Monday, November 1, 2010

The whole block is mourning

Samie reclining on her cat-nipped scratching post.
Samie was a special cat and the most sociable kitty I'd ever owned. In the three years we were involved, she lived at four different addresses and was never troubled by relocating.

She'd go out immediately and start making new friends. jumping over fences, scaling trees and exploring gardens.

By 11 a.m. Saturday, everyone on the street had learned of her demise, perhaps having heard the weeping and wailing emanating from my little apartment. It is incredible how the sudden event affected me physically, like a fatal blow to the solar plexus. I canceled all weekend plans, including Halloween, and spent all day Saturday, lying on the couch in my pajamas, crying. Two friends came by to sit and talk. We covered many topics, including the fragility of life and the specialness of kitties.

Within 24 hours, I passed through the Kubler-Ross cycle of grief a couple of times. My poor brain kept trying to figure out how I could undo the damage, place blame or remake the past, but no go. My neighbor said she wouldn't have known Sweet Peas were toxic. She had ordered them before for Ralph. One of the other cats that dug in the garden was still okay - I wondered if the medication Samie got last week to reduce a swollen lip had made her more vulnerable. Who knows?

Strangely, she'd never ventured that far down the block before last week and probably wouldn't have spent so much time in Ralph's yard had he not minded her when I went away for a few days last month. There were several coincidental factors that aligned to take her from me.

I decided to drive across Lake Pontchartrain to Fountainbleau State Park on Sunday to walk in the woods and sit beside the bayou. It feels incredibly peaceful there, listening to the ducks and frogs while dragonflies buzz overhead. A woman and her young daughter were looking through the binoculars when my cell phone rang. I told her I was mourning my cat and we started talking about the pets we'd lost. She told me a story about her Husky who died when she was on a camping trip - she'd sensed something and returned home in the middle of the night. Standing there on the dock, years later, tears started rolling down her cheeks. It's amazing how much animals can come to mean. They are our greatest friends and supporters.

On my way out the door, I had run into Mr. and Mrs. Singh, the Indian couple from Mumbai. Mr. Singh shook his head and told me it was God's will. I should be happy because it was meant to be, or something like that. Mrs. Singh can't speak English, but rubbed my back, sympathetically.

I thought about Mr. Singh's philosophy of life. He probably believes Samie will be reincarnated. I like that idea a lot, because she was a fantastic kitty and would probably come back as something much better. But right now I can't imagine how she could be any better than she already was.

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