Last week, on a Monday evening, my son Brett called and said their family was going to have to put down their cat, Byron, 19 years old. Byron was Louisa’s cat even before she met Brett. So, he had been a family member for five years before Samantha, 13, Josie, 11, and Raquel, 9 arrived. I felt really honored that my granddaughters wanted me there, so, I said: “Yes, I’ll be there.”
They had just returned from Hawaii and Tuesday was Raquel’s birthday, so, Wednesday was the day. When I arrived the three girls greeted me and took me into see Byron. He was on a white rug, very thin and not able to walk. We talked to him quietly and patted him gently. Then we went into the living room. The girls each knew exactly what they had to do to take care of themselves. They wanted to take turns saying goodbye to Byron one at a time, after the first injection which would make Byron sleepy. Among many memories, photographs and tears we were together until the vet came.
They explained the whole process again and we started. Each person went in separately to say goodbye to their beloved cat. There were many tears and we all hugged.
I had an unexpected experience. As I stood there, I began to feel like a large, tall pillar that was grounding and integrating everything. I felt like the tapestry or fabric of the universe in which all thoughts, feelings and emotions were being woven. It felt like one embrace of birth, life, death, all wrapped up in the eternal NOW of a family’s love for their pet and for each other, transcending time and space.
After we all said goodbye to Byron, we went for a walk near the Hi-Line Canal. The girls talked about their feelings –sharing how they felt. Brett shared how he had fallen in love with Louisa, their mother, after the death of another cat she had had. He saw how deeply she loved. Then he shared how proud he was of his daughters, that he felt they each had shown the true foundation of life and living. It was not the grades they make or things they do, but how they care for and love and relate to life around them: that is the golden secret, the golden rule. It was very touching to be a part of this.
Louisa then texted that the truck was gone and they could come home now. Back in the living room, Josie, the middle child said: “I have something to say. Byron is in a coach now that is jeweled. He has a gold jeweled crown on his head and it will take 24 hours for him to get to heaven. He is feeling good and is very happy and safe. All is well.”
With that we all smiled and sighed a sigh of relief. It seemed the perfect final vision of a beautiful memory and experience. Now when the three girls come over on Sunday afternoons to do art work and play together, we share our beautiful experience with Byron and each other.
(What a touching story, especially for me right now…thanks for sharing this.)