MORTALITY Written, but never posted, on 17 December 2004
Putting the Sylvester cat down
served as a trigger for reflecting on death |
The veternarian, Dr. Ficke, had some plaintive comments, and made me feel he, too, felt the loss | He also shared a caustic note or two  about folks who euthanize their pets because they are inconvenient ["...Oh, the dog pissed on the carpet, we can't have that when visitors are coming | Put him down!"
] and  about drug companies who push expensive medications while discontiuing those that don't make a whopping profit but can easily aid relief from suffering or even cure a malady for next to nothing [no surprise there
Sylvester's death got me recalling my father's passing, where I was in the room at the time | He was dying of a cirrhotic liver complicated with cancer | Kidney failure was evident | I'd driven right from work to his house [a 5 to 9 hour drive, depending
] and sat with him | Driving there I'd thought of so many things I wanted to tell him yet even though he was conscious, when we were in the room together, all I could think of were dumb, ultimately trivial complaints | I sat in the room on vigil in case he needed anything until around 0500 hours, nodded and woke with a startle | To this day I remain certain the "startle" was his moment of passing | His body was still warm, but no pulse | To this day I rue not having been able to share his final hours with a more upbeat send-out |
Bill didn't want his cat cremated, so a box was built to put him in, and I did a ritual interrment including red cedar sprigs, white sage, white oak, woodash, dried cat food and the last bottle of insulin and syringes from Bill's apartment | Somehow, I can't conceive of cats as being Christain; so he ended up with a ceremony that mixed Native American, Pagan and ancient Egyptian burial practices | Next week, after Christmas Day, Bill shall go find a new kitten or two to replace the empty place left with Sylvester's passing |