The grief is softening. It’s no longer dropping me in my tracks, ripping me to shreds. It is as I had so hoped, even in the worst of it – by breathing, opening my attention, moving very very slowly, dropping down into exhaustion whenever I needed to – that this day would eventually come.
As I was doing my meditations this morning, I remembered Fangie. I was feeling so happy to call up the look on his face, the slap-happy blast and verve of his personality – and I realized I was no longer guarding myself against the memory. And also, literally, not guarding. Because, being Fang, he loved to launch off me on his way from here to there and back again. That would tend to hurt. All his weight, plus claws, pile-driving down into and over various vulnerable places, at full-tilt balls-out boogie.
And Bugs was learning this ploy from Fangie, and joining in the fun from time to time. Now no longer. He’s back to his gentle and concerned soft little gray self.
This makes me smile as I write.
And all of you, still dropping by from time to time. How can I tell you what I have learned from you, about lending presence with grief that brings comfort and succor? About how much it’s meant to me to hear that you loved Fangie too? I needed so much to hear that – that he left behind a mark, not just on me, that I was not so devastatingly alone in this pain.
Here is a tribute I got from Lahgitana at Rockin’ The Purple!, to show you what I mean.
“Fangie was an amazing being. He so wanted to live. You showed us how he lived with you with such abandon, with love, with fun, curiosity, need, and humor. Which, of course, led so many of us to love him and then grieve his untimely death. I’m relieved to hear the awfulness is softening. Those last memories are difficult to expunge I know (from experience), but ever so much nicer to think of that boy bouncing off the walls or hanging from the screen door. Oh yes – the grief is hidden in mousies, in dust bunnies, in the screen door, and even in Bugsy, so it’s close by. I for one believe grief doesn’t ever disappear; I believe its presence becomes gentler, but being such a complicated thing, this grief, how could it just go poof?!”
So. How wise. Not “poof,” but emergent, in a gentler presence. I am so thankful.
And then there’s this next thing, something that’s quite inexplicable to me. Even in the worst of anguish, I kept having the strongest desire to find another feline friend. I kept saying to myself, aren’t you being a little disloyal maybe? Or, might you not just be on the rebound? Don’t you know you can never find another Fangie? Or, can you say dis-trac-tion?
But this feeling persisted. As the days went by, it got stronger still.
So I just decided to go with it. Once shiva was over, I found a foster mom and Teresa and I paid a visit. I went back and back and back by myself; I think I logged about six hours hanging out with foster mom and her swarm.
Here is where, I felt, the search ended. Meet Barney.
He is a huge boy. He’s chronologically young – about 1.5 years old – but his vibe seems old and wise. He is a gentle giant. Mom thinks he might have some Maine Coon in him. He’s got those snow-shoe paws.
I just love his peaceful mien. And how sweet he is – with mom, with me, with the other cats. Plus, I had the chance to watch him figure out spatial dilemmas, going up into the roost and coming down from it. Negotiating around and through other cats and obstacles. I found him agile, thoughtful, and aware of self and others.
I got the strongest impression that he could help Bugs and me to settle down. Come more into ourselves. Be more at peace.
Let us see whether this will come to pass. This is the last full day Bugsy and I will be alone. Mr. Barney comes tomorrow.
And – the saga continues with Fangie. Brace yourself.
This is Chance, also part of foster-mom’s clowder.
Chance was hit by a car. It took seven surgeries to get him back up on his way – and he lost a leg in the process. You can see the wound on his side. His other back leg is pretty messed up too. So I suspect he’s not going to get adopted anytime soon.
Even so, he has a lot of Fangie frenzy still left in him. It’s just downright uncanny.
So I get to go back and back and back to foster mom’s and visit Fangie. I mean, Chance.
Chance indeed. I think perhaps there is no coincidence here.