This is a different post. This is a hard post. It was crafted with love, it was forged from sorrow. I cried as I wrote this. I am proud I did. It means I am human.
Last Friday I lost the first cat I ever lived with. His name is/was Jynx. I had to help him pass to the Otherworld (I took him to the vets, held him, petted him, and cried as he died).
Jynx came into my life when I had first moved into the USA. I was living for the first time, with no animal as part of my family. It made sense, it made it easier…. Or so logic said. My wife saw I was struggling. So, we went to the Milwaukee Humane society. First, we considered an older cat. Suzanne (I think). She was older (8 or 12). She hissed at my wife, and would not acknowledge me. So, we looked at this handsome, black cat (18 months old), with a white tuft at his throat. He had a long bushy tail, and he was friendly. My wife was sold. So Jynx came home. He made me grow to love cats, where previously I had been dubious.
Jynx (black Cat) and Deliphi in Milwaukee
Over the years, Jynx made me happier than could be typed here. When we moved back to New Zealand, I could not bring my dog (that will be another post when she passes) but I COULD bring the cats. I mortgaged my dignity to do that (I asked family to help). So, in 2010, Jynx came to New Zealand, and he met Magic, my brother in-laws cat (who was now mine). Magic, who holds a similar place in my heart.
The Pride (Wellington 2013) in a rare moment of peace
Jynx survived a cancer scare. HE survived Delphi (the small Tortoise shell we have…), he Survived the Labrador puppy Dora …. He did not survive old age. None of us do. It is to be expected.
So, last Friday, it became apparent, that Jynx was not doing very well. He’d lost his muscle mass, he had lost his ability to stay comfortable and warm, and he had decided to ignore his litter box (or perhaps he ignored its use). So, we took my old gentleman to the Vets, and my wife and I talked with the Vet, went over a check list, and I discovered to my horror, Jynx most likely was not happy. He had had pancreatitis, he had a thyroid condition, he had very few of his teeth left (he still had his sabre teeth, that made him a Vampur). My wife and my 6-month-old son, said goodbye and left the room. I stayed. I made a promise in 2008 (when things were bad with my relationship) that I’d never abandon him while he lived. I managed to keep that oath.
In recent months, my (human) son has taken most of my free time, not spent at work, or trying to sleep. But I have managed to make time for all my fur children. Jynx was patted, held and talked to in the little hours when I got up to make a bottle. He was given treats from my plate. He knew he was adored. Though you always wish you’d done more.
I held him as the sedative was applied, and placed my mammoth ivory ogam scrimshaw pendant around his neck (1). I waited the 5 minutes as he calmly relaxed. Then I held him as they injected the horrible blue solution, an overdose of an anaesthetic (barbiturates), and watched my old man pass to the other world. But he passed with a calm serene honour, like he had lived life. I stayed with him a long time, I felt his body cool. Then I took my Ogam back, and placed it around my neck. I hope it is a beacon for his soul to visit me.
My Ogam pendant, this side is Sonas (happy) the otherside is for not happy….
So now at home I hear his phantom mewing in my head. I see motion, and I expect its him. It is NOT. It never shall be again I fear. Therefore, I cry. The other pets are missing him. Delphi, whom he helped raise from a kitten, is needy and looking for him. Magic, who had a contentious relationship with him at times, has withdrawn a little from me (I am HIS human). Dora, my Lab, loved that old cat. She’s quite and contemplative. Remember this is an 18-month-old lab. I know they are missing him. I can’t tell Moxi, the Dog I had to leave in the USA with family. I know she’s due to pass soon, and she will get her own entry when that happens.
There is a poem Vets often give grieving owners, I first saw it when my wife’s family lost their beloved Eurasia Bear. It is called the Rainbow Bridge, and it cuts me up even when I’ve not lost someone (human or not) I care for.
What does this have to with warriorship, or Paganism? Quite simply it is an acknowledgement that life is fraught with hard decisions. I made the best decision for my old man. It hurt me, as if I had lost a biological child. But it was right. He passed with dignity. In the end, that is the right thing.
I will receive his ashes, in a rimu box soon. They will hold a place dear in my heart, and I feel I will visit them often to talk with him. I know it’s not him. But I don’t care. I say again, I miss my old man. But I know he bore me no ill will.
This is not a request for commiserations, or sympathy, I will not accept those from anyone who is not my family. No this a message to the Universe. Look out, the best dam Vampur has passed. I don’t know if he will be waiting on the other side or reincarnate. But I look forward to seeing you again Jynx. (2)
Jynx (photo by Megan Sellars, taken a few weeks back). 2003 – 2017. Best friend, Vampur and Ladies man.
(1) Ok so here is a little bit of paganism. I have a ritual, I only started this in May. I place my ogam pendant around a pets neck, knowing they may pass before I see them again (or in Jynx’s case he WILL pass with me). I pray to my gods, and ask that they find their way back to me, using the pendant as a focus. I have done this for Moxi, Kuma (my mother in laws dog, who I raised for 6 months as a puppy) and now Jynx.
(2) I have his ashes back as of last Friday (11 August 2017). I feel better with them near me. Its not logical, but it is still true. I miss him terribly. I do not believe that will change.