years, and now it is being followed immediately by tragedy and a cancer scare.

Intellectually I can wrap myself around the old saying "in all things, balance," but right now those words feel like nothing more than an empty platitude; something we tell ourselves to feel like we are "taking the high road" and rising above whining about the unfairness of life and our need to blame something — or someone — when life really sucks.

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Orchids

I have often pondered the teachings of "non-attachment" and how they are — or are not — useful or relevant to our lives. A lot of times "non-attachment" comes across as a deeper sensation of simply not caring about anything.

When I consider some of the issues I am currently working on with my therapist, I keep coming back to the reality that what is typically what gives our lives the most meaning are our relationships and connections, be they with other people, or even with fluffy white cats.

Much of my early life was dominated by avoiding connection, because we'd move so often — typically from country to country — that "forming deep friendships" was was pretty much an exercise in emotional pain, because you knew (in advance) that you'd have to end the friendship in a few months.

I look at that, and then I recognize why the death of a cat hits so hard: Even though the people would endlessly come and go, at least the cats would go with us, thereby offering a small point of stability and connection that would not have to be broken.

Except, of course, for the fact that the lifespan of a cat is typically only 13-17 years...

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Rest in Peace....

In the end, I suppose, we have to be content with good moments; happy memories, for there is no such thing as actual happiness, as an ongoing thing.

For the vast majority of us, life is hard... and we spend far more time overcoming various forms of hardships, difficulties and setbacks than anything else. And perhaps that is simply how things are supposed to be.

For the moment, BeBe's passing fills us with heartwrenching sadness; in time we will reach a point of mostly remembering how she would bounce happily through the house, chasing a moth or even something completely imaginary!

Meanwhile, we have little time to linger on these thoughts... while we anxiously await the outcome of these test results.

Thanks for reading, and hope you are having a great day!

(Another #creativecoin creative non-fiction post)

Comments, feedback and other interaction is invited and welcomed! Because — after all — SOCIAL content is about interacting, right? Leave a comment-- share your experiences-- be part of the conversation!


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Comments 17


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02.10.2019 17:41
0

Hey @denmarkguy,

It's amazing how quickly life can hand us a wake up call...

I'm very sorry to hear about your cat and hope that your wife's test results turn out to be just a simple reminder that we are fragile beings and often hopelessly out of control of our own fate.

Keep us posted.

02.10.2019 18:02
2

Thanks @whatsup!

Yes, we so often have little to no control over our lives and fates... as the old truism goes: "Control is just an illusion."

We should know something about the results of the scans within a day or two... hopefully it will be no more than a wake-up call!

03.10.2019 02:24
3

I'm so sorry to read about your loss. Having been through it before with both cats and dogs I know with a certainty that it is never easy, but heart wrenching. Hopefully you are able to soon move on with happy thoughts.

All the best thoughts to your wife in what must be a scary time! I'm hoping all works out well for you.

02.10.2019 18:14
1

Thanks @wwwiebe, it is indeed never easy. Having lived in a house with multiple pets most of my adult life I have had to say goodbye too many along the way... and it never gets easier.

We should have test results back within a day or two...

03.10.2019 02:26
0

Animals really do become a part of the family. Even when you know it is time for them to cross the rainbow bridge, it doesn't make the loss any less sharp.

Sending good energy to you and the Mrs., as well. I just got a suspicious spot on my skin removed yesterday and must now wait three weeks to find out if it is anything or not, so I can appreciate the waiting game. Even when you have faith all with end up as it should, it still creates a bit of anxiety. Here's hoping the lump is just a lump!

02.10.2019 18:53
1

Thanks for the good vibes, @plantstoplanks! We are hoping for the best, but the waiting game is very anxietymaking. Hope all turns out clean and OK for you, too!

Yes, it's difficult when our furry friends leave... and it hurts, even though I know from experience that we'll be left with the fond memories of happiness with BeBe, within a few months.

03.10.2019 02:32
2

I really should not have red this, it brings back a lot of memories. I lost my cat too some months ago and i understand how you feel.

02.10.2019 18:55
1

It's very hard when we lose them @georgeboya. Sorry for the loss of your own cat... it just really stings when they leave this world.

03.10.2019 02:28
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I'm so sorry about your cat. I have many animals and losing one feels like losing a member of the family. I like what you said about non-attachment. I have never been good at it. I also moved a lot growing up and the only things that stayed the same were my things. I think that's why I sentimentalize everything and cling to reminders of the past. It can make for a cluttered life, though. I hope the test results come back clear and that your wife is just fine.

03.10.2019 13:26
1

Thanks @goat-girlz, thankfully she got back "clean" test results yesterday... a small growth, but nothing malicious. We have much gratitude!

You make a good point: I think when we grow up in a turbulent situation, we end up attaching to things because they end up offering the only points of stability. These days we are "downsizing," and it's difficult getting rid of some of these things because they have "memories attached." But we also need to get the clutter out of here....

04.10.2019 16:36
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I am in the same overloaded boat. I try to go through things and "trim the herd" but everything reminds me of some cherished memory. I am getting a little better at pragmatism, but it's a heck of a learning curve.

I'm so glad for your good news. What a relief that must be!

05.10.2019 03:20
0

I hope everything turns out good for your wife

Sorry to hear about the loss of your furbaby. I'm a cat person myself and as much as they have a rep for being aloof, they are anything but once they bond with you. I have lost two adult cats this year. Last Saturday I brought a kitten in as company for the kitten who showed up at my door last October and was on her own since Fawnya died in July.

04.10.2019 12:52
1

Thankfully, we got the test results back yesterday, and they were clean! So that's definitely the good news for the day.

Sorry to hear about your cats... we've lost a few over the year, and every time that happens I am a little in awe of just how much we end up bonding with these small creatures... and they, with us. Have fun with the new kitten!

04.10.2019 16:32
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Hard to make it thru this post. Had to wipe my eyes more than once...... We are sad here in Iowa 2 nite, having just read this post.

I wish I had better words, I am not good with words.

Right now it is just a good time to stop. To turn this off and spend a few minutes B4 bed huggin on my SamSam & Jessi.

My Heart goes out to You and Yours. And I hope to read good news when I sign back in here 2 maro......

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08.10.2019 02:31
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I'm very sorry to hear of your loss, friend. I know from experience how attached one can be to a special cat.

Very thankful to discover (from later comments) that your wife's situation is not threatening. :D Having said that, I would urge you in the future to utterly eschew conventional American medical practice and find natural alternatives for your needs. I have seen all too many tragedies in the "conventional" medical/industrial/pharmaceutical system.

😄😇😄
@creatr

09.10.2019 02:14
0