I spent most of yesterday evening at the Newton Veterinary Hospital. When I got home from work yesterday, Nico, our adopted kitty, was laying in the grass looking very lethargic. My roommate and I called out to her, and she didn’t even bother to lift her head.
After I approached her, I knew something was seriously wrong. I walked back in the house choking back a burst of tears. It’s been just over a year since I lost my last cat, Linus, and somewhere inside me, I knew this situation was going to be the same.
We took Nico to Newton, which has a 24/7 facility for emergency visits. After triage and some blood tests, it came back that her liver and kidneys were failing. She was jaundiced, weak, and not the lively hunter that’s lived in our house for the past 3 months.
Just before we arrived at the hospital, I was holding her in my lap. There was a reason I didn’t want to put her in a kitty carrier, and that reason made itself clear as we arrived in Newton. Nico had been fading in and out of lucidity for most of the 45-minute ride, but 5 minutes before we arrived at the hospital, she lifted her head and looked up at me. It was a beautiful look of gratitude much like the look I had gotten from Linus the night before he died. It’s almost as if she knew what was going to happen, and she had to take one last look to say, “Thank you for making me part of your family.”
Nico came to our house an orphan, a kitty abandoned by her previous owners up the street from us. We found her on a lunch hour wandering around our house, very happy and very friendly. The plan was to keep her if she was still hanging around when we came home. Three hours later, Katherine called me and said, “There’s a cat out here that wants to come inside. What should we do with it?”
I said with no hesitation, “Let it in.” That same day, we bought Nico a litter box and food. She stayed with us for the next three months and brought us gifts of mice, moles, and chipmunks. She was happy to have a family, and we were happy to share our home.
Never in my life has sorrow been such a beautiful energy running through me. Nico’s death didn’t bring on a sharp fight for emotional control of my head. It didn’t harden me. There was no ugly slashing feeling in my lower spine. The sorrow flowed gently through me, running the course of the loss of a friend.
This morning–my birthday–I woke up at quarter after 7 to dig Nico’s grave. I gathered coverstones for the site and at at 8AM my roommate and I buried her. Now, just like Linus, Nico takes her place in eternity under the shade of oak and hemlock.
My stress capacity has been reaching new heights for the last 5 weeks. On more than one recent occasion between work and finance, I thought I was going to lose my mind. I haven’t. I thought losing a good friend would make my tensions worse. It didn’t. My mind is still here–quieter, softer, more mature.
I’ve grown more in the last month than ever in my life in the same span of time. I’ve adapted and changed; I’ve managed my fear of the future with a will that flows like floodwater. Today is my birthday, and in 2 hours, I will have been an independent mind and life on this planet for 23 years.
12 months away from the prophetic 24th year (In the Callan line, 24 has been a pivotal life-changing age,) I continue the journey toward adulthood with open eyes and ears. Starting to understand the dance of balance, I will yet be ready to recieve the path that I’ve
asked of fate.
I wanted to escape more than once this year. I wanted to hide in a corner until it all went away. I wanted to pack up and return to my cave. I wanted to look life straight in the eye and say “No, no, no, no. I don’t want this. I can’t handle this. I’m not able to do this. I’m not strong enough for this.”
These fears will last forever…not in the sense of a curse or mental baggage, but instead, in the sense that they serve to give me a chance to gather the courage to live the life I want. These fears are ingrained with a distinct reminder that if something is frightening or difficult, it’s an event all the more integral to expanding my sense of flow and growing my connection to the situations and energies around me. These fears are a call to action–a call to celebrate the struggle and endeavor of creating your own story.
The story is the path, and with each event–sorrow, joy, humiliation, pride, fatigue and fortitude–my heart has grown. At 13, when I began to realize what my own life meant to me, I asked a big favor of Lady Fate. I told her I wanted to see and feel everything a human possibly could in one lifetime. Being as young as I am with the experiences I’ve already had, it’s a scary request to fathom at times.
But even in a position that I considered three weeks ago to be unbearable, even after losing a dear friend amongst the other turmoil in my life, I’m calm. I see the path and I walk it courageously.
Happy Birthday, Joey.