“If you suffer, it is not because things are impermanent. It is because you believe things are permanent.”
I’ve been staring at the line, from the venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, for over an hour and a half. Between glancing at the screen constantly, catching random scenes of “It” (the movie by Stephen King) all the while going back and forth deleting / restarting this post numerous times thinking I’m ready to proceed. “It” was meant as a mind-freeing, or mind-numbing distraction so I could write this but, well; that hasn’t worked out too well.
The unenviable truth is that this past few weeks, better yet months, has seen suffering rise to a level I thought I had once absolved in my life. Things had gone really well for a while. Home life had been great. We bought a house. I keep progressing at my job and am privileged to earn as much, or as little, as I want to as I work for a fantastic company. We had recently adopted a couple new dog friends. Everyone seemed to be happy. With all of that, I finally felt like everything I had been working so hard for was finally starting to come to fruition.
One day I left for work and our cat Agatha was laying in her usual place, behind the mailbox in the front garden. I took a pic of her since the light was hitting her just right and she looked full of life. That was the last time I saw her. Later that day we couldn’t find her. She wouldn’t come in at night like she usually does. Things didn’t feel right and I knew she wasn’t coming home.
She never did.
Last night our other cat, Itsy, was meowing at the front door to come in. I let her in and instantly I could see she was limping. She was a lot more vocal than usual as well. I picked her up and she didn’t struggle, which was unusual because she hates being picked up. Her front right paw felt a little cold so I thought maybe she was sleeping under a bush and the paw had fallen asleep. I gave her about another 10-15 minutes to not only warm up, but hopefully get the circulation going back to the foot.
That never happened.
I called Leah at work and asked her to come home so I could bring Itsy to the all night emergency vet clinic. When she got home, my son Alex and I took Itsy to get help. The cold paw was indicative of something tragic, and we were about to find out it was not something we would want to hear; at all. It was a blood clot brought on by advanced stages of heart disease. This blew my mind as Itsy was an extremely healthy cat. Minus check-ups, she never had to see a vet for anything and never presented any signs of distress. This blood clot was in her lower leg, per the vet, the next one (which would come soon) may not be as forgiving.
The next clot could present anywhere. It could show up in another leg. Her lungs. Maybe it’d show up in an eye or even her brain and cause seizures. That was when we were given the bad news that the vet recommended euthanasia. Leah and Colin came down to say their goodbyes and then they went home, Alex also went with them.
I had been given a box with Itsy’s lifeless body inside and a bill to pay for the visit including the diagnosis, some pain medication to make her feel better until a decision could be made, then the cost of the euthanasia. All the “we are so sorry” comments were helpful and appreciated from the staff, but it felt so cold and blasé.
Early this morning, I buried the box in one of her favorite spots. She loved to soak up the sun in one of the gardens. I hope she can still feel the warm sun.
There is so much more to say, there’s so much more to share. That will have to wait. For now, I reluctantly internalize this suffering and cope with the impermanence of it all.
Life is not static, it changes and I get that.
THAT I can deal with.
…more to come… some day