As I sit here and mourn the loss of the household cat, Magic, it feels like the whole world of grief and loss swims up to sit right in front of me.
When I lose one thing, I can’t help but think of all the other things I’ve lost as well. All the other things I have lost but never had a chance to grieve, because the ground has never slowed down to stay beneath my feet.
Until now. Now I can finally let the tears fall that that have never had a safe place to land.
Death is such a weird thing. How someone can be so alive, to suddenly being so gone? Connecting with the loss, connecting with the grief, brings the feelings of importance to the life I live. But it also brings the awareness of its fragility too. I left the cat for two hours, came back and she was dead. Just two hours before, I had stroked her delicate head and wondered whether she was okay. When I stepped back in my room, I knew something was different. And then I saw her. she had slipped between the gap in the chair – the one she had been sleeping on – and fallen. Her paw was still caught in the cushion above. Her body laid sprawled, unladylike. Un-Magic like. A cat that has been so quiet and content, pottering around, sleeping in any box or bag she could find, was suddenly sprawled out in a way I had never seen her before. She was old, she was a delicate flower.
She was not my cat. She was our landlords. But just the presence of death, whether you are deeply connected or familiar strangers, brings up the process of Loss, and the questioning of life that follow this. We connect with any living thing to a certain level, always.
There’s a gap now in the house. A slight edge in the air, of sorrow and grief. The other cat, Dumbledore is parading around as though nothing is the matter. They were not the closest of friends. He just wandered off the street one day and took half of her spot as the household cat. But then I catch him sniffing where Magic’s body was found, and taking a moment to sit, and I see that he knows what’s going on. Animals always do.
Loss makes you realise how precious you are. It brings up the overdose in all its entirety. It brings up the fact that, on that day, this is what I thought I wanted. I knew I truly wanted, in that moment, and the moments before. And death was it. But today, as I sat next to Magic’s cooling body, I took a deep breath as tears rolled forward. This is not what I wanted. Nor was it ever. Sure, there were parts of me that did. Parts of me that used to dream for it to be what I got, what happened…but there was a deeper part of me. The part that wants to live, and loves that I do.
This is the part that I connected with even more today. I realised that death is not something we choose. It is not something that I can just ‘decide’ one day, that it is what I want. Provided you are in a lighter headspace, I feel like this might be one of the remedies for Suicidality. In the darker times, I see that it wouldn’t. It would have only upped the longing. But increasingly recently, I have realised more and more that I am here to live. I do not choose when I die. This is something that happens, and it is out of my hands. In the meantime, I need to live. And no burden or overwhelm can cause this to end, because no matter the pain, or the ill-health, or the isolation, or the seeming ‘failings’, that is life.
Nothing is perfect, no one is perfect, and so embracing just the basic task of living, is the achievement we can all make in life. The rest are just added bonuses.