Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Death Row

In the Big Picture Show of Life, one of its inevitable truths is fast approaching. "Whatever is subject to arising is subject to ceasing." The vibrant beauty and vitality we see now will fade, wither and decompose. The Noble Truth of Impermanence has come calling.

The first time I heard of this common sense notion was reading the good Dr. Leda's Rose Journal at Regan Nursery. It is easy to go uh huh, yea right and laugh out loud when she writes about it and when the Noble Truth waits in the distance. When Impermanence is knocking at your door it is another matter.

There is a neck and neck race right now to see if the Noble Truth has its way first or if I have to step in because the Noble Truth is slacking off on the job and toying with me.

In the morning sun Greyman casts a long shadow across the lawn as he warms himself in lizard like fashion to a new day. He woke up again. At rest his breathing is rapid. His heart murmur must be getting worse. It has been two weeks since he jumped up to the top of the kitchen butcher block table to do his feed me dance before dinner. Now at 16, getting on and off the coffee table is an effort of much consideration.

He still gets around quite well with his one good eye. The lost one was nerve damage from toxoplasmosis that still causes regular seizures. When they are done contorting his body he purrs.

Greyman is the sweetest cat I have ever known. He will leave a long shadow.

Darkie, the Big Fat Black Thing his entire life has turned into Concentration Kitty. His hips and spine protrude. He walks so slowly and gingerly, wobbling with each step. I think a slug could move faster than him. I check regularly to see if he is still breathing.

His massive consumption of water is a sign of kidney failure or diabetes. At 17 he is not going to the vet for expensive life saving treatment. I am sorry, homey don't have that kind of cash.

They are both still hungry though. They want their dinner and they want it on time. Even more better if it is early and they get two scoops.

Someone is going to have to take them to the other side. I was hoping and will hope until the last minute that it will not have to be me. If it is a burden I should have to carry, a little prayer to my patron St. Christopher to give me strength. There is a fruit tree in the story, how nice.

Listen up Noble Truth of Impermanence, I have been good to you and recycled all my green waste for decades, a lot of it on site. I brought other people's impermanence home to my garden. I gave you your do. I buried animals here that were not even mine when you came calling. Now it is time for you to do your job for me.

Please don't make me do it.


Layanee said...

Christopher: They look very content at the moment. A credit to your loving care.

Pam/Digging said...

We buried our 16-year-old dog last spring. It was hard, but she'd had a good life with us, as I'm sure your cats have had with you.

Pam said...

Heartbreaking. My garden cares for three dogs and four cats and I always wished that I had learned something each time that would make it easier. I never did, which upon restrospect, is a good thing I think.

Wanting to eat is good. Purring is good.

Annie in Austin said...

I hope that your patron St Christopher has some influence with St. Michael, the Archangel, so that the angel will step in and release your feline friends from their earthly bonds. Sometimes in legend, Michael acts as the angel of death, carrying souls heavenward.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

I should try and summon the Archangel Michael then. Greyman had his dinner then sat in my lap and had a long seizure.

It amazes me how he can get up when it is done like nothing at all has happened. They are not a violent thrashing kind. It looks more like a full body cramp. The brain says go and the limbs won't co-operate. They do strange slow motion contortions in odd positions.

Wicked Gardener said...

A very touching post. It is heartbreaking to lose a loved one. I hope the universe sends you some peace.

Harold & Maude said...

After so many years of sharing life together, I hope the good-byes between you and your kitties are not painful but occassons for gratitude. I wish for them a peaceful sleep that does not end. And if you have to get some 'assistance' I hope you can be there to comfort them in their final moments. If my time comes and Nature isn't ready I hope I will have friends to 'assist' and comfort me. Peace to the three of you. And thanks. Christopher, for sharing this side of your life and love with others. You are a good man.