by Jill MacGregor
She knew it the same way a little bird knows which branch to land on.
I imagine my body told her as I held her and cried after the phone call. She detected the change. I didn’t need to have words to tell her what was going to happen.
Nothing surprised me more than understanding that she knew that that day was her last day. Because she was just ready.
Even though I wasn’t.
Suddenly, her every focus was the sky, the expanse, the wind in the trees—she wanted to be part of it. This sweet cat, who happily spent the greater majority of her time under the bed awash in her cushy blankets—-unexpectedly wanted perches that were elevated and allowed her to see as much of the sky as possible. She seemed thirsty for it.
It was just one more thing that made me certain that she was ready to be away.
Our last day together was full of anything she wished: drinking shower water, sitting outside in the cold Fall sunshine wrapped in blankets, cozy fires and love. And no one trying to force food down her: no syringes full of mushy food, no having to dodge the town of small bowls that appeared each day—the daily failure in trying to get her to eat more than a few bites.
That day and her sweet, knowing presence helped me understand some things.
There is a privilege in the pain. I wouldn’t have the sadness if I hadn’t had all the love. Those who are dear to us and the pain of their loss is wound in us like a double helix from the first moment, making us who we are.
They know—whoever they are in your life. There is very little you can hide. For every situation when you think you are not revealing something important to another—know that you’ve already said it a thousand times without your words. And somewhere in their core, they understand.
So, really…just say it. Good or bad.
Be in the moment. Make final moments a celebration, whatever they mark. Simple as they may be. It really is the little things that are so significant.
There is a silence in my home now. I have moments when I forget that she’s not here. I still go to call for her…I make a plan and she’s still somehow in it. I didn’t understand how she had become a ritual to my day.
Such a tiny creature to leave such a big hole.