This Yule, some of my family and friends received an email from me announcing the death of and briefly eulogizing my dear bearchild, Willy. Indeed, this Winter Solstice was marked by my cat's passing from the living world. He died in my arms on Dec. 21st. at approximately 4 O'clock in the afternoon. I cannot imagine a more beautiful gift, as this moment shared, on a day that for me is a special holiday. It was such a profoundly beautiful experience, that I could not allow the social media platform that is face-libre (read as such, please: faché-libré) to own the announcement. I get it: share your personal breaking news with the freaking world. For me, and largely why I created this website, was so that I could own my words before giving them all to anyone else's platform, as well as most images of my work. Don't get me wrong, I love the social media platform - for me it is a marketing tool. However, I do enjoy some very close and real bonds with my friends both near and far outside of that matrix. Email, video chat, text messaging, or even....a phone call. The age of instant communication is truly amazing. It's nice to take a step back when profound events occur, such as the death of a beloved familiar. He was my child. I was able to privately share the announcement with some people who touch my life in ways that mean more to me than the marketing tool of self-promotion. An act of reverence for one sweet soul.
I'm ready to share the news more widely now, in my way, via this post. Following, is largely the euology I sent via email to a select few who knew him, met him and loved him.
After losing a fang in early October, his health declined rapidly and I suspect it was kitten asthma advancing. He was never diagnosed as such, but has always displayed unusual breathing patterns, though nothing that ever hindered his abilities until very recently. He has absorbed a lot of my pain too recently, being my healer and my great familiar, so I'm not surprised to see his old age and Father Time catch up with him. After a month of extreme difficulty with breathing, I made the call today to Compassionate Care to schedule his appointment for Wed, the 23rd for in-home euthanasia, despite my telling him it was ok to go, to be free and that it was ok to leave me. I came home from work earlier than usual today, and like every day for the past month, I wondered if he'd be alive. Like always, he was still waiting for me. So I told him, just a couple more days, bear. He knew then. No more waiting. It was time. He struggled to breathe as we laid on the bed, and jumped down, trying to outrun fate. His strength failing, he laid down pointing to the darkest corner. I brought him in my arms to the last of day's light through my bedroom French door. In a moment, his bladder released and I knew, he was leaving this world. He breathed his last breath, the heart beat its last beat, and the light in his eyes dulled. My sweet Willy bearchild was finally at peace, the shell no longer needed, the spirit free. He went exactly as I'd hoped. Though it is incredibly bittersweet and he will be missed, it was a beautiful moment shared, and he lived a long and loved life. I honor his life this week as I clear space and remember lovingly my bear.
He was buried yesterday, December 23rd, out on the farm, and I'm eternally grateful to the Berdine Family for allowing me to give him this reverant place. Jesse drove me out to the farm, and we had Willy's body in a cooler on a bed of hay and a block of ice. I wrapped him in his old, loved pillowcase anointed with oils and a couple of his toys. Though my apartment is dreadfully quiet without my sweet, vocal familiar, my heart is more at peace having the closure of digging his grave myself, placing his shell within and finally giving it back to the earth. Jesse let me pick any spot I wanted (so long as it was not the future site of a ditch to be dug, of course), and he left me alone to have my moment of closure with my bear, to dig and to cry, of course. He brought me a rake to help more easily cover the hole I had dug and a glass of wine to toast a great animal. Willy's final resting place is at the SW corner of the garden, where he will be graced by the sun, moon, and stars. A place I will visit and in which I look forward to planting something in Spring - perhaps a fig.
I love you always, Willy. See you in dreams, free spirit and beyond in the great and wide Universe.
Blessed Yule and Peace Outside,