Who are these silent strangers waiting for me to know who they are?

Friday, June 29, 2012

RIP Zombie

As I sit before my computer screen this evening I find myself contemplating being human. There are times that I fail to see any benefit to being one. It might truly be better to not have this useless intellect powering an over active imagination and fueling the unstoppable thoughts that are torturing me. Two weeks ago I lost my young cat in an unexpected and shocking death. My brain will not let the image of him lying on the floor lifeless be put to rest. I keep seeing him in the days just before, careless, adorable and so loving in stark contrast to his still form. At first, I just couldn’t believe it. Then my brain began to try and find a reason for it. Certainly, there must be a deeper reason, something that gives meaning. But there really isn’t. He is gone, just like that. I have lost many people that I love and many have gone after an illness. A few, like Zombie, died abruptly. I have missed some of them terribly with an ache that is indescribable, like a hole torn in my soul. But Zombie was my baby. He was my comfort when I felt inconsolable. Like all felines, he never judged and always  trusted that I would be there to care for him. Why? I ask myself this all the time. Why would he be taken from me? Was it something I did? Did I fail to notice some dire symptom? And what am I going to do now?
We all seem to race through life, dimly aware that someday we’ll die. We watch in horror as those we know grow older also and shy away from the looming reality of our mortality. There are times when the death or illness of someone close to us smacks us in the face and forces us to see the inevitable. At those times, I have taken stock, changed my priorities and tried to live my life as if every second counts. To me, people mean more than anything else. Yet, here I am once again being smacked in the face. There was no reason, no indication that Zombie would soon be gone. Now, I look at all the people I love and feel panic that I will lose them. That they will be gone before I ever have a chance to tell them, or show them, how much I love them.
It has been two weeks now. Last night I finally said to myself, “I can let him go.” In some kind of unreal, nightmare, I buried him in the backyard. The next day I built a cairn over him and covered it with roses. I knew that he was at peace but I was just numb. We left the day after that to go to IL and I feel like we abandoned him. I had nightmares about finding him and nightmares about him not really being dead. In my waking hours I know that he is gone and my grief is about me, not him. The numbness has worn off and I can’t bear to think of returning to my home in WV without my baby there to greet me. Maybe there’s a small comfort in the Navajo belief that we return to the earth and become a part of her. A friend sent me this poem:
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.

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