They Held The Energy Of My OLD Life
Dedicated to everyone who’s lost their pet.
Well…you’ve just read about the loss of my beloved cat, Fraidy.
What about Teddy? What happened to that portly, needy, stay at home fella?
Our friend who was taking care of the cat(s) told us Teddy had been his ever-present self while we’d been away, meowing for Fraidy, but grateful for the extra attention.
The day I returned from Palm Springs, to my new life “after Fraidy”, as I got out of the car, I remember noticing tufts of white fur dancing in the breeze all over the front yard.
We entered the house from another door besides the front, otherwise we would have seen it.
The next morning, after Teddy hadn’t come home all night, (maybe he’d seen Fraidy get killed and was traumatized, hiding; we surmised) I thought I’d go down the street calling his name – so he’d know it was safe to come home.
That’s when I saw it. There on his chair on the front porch, signs of a struggle; cushions askew and fur – everywhere.
I screamed for Raphael and we followed the trail. Tufts in the bushes adjacent to the chair, bigger tufts past the driveway and close to the sidewalk (what I’d seen the previous day) all leading to a ridiculous amount of fur in a circle on a neighbor’s front lawn. It was obvious, something horrible had happened there.
I was scream-crying, hands covering my face.
“Go back to the house Janet.” Raphael was looking around in the bushes, another neighbor had joined him.
“I’m not kidding, GO BACK!” He yelled at me.
“What…do…you…see? Is…he…there? Is…it…Teddy?” I was crying so hard the words were spaced between sobs.
He walked over and hugged me, turning me around, aiming me back toward the house. “GO HOME, NOW.” He didn’t yell, he said it with a quiet authority I’ve never heard in his voice before – or since.
I zombie-walked back to our front porch collecting the fur, Teddy’s fur, along the way.
By the time Raphael came slowly walking back, shoulders slumped, head down, I’d collected three large double hands full.
That’s my Teddy Bear, I thought, remembering a fight I’d broken up years before, in the middle of the night. I had leapt out of bed, woken up by that cat screaming that sounds like babies crying and I KNEW it was Teddy.
I ran stark naked out into the backyard, following the screams, yelling his name, until he made a beeline, running past me back inside. I pulled him out from under the couch and checked for blood, there was none, but he was covered head to toe in sticky, wet saliva.
He ended up having puncture wounds in his neck, under all that thick fur, that abscessed, battle wounds of a VERY close call.
The vet thought it was probably a possum. In the week that followed he had to have drains put in and wear the cone of shame, and his late night battle had taken its toll, that chubby, black Siamese face turned completely white. It took a couple of years to return to its normal color.
Bottom line – Teddy was a fighter, I could see he’d put up a good fight.
I’ve asked my husband many times since then, often in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep, “Did you find Teddy in the bushes that day? Did you see him dead?” His answer is always the same, “no”, but I’m not sure I believe him.
In the weeks and months that followed, I grappled with my grief and my guilt. I felt that if I’d been home I could have saved my boys. I can still feel it as I write this.
I turned to my spiritual practice to help me cope with that kind of loss. I read books and talked to whomever would listen, and the consensus seemed to be this:
Our animals are little angels that share our lives and shower us with unconditional love.
They hold or balance our energy, licking our tears and climbing into our laps when we need them the most.
We will see them again someday.
All of that gave me comfort.
It was also explained to me that since my life had recently changed SO dramatically, it was okay for them to go. I had gotten both cats as a single, working woman in an apartment. A lot had changed; I was married, in a house with a dog and I’d just quit my job of twenty years.
“They held the energy of your old life” a wise friend told me, “it’s okay for them to go, you’re not alone anymore, your life could not be more different. Bless them for getting you here.”
That was in 2006; and I’ve since noticed that when anyone around me loses a pet, their life is going through some kind of transition; a baby, a move, change of jobs, marriage, illness, empty nest, divorce, something that sends the silent signal “It’s okay to go.”
So when you lose that precious pet, if you can crawl out of the hole of despair for just a second, you’ll be able to see it too.
They carried you as far as they could go – and then they handed you, or will hand you, off to someone new.
I get that system. I don’t like it, but it makes sense to me, and I harbor the hope of seeing all my furry friends on the other side.
What a great day THAT will be.
Big kiss with a wet nose,