The Long, Hard Goodbye

There is no greater strength in all the world than unconditional love. Not for your kind. Not for your species, but for life in every form it takes. For the delicate miracle of its beginning and the sweeping majesty of its end. To love the fleeting fragility of life is to place your very faith in the hands of pain, and to trust in the poignancy of its plan.

Sooner or later, we will lose. Or we will be lost. Either way, the ripples will fade and the waters will calm once more. Not gone. Not forgotten. Simply absorbed into an infinite collective to be born anew, embraced again. To unleash a beautiful new disturbance upon the placid surface, while old echoes shape the ever changing shore.

The anchor of loss should never harden nor mire us in stagnation, however heavy the burden of its weight. Each loss steels us to feel more fiercely, to delve more fearlessly, to drink more deeply of the life that exists at once finite and unbound.

The sting of goodbyes will fade, but let them never fade away. Carry forward that pain. Hold the memory forever near. Wear it proudly around your soul, as an emblem that you’ve lived. That you’ve dared. That you’ve loved. And walk soundly in the knowledge that all those who have loved you will do the same.

Rest peacefully, sweet thing, as one journey has reached its end. But rest assured as well, for you will never rest alone.

waterripplesandgreenery

***

If there is one blessed curse that rises above all others in the life of an artistic soul, then surely it must be the passion with which we feel. Never in my days have I managed to look into the eyes of death and walk away unaffected. Nor would I ever hope to be the kind who can.

The words above spilled from my fingers upon the passing of what some might consider “just an animal,” though I feel they apply equally to any light extinguished. Let’s call it an exercise in humanity. She was a sweet old cat who ran, screaming, into my arms during a walk two winters ago. And she never left again. When I heard the vet estimate her advanced age, I knew I couldn’t put her through any adoption process. Instead, I brought her in to live out her time in warmth, with a full belly. She repaid me with purrs and a face full of scratches. Fair deal. Funny all the forms that gratitude can take.

I seldom spoke of her and had myself convinced that I hadn’t grown too attached. A caretaker, really, just doing a good deed. Well today I realize differently. I realize that it doesn’t particularly matter how long you’ve known another living thing. Its impact is burned on you from the start. Maybe there’s something to be taken from that—a reminder of sorts of the power we wield in the lives of those we cross. Maybe it’s time we stop collecting strange faces on a digital friends list and start cherishing those real connections while they are here…human, animal or other.

Or maybe it’s just a sad day to see the passing of a life force as pure and true as this one. No malice. No agenda. Just live and let live. Love and let love. I never considered her mine. It never made a difference. She simple was. And in that, she was perfect.

Take from it what you will…

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