"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Saturday, July 23, 2005
hor-ror Function: noun Etymology: Middle English horrour, from Middle French horror, from Latin, action of bristling, from horrEre to bristle, shiver; akin to Sanskrit harsate he is excited 1 : painful and intense fear, dread, or dismay 2 : where today went
It was the worst possible outcome, and I will always wish neither of us had been there to see it.
I've mentioned before the company that I worked for that may or may not be reopening if and when a potential buyer gets some grant money. It's been in that state of limbo for almost two years now, and for the last seven months the plant site has been closed for business.
We had a group of cats there that we had saved as kittens, and Mitsi and I had been going out there several times a week to take care of them. The oldest was Jupiter, almost three years old, then there was Max and Ginger, and finally Pepper. A bit over a month ago, Pepper got out through a screen she had knocked out. In the process of trying to catch her, Jupiter also escaped.
We caught Pepper, but Jupiter was nowhere to be found. Mitsi and I looked for hours. Finally Mitsi left, very upset, and I made one last drive around the site.
And there, under a semi trailer, was Jupiter, just lounging and watching me. When I got out of my car and tried to get him to come to me, he casually trotted off the other direction and out of sight. I would not be able to find him again.
Over the next week, we found homes for each of the remaining cats. Ginger went with Mitsi, Pepper with a former customer, and Max came home with me. We still went to the plant and left food, which would be all gone when we returned a couple of days later. Pretty soon though, it became obvious that it was racoons that seemed to be getting the food.
So we moved the dish to another place in the plant where we saw cat tracks, and started filling it there.
Each visit, we would walk around, calling Jupiter. Each time, there was no response. And yet we would be back in a couple of days, refilling the food dish and trying again.
Today would be different.
First, we filled the food dish, which appeared to have been visited by racoons again. We got in my car to make the circuit of the plant.
As I came up to the shredder shed, I saw a cat laying on its side.
It was not moving.
I parked so that Mitsi could not see it, and told her not to look, and I went to investigate.
As I came up to the cat, it became more and more clear it was probably Jupiter. There was no motion at all. I concluded that he was dead. I stared at him, and that's when I saw his eye flicker, just a bit.
I touched his foot, and he got up. But something was horribly wrong.
I motioned for Mitsi. She began crying as soon as she saw him.
He was only half the size he had been. There was a huge bare spot on his back. He could barely hold himself erect. He wasn't responding at all to us, and he kept walking into things. His head and neck were emaciated, but his body seemed still fat. He was walking strangely, low to the ground, head stuck out. Aimless.
Mitsi ran to get a box. We packed him up and headed for the vet.
Mitsi cried most of the way there. Jupiter just sat there in the box, not really moving.
They took Jupiter back immediately and began examining and testing him. This would take over two hours, and until then we had no information at all. Mitsi was understandly upset, and I did everything I could to keep her mind off of it, even though I am sure I felt the same inside.
When the techs wouldn't give me any information, and kept saying that the doctor wanted to speak with us, I knew things were bad.
Finally, we went into a room and met with the vet. Jupiter had, because of being fat then immediately anorexic, massive organ damage. His liver was enlarged to twice it's size. His heart was enlarged. His digestive system had shut down. He had severe dementia, He had a fever over 105. His entire digestive system had shut down. And he was blind.
There was really only one thing to do.
Mitsi sat and held Jupiter for almost two hours, hugging him, petting him, and crying. She was racked by those heartrending sobs that only come from the absolute bottom of your soul, the kind that happen only when things are dearly loved and hopeless and grief is overwhelming.
When the time came, she steeled herself and told me to get the doctor. I told her to wait outside, and I would stay with Jupiter in his final minutes.
Jupiter lay there, and it seemed he still had the smile on his face he had when Mitsi was petting him (although it had not been clear whether he had recognised her.) I placed my hand on him and spoke softly in his ear as the doctor administered the shot. He never twitched, and peacefully passed over.
A tragic end for a beloved pet.
I stayed with Mitsi until I was sure she was going to be OK to drive home. Then I got in my car and began to deal with my own grief, which will take time.
Real grief does, you know. It might not even hit you for days, then all of a sudden "kablaam." I have a kablaam in my future.
Must not all things at the last be swallowed up in death? --Plato, Dialogues, Phaedo