Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Goodbye friend, child, teacher...

I have been hiding. I have been avoiding. I have been so sad my marrow hurts. Crystal (my dear sweet kitty angel) died on Friday and I just can't seem to get it together. I want to write but I'm stuck. I want to pay bills because they don't let you bring your juicer to jail but I can't open the envelopes. The only thing I can do is clean my house, clean my office, clean my attic, clean my storage unit and file stuff too. She was everything to me. Fifteen years of friendship. In the work I do I deal with dying everyday, I really thought I was further along. Losing kitty makes me realize that I don't know much. And yet what I do know is that ritual is the most powerful way to find closure.

It started with Roshi Joan's workshop on Death and Dying a few weeks ago. Thank God she opened the door for dealing with the loss of pets. I wanted so badly to focus on Crystal but with all the cancer patients around (me included) I felt like maybe it would be too "light". Well, when she spoke of the intense bond between her and her dog and how hard it would be to lose him, hot water poured from my eyes. I have dealt with my own death many times (no time soon - 90 is my goal - and since I usually get what I want I'm pretty set with that number). However, I can barely stomach the idea of losing someone I love. How to go on? How to deal with the intense missing?

Life is a terminal condition. If you watched me on Oprah last week (funny, it was a show on death) you heard me say it. Tis true, we're ALL going to die but how many of us will truly live? And what does that mean? Is it just another one of my cliche media sound bites? Well, in this raw state this is what I think truly living means:

1. Telling people you love them even though there is so much poison that you think you hate them. Once you say it you burst open with white joy and then you miss the time lost in the negative.

2. Doing things that make you really scared but really exhilarated.

3. Muting the voice in your head that is always worried, always tentative, always keeping you in the land of stuck. "Fuck it". "Just do it". GO.

4. Saying no to people who only take.

5. Saying yes to people who give you as much as you give them.

6. Opening your heart so wide that you touch a space that is unknown, uncomfortable and exposed. Staying in that space. Holding it. Holding it. Ahhhh.

7. Turning addictions into accomplishments. Nothing has you in it's grips. You are the grips.

8. Service to God/Goddess. Everything else will fall into place.

9. Sacred sweat, lots of it. Dance till you bleed. Laughing so loud someone complains.

10. Forgiving the world and then making it better.

And of course petting a kitty. Loving all sentient beings. Taking them off your plate and placing them on your sofa with a toy. Note: You may need a bigger sofa.

If everyone I meet is a teacher then Crystal was the ultimate sage. She adored ALL BEINGS. It was weird. Charles Manson could come for tea (or Bourbon) and she would have poured affection all over him. It was uncomfortable at times. "ENOUGH", I would say, "you're being creepy". But she had to pour it on that thick to get through some of my walls. She was sent to me for this very purpose. To teach me how to allow unconditional love in. I give it, but don't receive too much. Not that love isn't all around me. It is. I'm just very protective - or I was until the little grey love thunder came rollin' in. Now the steel is down and she is gone and there is so much ouchie, and endless thanks.

I am very grateful for way that she died. It was time. All her veins had collapsed. There was nothing we could do other than to facilitate her passage. She died in our garden, in my arms, her tiny paw in my hand, Brian's hand on my shoulder. Silent tears falling on her fur. The vet came and it was extremely peaceful and kind. In the Tibetan book of the dead it is suggested not to make chaos at the time of death. The spirit goes into shock and it doesn't totally leave right away. Who knows if this is true. Only one way to find out and we're not going there TODAY. But if it is true then Brian and I did it right. We held her long before and LONG after her death and then buried her under some fluffy moss with her favorite hair brush and a peony.

Again, I miss her.

Peace and purrs,


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