In the last few days I have begun suddenly to think that I was, instead of being too hasty, that I maybe I was reaching the point of ‘hanging on too long’ in regards to my elderly ailing beloved 15-1/2year old Sophie. I watched her yesterday – as I have been watching her closely over the past week or two. Asking her, sometimes out loud, “Is this too much, honey?” “Have you had enough?” But of course, no audible response came. And there was still detectible if subdued pleasure she experienced in my company.
So was my attention yesterday, while Sophie was occasionally moving from inside to outside, occasionally falling and being unable to pick herself up, and then she would wander a tiny portion of the yard – was she trying to decide whether the pain of crouching was worth the desire to defecate or urinate? Did she just collapse on her hind legs or did she mean to ‘take a break’ and sit a spell?
It was then that I decided to meditate to communicate with her. I relaxed and closed my eyes and began my peaceful rhythmic breathing. I brought Sophie to mind… She sat next to me, almost upright, almost in a human sitting position. (This my rational mind said I did not need. Let’s not be silly, it said.) I did sense the aliveness, the joy of this beloved animal. Almost grinning whilst sitting next to me. Well, until the stubborn remnant of my rational mind succeeded in insisting on a more ‘dog demeanor’ from the visage of my beloved companion. She apparently did not resist nor object.
I then saw an image of her 3-, 5-, 8-year old self racing around the yard – wearing a path along the perimeter that also served as her sentry track! I saw her as she provided her joyful, exuberant (and yet always polite) greetings! And I thought – Oh, so maybe it really isn’t time. I have a sense that we were, in that moment, sharing in memories and also truly being in that energy once again together! I thought that if she felt this good still, then well, this IS ‘quality of life’!
And then later that evening I watched dear Sophie struggle down the ramp to the backyard and the struggle more to keep her posture adequate to perform the task she needed to perform. At one time, she just sunk into a twisted sit. And stayed there… While I imagined that she had really wanted to pee, but had lost the muscle strength and now was waiting for that muscle tension to return enough for her to get back up. ANd she waited. For a while.
It was then that I realized that the images that had come to me earlier were images of her true spirit. It was who she WAS and how she loved being. AND it was how she would be once she was released from the struggle and burden of this painful, creaky, resistant old body.
And so the appointment was made. For the next day. For today. Today I am home truly alone for the first time in almost 25 years(!!!). My kitty sisters Lila and Sammy joined me in about 1988 or thereabouts. And Sophie joined all of us in the summer of 1997 (at a year and a half old). Oreo stopped in like a bombshell from 2006-2010. But Sophie sustained me through the loss of everyone else. And I was never alone.
And now I am.
And because of the damned unfinished thesis, I cannot just head right out to find a new companion. Perhaps this is a blessing… I’m sure it will prove to be.
I am alone.
I am not sure how I will like it.