Creativity for the Rest of Us

Surrender, Mary

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I struggled this week with writing a post. I call it struggling as it has some familiar qualities to other times I’ve struggled. The words aren’t coming. I don’t have a good topic. I can’t get into the flow. Yada yada yada.

As I sit here in the dark, not even dawn yet (thanks to daylight savings time), the truth comes out. I’m not struggling, I’m avoiding. The irony that I’ve been working with surrender this month is not lost on me. So surrender already.

I’m sad. My beloved Bella died. She was sick, has been sick for a while and we’ve been in that excruciating place of deciding when is the right time to let her go. Wishing, hoping, praying she would just go in her sleep – the same I wish for any being who is in the last stages of life. I asked the vet how to know when they’re ready. They go off by themselves and want to be alone. That wasn’t happening. She still curled up in my lap every morning while I quietly sat sipping tea, writing, sometimes meditating – my favorite time of the day. This haiku I wrote a few years back captures it well:

Cat curls in my lap.
Meditation is delayed.
Breathe…and stroke soft fur.

Last Saturday I googled: are cats in pain if they’re purring? The answer is yes. It is a mechanism for self soothing. I also learned that when they sit in a hunched posture, they are in pain. The same posture she was now sitting in when she wasn’t on someone’s lap. That’s when I surrendered. It was her time. It was my time to let go.

Once I came to that acceptance (Michele arrived there before me), the decision was made. Our daughter came home and we spent the weekend loving Bella up. We told stories and reminisced about her unusual food proclivities – she loved broccoli, cantaloupe, cheese, and running water. She always seemed to know when one of us wasn’t feeling well and that’s the lap she would curl up in. She got Grace through the tortures and heartbreaks of high school. She liked to lick salty tears.

Grace always claimed Bella was her cat. I knew different. We chose each other at a cat show in San Mateo 15 years ago that I wasn’t even supposed to go to.  Michele and Grace had plans to sneak off and get a cat while I was at a work gig.  The gig got cancelled so I went along for the ride. Walking the aisles looking at different cats, I came around the bend and there she was. I picked her up and that was it.

After Grace moved out, Bella would crawl under the covers and sleep with me. Even let me hold her paw as we spooned.

I’ve never loved a pet like this before. This one broke my heart open. I’m sad and I miss her.

That’s this weeks post. No struggle at all once I surrendered.

 

2 Responses to “Surrender, Mary”

  1. janet council says:

    I am so sorry Mary. I too am stuck after the loss of my beloved “lifetime dog” Jerry Spaniel. He lived for almost 17 years and our life was blessed…we worked, played and lived together. Our last day was New Years Day The decision was difficult, but I knew it was time, and made the appointment for the vet to come to the house. It was a lovely, gentle and gracious passing – and I exchanged his pain for mine.
    I built a house in Austin knowing that I would want to leave SF after he left my life. I sit here surrounded by boxes to be packed and avoiding the packing – I have a great plan but I am finding it difficult to execute it. So many goodbyes these last two years. I am mostly walking, remembering the losses, very grateful for my exit strategy -and praying for the will to execute it.
    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers and I know that your journey is difficult. Be gentle with yourself.
    Compassionately,
    Janet Council

  2. So, so sorry to hear about your precious kitty! Bella sounds like she was a total joy in your life. I have one like that now and she is providing such comfort to me in the face of my wife’s very serious illness. I have been dipping into your posts for MONTHS now, meaning to write you and — given the exhaustion of my life right now — not getting around to it.
    I am VERY glad to hear you came through your own cancer diagnosis healthy and strong. I love your blog, LOVE the banner at the top, think you are doing a marvelous job becoming more of who you are and who you want to be. If we didn’t live 4 hrs apart, I’d call with an invitation to meet for coffee in Montara! xo

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