30 October, 2007

Amanda, my cat-- on losing a beloved pet

Not that I'm a philosopher or an intellectual savant, but in the past I've written about the meaning of life.  It is a topic that interests me a great deal.  Particularly at life contrasts with death.

I've seen my fair share of deaths-- from family members to coworkers and acquaintances.  Not a day goes by without us being subjected to the topic in the tv or print media. 

Death is unexplainable. It is never an easy thing to explain, to oneself particularly, much less to those affected by its effects.  When this loss is from a loved one, not just from an acquantaince, then the sense of loss is never resolved despite how one can categorize it.  No explanation ever fully satisfies.  Death is final. 

Just recently I experience such an emotion, but not from the death of a person, but from a beloved pet, Amanda, one of four cats I had. 

Amanda was a large, white cat with black spots.  She was high-strung, energetic, vivacious, but elegant and loyal as well. Being an outside cat, one of her habits was to wait for me to open the door to my house so she could sneak in and eat with my two other inside cats.   No matter how many times I admonished her for it, she always did it.  It became a habit, and I ultimately gave up reprimanding her and actually waited for her at the door.  

Just about five days ago, though, she died of what seems to have been a massive intoxication. The vet doesn't know what it was, just that such a strong, healthy and lovely cat died horribly of convulsions I never imagined I could endure. During the night, I'd hold her, giving her my mother's favorite anti-intoxicant, oil mixed with milk, a combination that, she assured me, would force her to vomit whatever Amanda had eaten, and make her return to her normal health again.

She never did. When I held her, she'd give me this glazed look, still loving and warm, but it was a look that seemed from some far away creature blinded to my caresses. She seemed to have been going from this life, faster than I assumed, and had resigned to her fate.

The next day, as I called the vet to find out her fate, he informed me that her body temperature was at the level of an animal who'd given up and was just waiting to breathe her last breath, as she was. Last I saw of her was of Amanda under sheets, still with convulsions, breathing but not for life, breathing in a lifeless way, from her stomach.

And so, I knew that the inevitable couldn't be forestalled. I let it be.

What gets to me about death is not so much that one has to resign one's self to the fact that when one is gone, it seems as if a precious prism of light is gone forever. And it is. One can't replace a dead one, one can only be left with its memory, and even that has a funny way to be replaced by the realities of daily living. Thereafter, what's left?

We're all at the whims of a breeze. We're very little, though we assume that our mere presence in life is sufficient to solidify our worth in a cosmos often devoid of much meaning, if at all. I, you, all of us, are left with such sense of unfairness, disappointed, and anger. Often each of these emotions follow that pattern, often they come and go as easily as our memories bring us back to a particular time in the past when we remember a particular eccentricy or habit about those people and pets we lost and were left behind in that great void called time.

Since the inception of civilization, man has tried to enrich the wonder of life by embillishing it with meeaning. It would be so cruel, so wicked, to realize that despite everything that is given to each of us in the form of life, that in the end it would revert to that same dark, meaningless void from whence we seem to have jumped up from with that cry of pain ro joy, with that whimper of hunger, with that look o hunger we find in a small insignificant kitten we rescued from a parking lot.

That's how I'd like to think of this death. Amanda was merely a cat, a pet, but a being whose unexpected loss has caused me a great personal void. Writing this I can't even comprehend the intensity of it any more than I can help writing these words hoping that they could bring some closure to my feelings, though I won't fool myself-- trying to understand the incomprehensible never fully satisfies, and, the way I see it I will always try to figure out if things could have happened differently on that fateful day of October 25, 2007, when my cat died. 

My Amanda's dead. That's all I can say.

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