Death, Digital Diarrhea and Hardest Post Ever Written and not necessarily in that order. All I know is that it’s 4:AM and I’ve struggled to write this for hours.
I’ve stirred the pot with dozens of titles and they all stink. Hold you nose and let’s dive in shall we? Do you want the good news or bad news first?
If you’re like me you’ll want the bad news first. If you rip of bandage off fast it hurts less. Maybe not, but at least once the bandage is off the wound can heal.
I made this pet loss graphic (below) about six months ago. I’d been preparing for Merlin to exit any day but he hadn’t.
Six months earlier Radish died and the makeshift shrine I’d made in the bathroom was falling apart. I couldn’t bear to remove it but it was time to rip off the bandage and move on.
Originally meant as temporary cat perch until Radish could recover and jump the way he used (I had high hopes for the sick, old boy after being adopted from the shelter) but he didn’t. The play perch, never used, became a back drop for palliative care and then a shrine to his memory. I’m still angry at the injustice, but every cat has a destiny and his was to crack my heart wide open.
It’ll be a year on June 18th that he died and I still can’t believe he’s gone. It’s World Pet Memorial Day today. If you have loved and loved a pet, this one is for you.
Which brings me to why I don’t want to write this post. After seven years of blogging (five years here) I’ve discovered the joy of not sharing. We live in the age of digital diarrhea, spewing out what we had for breakfast, sharing, over-sharing the instant any event happens.
What taped my mouth shut was death.
I didn’t want to grieve in public. I didn’t want dozens of condolences without the energy to respond to them. I didn’t want tributes or memorial graphics or blog hops. I wanted to take back my life to honor and mourn Merlin’s life privately. So I said nothing, until now. And even now I say only this: Death, this death finally taught what I most value about life. It isn’t found online but inside my soul. It’s one thing to know it but another to live it. That meant guarding and not sharing.
It’s a painful truth because I need my online community for my good news. I expected to launch my non-profit Kickstarter, Black Cats Tell, an anthology of positive black cat stories weeks ago, but life had other plans. The launch is TOMMORROW!
The last few months piled one obstacle after another resulting in the worst possible timing. It nearly did me in and I’m not ready to talk about it. Part of my reason is I haven’t reconciled how easy grieving Merlin is. I expected a tsunami of tears and complete devastation. Instead, the stress of everything (and I don’t mean just the Kickstarter) going wrong stripped me clean to the bone. It felt like the 19th nervous breakdown. Merlin however slipped away in the most peaceful death, just as he’d wanted, naturally. On a warm, sunny morning on a favorite pillow in the garden, facing west just like in the photo.
Despite the angst and external madness of the material world, I’ve been feeling peace, joy and love unlike anything I’ve experienced before. It’s so weird, it’s surreal. I can’t articulate it. In time, I will write about everything that happened. Oh, and the beautiful images…
I may be tight-lipped for now but Merlin has plenty to say. I promised he’d be blogging from the great beyond and he has. I suspect he’ll be sharing some new insights about life and death.