Trudging solemnly out to the field behind Grant, I heard a flight of geese honking.
Crows were calling out raucously as they do when I take nuts out in the morning.
Otherwise, there was nothing to mark the procession of two sad humans.
Gimpy-crow and its mate were perched at the top of a dead tree down the hill.
We tell ourselves what we must to soothe our aching hearts.
Grant had found a place in a far corner of the field, next to the woods where he could dig a deep enough grave.
Tears spilling down my face, I gently transferred the small corpse of our beloved Lucy to Grant who laid her in her resting place and covered her over.
The simplest possible burial. I had wrapped our little cat in a towel and one of the pink blankets she seemed to love, including inside her shroud a toy I had made and a little ball of felt that comprised fur from her housemates.
Pointless and sentimental.
Previously, the bodies of our deceased pets have been cremated. I’ve lost count of how many small boxes of ash there are.
When sorting out my aunt’s belongings, I found the remains of her various dogs. There was only one sensible action to take.
Quickly dumping the contents of a large glass jar, I rinsed it and refilled it with the ashes of the 5 cocker spaniels.
The funeral director was a sensible man who agreed to place the jar inside the coffin.
That much, at least, I got right.
On a Saturday morning, burial was the only sensible option for Lucy and as I hope this will be my final residence, it felt right to bury her here.
Perhaps in time all of our ashes will be spread there over her remains.
Once the spirit has left, does it make the slightest bit of difference?
When I inquired about how to dispose of two dead rabid raccoons, I was told: “Double bag and put them in the garbage.”
At the time I found this quite upsetting, but what is the shell in the end, but rubbish?
After we buried Lucy this morning, I didn’t know what else to do but write about it.
Late on Thursday, I noticed that Lucy was restless, constantly circling and behaving as cats do when they have urinary tract problems.
We couldn’t get an appointment until the next day but we had some medication and the vet told us to also administer gabapentin for the discomfort. It made Lucy dopey and she slept on my bed.
Yesterday, we dropped Lucy at the vet and waited anxiously for their report, which turned out to be optimistic.
As I wrote after, when we got her home, Lucy still seemed wobbly and unsettled.
As she was blind, we didn’t want her to stagger about and thought it best to make her comfortable in small spare room.
The night before, Lucy had seemed comforted when I cradled her in my arms but last night she didn’t want to be held.
What should I have done differently? I was really quite concerned, but we had taken her to the vet.
Additional handling was probably the last thing she would have wanted. I think it would have made no difference.
We will never know what caused Lucy’s sudden demise. I had a bad feeling when I went to bed last night but then, I am a worrier.
When I opened the door to Lucy’s room this morning, she was lying beneath a chest of drawers, having died sometime during the night.
Such a mixture of emotions came up but the grief did not kick in immediately.
Relief that this poor little creature was released from suffering.
Guilt that I had failed to help her.
Sorrow that she had died alone.
Anger? Why did she have to suffer?
Lucy lost her right eye when she was a small kitten. Probably from the claw of a littermate.
She and her mother and another kitten lived with a dysfunctional family that soon moved out of their house, leaving the cats to fend for themselves.
The realtor who was selling the house passed the cats into my care and the other two were soon adopted.
Lucy was feisty and I was hesitant about trying to place her. She didn’t like being handled and I felt very protective of her.
Before long we found out why Lucy didn’t like being touched. She had a really ghastly infestation of ear mites which had to be treated by a specialist in North Seattle.
With this sorted out, Lucy’s life improved, but I couldn’t move her out of the foster suite because I already had cats hanging from the rafters up there.
It isn’t fair to them, to have more cats than a space can absorb.
People came, periodically to meet the foster cats and if the right person had wanted to take Lucy, I would have let her go as I did so many others.
If you set out to help animals, helping is what you must do. Your own feelings cannot be a part of the equation.
All of those cats were special to me and they all took a piece of my heart but they deserved better than being part of a gang.
How you decide what constitutes a gang is a good question. I had purchased a huge house purposely to accommodate cats but still, there is a limit.
Strangely, I had acquired another one-eyed Himalayan, Georgi. He had been rescued from an awful situation. He was old and I only got to love him for a year.
My other dearly beloved Himalayan, Thimphu was suddenly gone as well.
So the loss of two other Himalayans left open a space for Lucy.
She became a part of my permanent upstairs group and settled in well with the others.
Lily had arrived a year before Lucy.
For a while, there seemed to be a competition to see who would be allowed to sit closer to me.
But after we moved here, Lily changed her allegiance and went downstairs to hang out with Grant.
Lucy was my funny little bossy-boots.
Each morning she fussed about as I did chores, trying to round me up. Then she would settle down beside me at my desk.
She was very naughty about appropriating any bed or blanket Willow seemed interested in.
Lucy didn’t want to sleep on my bed but she didn’t want Willow to either.
Often I called her Lucy LaFluff because she was like a powder puff.
When you talked to her she had a funny little cry: “Eh!” It was her sound.
In June this year Lucy became blind and her world shrank. I tried to imagine what it was like for her and tried to make her feel safe.
It happened very suddenly and must have been so confusing for her. I had to force myself to hold back my help knowing she must learn to find what she needed.
All I could do was make sure things did not get moved.
As animals do, she adjusted.
Just a couple of weeks ago Grant took a picture of Lucy asleep on her penguin pillow while Muffin helped me with Wordle.
How can a house seem so empty with 10 cats in residence?
Grief kicked in.