30 October 2013

Journeys: the day after

waking to a flat cloudy sky

the long dark morning of late fall, the slowest dawn

a stillness

it hits me that it was not a dream

my grandparents used to live on long island sound, on a bluff with a view out over the water. one cold winter, the sound froze.

and where there had been motion, there was suddenly a jarring stillness.

yesterday when I came home, alone, my eyes moved to all of his places-- seeking a glimpse

the kitchen under the highchair

the strange spot on the shoes by the door

the closet

the bed

the bathroom rug

the tub

all night my eyes kept vigil, seeking the tell tale slink or flicker of him.

"I see his tail" Della said once. And then said she was just pretending. But in that moment before she confessed, my heart leapt, as if.

as if.

today, I am busy and grateful for the busy. but my eyes seek the motion that has always been. the quiet company. My friend Lorraine reminds me that he is here differently now, and "here" has expanded into everywhere. But my eyes and heart ache for the familiar, the furry presence, the small reassuring movements of breath and tail and whisker.

28 October 2013

Journeys: Tenderness

Being with a being who is dying is profound.

I have dealt with life.

I have dealt, on some level, with the aftermath of death.

But I have never dealt with, been with, allowed myself to contemplate the process, the fact of dying.

I am tender in the tenderest ways. Teary and broken open. Wanting to not fuck this up, wait too long to intervene, not wanting to intervene if intervention is not necessary.

I want to honor this creature's innate wisdom and cathood.

I want to honor our relationship and the vast love I feel and have received.

I want to honor ALL of this, the being and now, the transition into whatever is next.

He feels more and more internal now, quiet and often sleeping. He has stopped eating. I have stopped forcing him to try. I feel he is spending more time on whatever is next, and less time here, on being here, staying here. But he is still here, still jumping up onto the bed, still drinking water, still looking at me in a way that shows he is still here with me in those moments.

I know everyone would make different choices, but I am trying to make the right ones here and now for this person (me) and this amazing creature (Finn), and navigating this feels like the most awesome space of not knowing, wishful thinking, and something like intermittent acceptance. This sucks. But this is what it is. In this moment, he is curled up, not too tightly-- I can see the fluff of his surprisingly white belly, and the stripes that curl down his sides that are the deepest black. I can see the white line down the bridge of his nose, his white whiskers, how his breath moves his sides so slightly I can barely see it.
He seems peaceful, in this moment. In this moment, I am not. I feel all tied up, knotted with grief, and so very unsettled since I am allowing myself to be present in a way I would not have expected.

I am astonished at the depth of what I feel, the complexity one moment, the simplicity the next. LOVE< I keep telling myself, move from there. Witness from there. Choose from there.

And sometimes it means running in circles wailing. And sometimes it means sitting and not poking him, but enjoying his quiet companionship, even just in this moment. Even if it is just for this moment.

23 October 2013


day 3 of our homeopathic hail mary for Finn and

we are holding even as far as I can see from out here.

I have journeyed to explore in there, and the innerspace is respectfully held off limits, and so I stay, out here, witnessing only what I can witness

which is stasis.

now that I type that, I realize that is not the case. There is moment by moment motion-- my waves of hopefulness and despair. He eats a bit and then does not eat again for hours. then eats again. he is moving morning and night but then, during the day, does his best impression of a sick cat who is very, very sick.

The new-to-me vet said that his numbers mean he should be much sicker.

Since he's not sicker, well.., maybe his numbers are not telling the whole story.

HEAR ME SELF: the measurables, the quantifiables, do not tell the whole story.

so, we are doing *something*-- homeopathy for nausea and organ support and detox and circulation. Kidney function supplement. Reiki.

I have turned into a frustrated pesterer. This reminds me of watching my daughter sleep as a baby, I would panic between breaths.

I have started to call Finn by my last cat's name, as he has aged 10 years in one month. Now he walks and moves and looks like Paco. He seems ancient.

But today, a purr (he is not a purring cat). A tiny vibration in there when I was scratching his neck.

And when he is up and about, I pick up him and put him by his bowl and put my hands on his sides with healing intention. And he eats.

And then, after 10 seconds or 100 he walks away.

And then, later, I do it again.

I am pestering,  yes. But not in every moment.

And in this moment, it feels like a temporary stay of execution of uncertain duration.

Hopefulness and despair. Bite by tiny bite.

18 October 2013

Losing Finn

I am losing Finn.

Advanced kidney failure, and rapid decline.

My heart is breaking, broken. He is only 7, barely mature for a cat... and I am stunned by this news, nearly breathless with it.  A day with a bite of food makes my hopes soar. And then, today, a quiet day, where he looks at his food then walks away, over and over and over. I can feel myself coming apart.

Grief, grief. Yeah. I get it. I will drown in you slowly and quickly and over and over and over.

But there are shifts this time. I am not doing the frantic avoidance dance. I am feeling horrid and allowing myself, at least sometimes, to fully be with my horrible sadness.

I also have a child, who declares, Finn, you are DYING, many times over and over in a way that is both funny and not funny at all, but reminds me that this time, I guess this time is about the anti-avoidance. It is about witnessing and being present and holding space and being compassionate as I flail about wanting to do anything possible to change what is.

Losing Finn. Unimaginable. My relationship with him opened my heart to risking true connection, true relationships. My choice to first seek him out at the shelter, and then bring him home as a companion... a companion who spent the first year torturing me with nights of fierce attacks on my feet and head, of knocking things off, of being almost entirely nocturnal and naughty.

My ordered life needed to be knocked about, broken open. I needed randomness, chaos, Finn. I needed this once enormous now skin and bones being.

And now, here I am, facing the loss of his amazing companionship. days maybe, or maybe weeks. It is just so raw.

07 October 2013

coming back home

It was so dark and foggy this morning, nearly monochromatic until 7 when the yellow of the leaves started to peek through. it is hard to imagine that vibrancy dulled in any way now that it is midday and bright with clouds flying by overhead south to north.
The long stillness felt like a held breath, and there is relief in the motion, of leaves falling, of clouds flying. And there is a relief too in the view opening up, the fog gone, a sense of distance renewed.

I traveled last week for business, and am just now getting my feet under me. I was only west-coast time lagged, but felt like I was on mars. Away away. Way away. Being away from Della felt horrid. Not just because we have not yet weaned (although that was its own kind of suckitude), but because I am used to being within a car drive, an arm's reach, an hour.

So I am back and reconnecting every which way. Catching up to language that shifted in my absence, making that absence feel more acute. Catching up to my own selves, also feeling a bit shifted in flight. So yes, back home.  Grateful. Steeped in tea and toast and wool socks.