This week’s Tuesday, we had to put to sleep our family cat Isis after 13 beautiful years together.
She had been diagnosed with a tumor in her jaw exactly three weeks ago after my sister had seen something oddly-coloured when Isis yawned and had brought her to the vet. This Monday, before I left my parents’ place for my hometown, I convinced her to eat something, despite the by now visible bulge on her jaw, by splashing around in the food and saying gentle things. That was the last time she really ate something.
My parents called our vet in tears to make an appointment for putting her down at home on Tuesday afternoon when Isis’ belly kept on rumbling, being hungry but not able to eat. The doctor didn’t really have time though and could only come right away.
I went back to my parents’ place that same evening and we buried Isis in the garden.
Thinking about it and looking back, the most confusing thing about all this is that I feel I don’t understand her death. I haven’t been living with my parents for the past 3 1/2 years, so not seeing Isis regularly is normal for me and the feeling of her real, permanent absence hasn’t really reached me yet. There is an intense, deep sadness I feel about the loss when I think about it, but also so much incomprehension. What has happened? How can someone, something living die? I understand the rational part, how the heart stops beating, the blood stops flowing, and the brain is not reached by the necessary substances to continue working any more; I have seen her dead body and touched it, feeling it to be somewhat cool and too stiff to be alive, feeling it to not react to my touch – but what has happened? There is this apparent infinity – how can a personality, its thoughts, memories, all this that makes each living being special, just vanish? Where has it gone to? And if it has gone to nowhere – and it hasn’t – then what is its reality? I understand what has happened, but I don’t understand.
That Tuesday evening, I spent with my parents in their kitchen, listening to soothing music; everyone reading, internetting and copying photos at their own pace. We all need our time to understand and learn to live with it.