GRIEF

Zachary

It’s September. I’m asking myself what happened to August. It was like my 6- month visits to the dentist. Wasn’t I just there last week?

Zachary, my constant companion cat, died June 1st. It seems like yesterday.

You may be thinking, “Get over it. It was just a cat.” Well, I’m here to tell you, there’s no such thing as “just a cat, or just a dog, or to a small child, even, just a hamster.”

Zachary’s Older Brothers

I remember getting my first cat, Tyler. He was a biter. I complained wistfully to a friend “I should have gotten a goldfish.” Actually, he just needed a companion. I guess I wasn’t that exciting as a playmate. Sam, my second cat, solved the biting issue. Tyler just needed one of his own species. Some cats are like that.

Grief

Which brings me to grief. It sucks, but you can’t escape it. I’m in no way comparing the grief you experience with an animal to the death of a family member or close friend. But an animal depends on you. It’s with you 24-7. It leaves a huge hole in your heart when it’s no longer there.

As I was leaving the crematorium where I picked up his ashes, I passed a big sign in the road that said, “This too shall pass”. It was definitely comforting, but how long does it take? The fact we’re in the midst of the pandemic and confined to the home-front doesn’t allow much time for distraction.

The Mother of Grief Studies

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swiss-American Psychiatrist and pioneer in near death studies, made death her life’s work, at least that’s what she’s remembered for. She came up with the five stages of grief, which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. 

What I learned is they don’t necessarily occur in that order. The moment the vet diagnosed him, I knew we were on a finite journey. But, looking back, there was some denial creeping in. Maybe the doctors were wrong. He actually lived 5 months past their predictions. At month four I was sure they’d mixed up the records. Ok. That may be denial.

Where Is He?

When my mother died, I asked myself, “Where is she?” I believe in heaven, but where is heaven, and what’s it like there? Was she happy? Was she with God?

Where is Zachary? Is he with God? I know he’s somewhere because energy can’t be destroyed. Einstein helped us with that one. Death is so final. 

One minute you’re here and the next minute you’re not… E=mc2, like it or not.

One minute you’re a clump of matter with a soul, and the next minute you’ve morphed into a mist of soulful energy. 

After the first shot to relax him, Zachary sat straight up and his eyes were wider than I’d ever seen them.

He saw something. I’m hoping it was his brothers, who predeceased him. I’m hoping it was heaven.

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