Well, my cat died yesterday evening and I’ve been a big cranky mess all day. Lucy was the sweetest kitty I ever had or knew. She was the only cat that would let anyone flip her over and stroke her belly, and she was there for the arrival of many of our babies. She survived many toddlerhoods around here, too. She never bit at or thrashed about when these small people tried to “pet” her head a little too strongly or pull her tail. Instead, she would quickly withdraw and retreat into my room, her safe place away from children, noise, and even other adults. We bonded over our shared introvert personalities.
I picked her up at a rescue center when she was three. She was thin and recovering from surgery after a bad bout of mastitis. I remember looking at all of the kitties there and immediately was drawn to this shy calico. I told the woman in charge that I’d like to take Lucy home. She took one look at my cart full of four children aged 6 and under and said, “Well…maybe…” I promised to keep her safe. I promised to keep her indoors. I told her of our experience with cats. She must have known that I had bonded to the cat already and relented.
Lucy was a love. I miss her purr. She caught the one and only mouse I ever saw in my house, and she was good about staying off of my counters and table tops. She liked to nestle on my feet, and every time I tried to move her off she became Liquid Kitty.
It was sad to see her decline so fast, to stop eating and lose bowel function. She waited until we arrived home from our day out, and then we just knew she was going. We sat around her by the woodstove, stroking her fur and telling her what a good kitty she had been and that everything was going to be all right. We watched her breathe her last few breaths. And then she was gone.
I hated wrapping her up, and putting her in a box. It was just wrong. I kept stroking her cooling ear. And I remember thinking how much I hate death, and how I hate the stupid “circle of life” nonsense, like death is “just a part of life” and so on. Like it’s a light thing, “dignified” even, to “return to the earth”. No, no it’s not. But I guess making up stuff or lying about death is all people have when they have no hope.
Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
Even the animals know that death is the enemy, that it is a result of the fall of man and that everything unraveled from God’s perfect creation because of it. It’s so ridiculously obvious that everything is in a state of decay, of decline, and that death is a sorrowful thing, a thing to grieve. So, no, I don’t “celebrate life” when death comes. I grieve the loss, even if my memories are full of happiness, treasure and love. I don’t want a party when I bury a pet or a person I love. I want to cry and be angry and stomp my feet and call out to Jesus, please, please, Lord, come, and put death away forever and ever amen.
I have no doubt that God can bring my Lucy to me when I get to heaven. I’m thankful for the 13 years she had here, but it just feels a little bit empty around here now. It was hard to wash and put away her dishes and it’s hard to see the empty spot where she used to sleep. I’m looking ever more forward to going Home as I get older and I thank God (who cares for even the sparrows that fall) that He has my place secured and waiting.
As an aside, if you’re subscribed to my RSS feed and got a weird email today with tons of old blog links, I’m sorry. Some things are still a bit wonky from the website change.
Blessings (and sadly),