Sunday, May 8

In Passing

Hoover and The Boy, sunny day.

Hoover died quietly Saturday afternoon. Because she wasn't in any pain she got to die at home in the care of the people who loved her, and not in some scary smelly vet's office.

I never intended to write about the pain of losing a friend, just about the joys of having her around in her decline. The way the timing worked out it wound up being more like therapy, something I hadn't foreseen about blogging. My wife and I were touched by the good wishes and the stories so many people shared.

If I have anything like an abiding principle or a guiding light it's something Alan Watts said, to the effect that we imagine ourselves as discrete individuals walking through a world which is "out there" and different from us, when the truth of the matter is we're like apples growing out of a tree. Then we fall off, and rot, and get eaten by worms. I added that last part. I'll never be as spiritual as Alan. But I like to think he'd have laughed if I could have said it to him.

We're granted an illusion of time and we get to share it with others. Then it's gone. And we cry because we can't hold it back.

She never told me her favorite song, so I played Tom Wait's "Time". If she could have, I know she'd have appreciated the growling. Managed to give her a nice spot next to the Boy (with all the big tree roots you never know til you start digging), with her favorite toy (plastic bottle cap) and a coin for the ferryman. If there's a Heaven I trust the bathroom faucet trickles endlessly and the mice are slow.

Breathe in, breathe out. Hug somebody today if you're fortunate enough. And thanks again, everyone.


Anonymous said...

So sorry, Riley.
I'll say it again: It truly sucks to be human sometimes. All the damned feelings that come with it. But then, sometimes...
I'm gonna go be with my two furries and my housemates when I'm done here, and thank you for that reminder, too.
I'd never heard the thing about the apples before. I always viewed us as people molded from the same ball of clay, still stuck together at the feet. So much less elegant.
So thanks, and I'm sorry, and all the other stuff I haven't got the words to say.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the sweet, sad ending to the story. Sorry you lost your little friend.

I'd hug the parakeet, but she pretty much hates everyone and would almost certainly bite me.

Maybe we should get a cat.

julia said...

I'm sorry. When Pyewacket died (at 14) I cried for days. We buried her with the teddy bear she used to knead in moments of stress on top of a rise across from a wildlife sanctuary so she could watch the birds.

Safe passage, Hoover.

Ray Bridges said...

Aw, Riley, you're such a sentimental old fool. God love you for it, though. As my old cat started hack, hack, hacking, again, I just looked at him at whispered gently, "fuck you, and if you throw up on my bedspread again I'm going to kill you," but I said it in a much sweeter voice.

Again, how long were you two best friends? That's a pretty good run. You both did well by each other. Savor the sweetness of the memory, but do it in the grownup personna. It's much more satisfying.

handdrummer said...

You and Hoover were lucky enough to have found each other for part of this round on the wheel. Now your paths are parted, but she will always walk beside you when you think of her.

I can only hope that I am able to care for my beloved Xanthippe half as well as you cared for Hoover. Xan should have a ways to go, being just 5 and currently very healthy, but one never knows about these things.

eRobin said...

My cat tried his best to die at home but it happened suddenly (for us) and when my husband came home late after leaving me and the kids up in CT visiting my parents over Thanksgiving, he found Paget dying. So he did take him to a smelly, brightly lit vet's office because he didn't know what else to do. I still feel really bad about that. It sounds like Hoover had a peaceful passing.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Riley. What a wonderful journey you shared with Hoover, and thank you for letting us share a little bit of it. I'm going to go hug my three troublemakers now, which will confuse them but always makes me feel better.

I played Siouxsie and the Banshees for my late cat. She was named Siouxsie.

kc said...

Aw, I'm so sorry. I'm going to hug my kitties right now.