Zijn Laatste Zwerftocht
Yesterday we buried you.
The words were flowing through my mind, like the last twirling earthly connections of our story.
It may be over but it won't stop there. You can't meow to me anymore but the story goes on, within me, within the earth in which we laid you to rest, within the love. The love is endless, like the earth.
The earth in which we buried you. Lavall. The gorges, the birds, the wild nature. It is a good place, a sacred place. A place made sacred by the love and the pain with which we dug your grave.
The pain seems selfish, for you don't suffer anymore. But we grieve. The empty space you leave behind is just that: empty. And this emptiness has taken hold of us, of me, for a long while. But no matter how empty and torn we feel right now, we are forever filled by the love. The love will take over because only the love survives.
The words keep coming, like the trails of little animals all around your fresh grave, like the trails of the creatures you liked to follow and hunt.
Like the branches of the trees in which you loved to stalk birds, the words keep flowing and rising, rising up to this non-existing male sky-god that could not take you from me.
No one can take you from me anymore for you returned to the earth and to the water. The water in which I found you, almost drowning because of the greed of another human being, when you were not yet two days old. The water in which I will cool my burning skin in the scorching summer heat.
You returned to the earth. The earth on which we will spend our summers, where we will laugh and dive in the water, drowning our tears in the river that runs next to your grave, greeting the tree that will find strength in your little lifeless body and resting on the rock, the dolmen, which now protects your forever sleep.
When I walked into the room of the clinic where you were laying, I knew. I saw the pain and the anxiety with which you were clinging to life and I knew. You were a tiny kitten again, and I was, again, the person having to decide. When you were a tiny baby cat, thrown away by that selfish human, I decided to get milk and bottles and nurture you and your sisters to life. Now I had to decide to put an end to that marvelous little life I had fought so hard to sustain. It all came back to me, during those long slow minutes while we were waiting for the vet to come and tell us what we already knew and dreaded in our hearts: the sleepless nights when you needed feeding, you gently biting my nose, me teaching you to climb that first tree....
It all came back: the 157 680 000 seconds we shared keep racing before my eyes since yesterday. And when I heard my voice say the words of selfless love that would stop your suffering, I split in two.
The other Margot held you close and tried to sooth your fear when you drew your last breaths and the other Margot carried the weight of your dead body out of the clinic. And like a mother would have done for her dead child, I cleaned your ebony coat and engraved your features one last time in my mind, to hold on to forever. I held you close and kissed your forehead and whispered words that you couldn't hear anymore but that would accompany your wandering spirit to its resting grounds. The other Margot carried your soul into the night to set you free. And the other me, with her loved ones, carefully chose the spot where you would be put to rest. And under every rock she chose to protect your little grave, the other me found life: a lizard you would have loved to chase, an ant nest, a bug.
The other me felt empty, empty of your presence but filled by the love she has for you and she felt grown thanks to your teachings.
The other me went home and performed those mechanic movements that sustain life: cleaning a bowl from which you would nevermore eat or drink, preparing a diner for those loved ones you would nevermore cuddle or purr to.
Voor altijd nooit meer.
The other me thought she heard your voice meowing to come in and then felt the stabbing pain of realizing that that meow was now silenced forever.
I am the one who nurtured and nursed you but I am also the one who feels orphaned now.
And the other me calmly talked of loving memories, of happy moments that she shared with you and while sitting there, in front of that little grave I can't believe we dug, the other me received and understood your final teaching and gift. I got up and felt taller, stronger. Strong with the gratitude and love of knowing that I have shared something extraordinary with you.
And the little flame of the candle standing guard over your little body gave off a soothing light, in the same way as your presence has been soothing to me for the past five years. And we sat there watching it for a long time, saying "farewell" and "be happy" and "thank-yous" that already brought healing to our splintered hearts.
Upon leaving, I was overthrown by fear: fear of forgetting your smell, your gaze, the sound of your voice and I ran back, crying, screaming and fell on my knees to tell you once more how much I love you...
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
And the days passing before my heart mends will be many but the place where we laid you, those mountains that watch over me and that I look upon every night mean soothing and healing. We couldn't have found you a gentler place.
The wild river, the birds singing, the cool shade of the trees, you are part of all that now.
I will feel your life and memory beating in the bark of the trees, I will hear you breathe in the breeze whispering through the leaves and I will feel the soft brush of your fur against my legs in the cool ripples of the water surrounding your grave. Whenever needed, we'll find solace in the wild nature in which you lay for your endless journey.
The lessons that you've thought me won't be spoiled.
And the final gift, lesson, is this:
when I die, I will be able to look death in the eye and welcome it as an old friend. I will leave without fear thanks to you, and to all the animal companions I have seen leaving, and when that day comes, I will welcome that last breath with the soothing vision of you waiting for me.
Fly for me, bird of the sun, fly high.