Sunday, November 1, 2015

What Duncan & Cesar Taught Me About Death

Written October 22, 2015

We're visiting Niagara Falls.  I don't know why, but I've been thinking a lot about Duncan, our feral cat, while we're here.  I remember how sick he was at the end, and I remember what Cesar Millan wrote about how animals accept death.  Duncan demonstrated this to me.  He used to come running to see me as soon as I unlocked the back door.  He'd gobble down his food and head butt me, looking for affection.  But in the last few days, he remained sitting, too weak to do much of anything.  He allowed me to use a baby wipe to stroke around his face.  I brought the food and water to him, but he didn't want it.  On the last day, when I went outside in the morning  I didn't see him.  I called and called.  No response.  I let Walter  out in the back yard, and he ran in circles around my friend's car which we'd parked in the back yard while she was traveling.   I figured Duncan must be there.  I looked but couldn't see him.  I got a flashlight to help me see better, and there he was.  Oh...

Wayne had gone fishing, and I wasn't sure who to call.  I'd need to move the car, but didn't want to back over Duncan.  I called my friend, Beverly, and sobbing, I told her, "Duncan's dead."  She said, "I'll be right there."  The day before, I'd asked Wayne to dig a hole because I figured Duncan's time was close.  

Beverly came with her husband, Tim, who's our minister, and still crying, I opened the front door and showed them where Duncan was.  Tim moved the car back carefully, and there was Duncan, sprawled out in death.  I couldn't stop crying. 

I'd put on gloves, and I picked up his lifeless body, laying it on a sheet.  I curled him so it looked as if he were sleeping.  I wrapped him up in the sheet and laid him in the hole.  Tim put his hand on mine, and Bev put her hand on my back.  Tim prayed, and I sobbed through the prayer.  We both put the dirt on Duncan and filled the hole, patting down the dirt.

I don't know why, in the midst of all the beauty of Niagara Falls, I keep seeing poor little Duncan's lifeless body.  He died three weeks ago on October 1st, so I'm probably still processing his death.  

Cesar said animals accept the natural order of life and death.  That's not to say they don't feel sad if their human dies.  I really do think animals feel emotions.  Duncan seemed resolute in his acceptance   He ate and drank until he didn't want to any more, and then he found a quiet spot to take his last breaths.

It still brings me to tears, but I appreciate what Duncan and Cesar taught me.  

Take care of those around you, and when it's their time, prepare yourself for what needs to be done.  Cry when you need to. Write about it, pray about it, talk about it, walk it out.  Eventually it will be your time.  We'll meet again on the other side.  Duncan just got there first.

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