I don’t know where cats or people go when they die. I do know there’s a moment when whatever the thing is that animates the body is no longer in it.
Today I felt that life go out of a creature I loved, my hand on Jaxon’s head and Meg’s on his paw as he fell asleep quietly on the vet’s table.
You’re might be familiar with his tales already, how he was a stray in my neighborhood and slowly made his way into our hearts—and eventually came right inside to live with us. (If you want to catch up on the last time we thought he was gone, you can click here for that story.)
So anyway, he did all that and we were happy because of it.
I really don’t know how to write this story now, because it’s about a small stray cat who was not well when he came in from the cold and it’s not a surprise that he didn’t make it, not really. We hoped that he would flourish with good food and warmth and love, you know? We imagined him sleek and complacent as The Cat Himself, lounging in the sunshine on the back of the couch someday if we could give him what he needed.
But I don’t think that the sorrow and love I feel is so much about a small creature who was going to die anyway.
What I feel might be more about life itself. How precious it is, how easy it is to let pass and pass in the middle of days that seem like they won’t ever end, but then they do and we have to remember.
What I feel might be gratitude for how this scrawny cat reminded me to pay attention to life, to invest in the moments of it right before my eyes.
As I said at first, I don’t know where that life goes when it’s no longer in my body, or yours, or any other creature’s. I’m glad I don’t know for sure, because then maybe I would be able to treat it more carelessly. As in, “I’ll be kind to you next time we catch a spin at life” or, “I’ll love more courageously and live more deeply in another lifetime…”
I think maybe that’s the thing that is here tonight as I ponder out loud, just a wanting to treat the invisible, forgettable, precious thing called life with the same love and care that my family and I gave Jaxon while he spent his 9th one in our home. What if I treated my life the same way?
Maybe that’s the thing.
Jaxon, you aren’t in the little shrouded form we buried today. Wherever the spirit of you went, you left behind more love, more desire to be alive and kind and pay attention. Something about that never dies. It gets passed along. Thank you.
P.S. If you’ve been following the Tales of Jaxon S. Feral, thank you. I’ve loved sharing him with you. We took him to the vet on Hallowe’en because he seemed a little ill. They sent us home with antibiotics and things that would have worked had his body been stronger. He got sicker and didn’t leave Meg’s bedroom much. He sat on my lap for a long time today and I could feel that he was having a hard time breathing. Meg and I took him in and the vets had to tell us that any further treatments would probably just make what remained of his days unpleasant. So we were able to say goodbye together after he had a good meal.
Thank you for sharing your story, Jacob. My heart felt heavy as I read. This took me back a few years to when we lost Peanut, our Golden Retriever. She was 16 years old so she lived a good long life for a Golden. In the last few months of her life, she had begun to loose control of her hind legs and quite often I would have to put my hands under her belly to help support her as she attempted to walk. It broke my heart, but she was sharp minded and had so much will to go on. The day finally came when we lost her. It was so heartbreaking. She and I were buddies. I was deeply depressed for two days. I kept thinking, "where are you, Peanut?" I didn’t know, and never will know, where that amazing spirit drifted off to. I wanted to let her know everything would be alright, but I couldn’t reach her. Her body had simply given out and she went on to another place in the universe. I feel your pain. It’s never easy loosing something we love especially something we consider part of our family. I’m so pleased Jaxon came into your lives. I know your little friend will be missed very much. Sending you all blessings!
blessings for him. and for the love and care you gave.
at 73, I have 70 years of cats; 67 of horses. Our animals are a precious part of life.
Yes, love is all there is. Loved your touching story and tribute to Jaxon and of course when I read any animal has passed I choke up and cry. Animals are angels here on earth. Jacob, if you really don’t know where our souls go, may I suggest a true book, The Afterlife of Billy Fingers – an in depth journey of the steps we go thru once we cross over. I have an amazing friend and world famous animal communicator, Amelia Kinkade, who after I told her I had to let Sassy (my dog) go on home, she emailed me back that Sassy was so happy to be with her brother again (who had died at birth) and they were overjoyed to be together again. Hearing that, my heart was at peace knowing Sassy was happy once again. Our animals can and do come back to us if they choose to and I’ve had several find me this lifetime that I had in other lifetimes. Amelia has written several books on the subject also. Heart hugs to you and Meg.
Thank you, Elaine. 🙂
I appreciate your sentiments.
Also, I know Annie Kagan and loved Afterlife of Billy Fingers. This is not the same thing as ANYONE knowing for sure what happens. Humans really want to feel certain but that is not a substitute for interacting with the Mystery.
oh the pain
the pain of loss and grief
it hurts it hurts so bad
we tried to save them
yes we did
but we could not so now we live the pain of loss.
The small creatures that come into our lives….bringing more love than we have ever known…the pain exacts more than we can imagine .
love is all there is
So very beautifully and accurately written my dear friend. Anyone who has ever loved an animal knows the pain of saying goodbye and placing their wellbeing before ones own need for their continued presence to meet our emotional needs. I feel your loss but I also feel your compassion and love for your little darling. May the sharp pain of grief in your heart right now move swiftly and be replaced with the ability to have memories that bring a smile and a warm feeling that reassures you that the spirit lives on. 🐾
I am so sorry for your loss. I was following your posts about Jaxon and also had hoped he would be fine once he was inside a good home with good, loving care. You all probably extended his life and made that extension the best part of his life. Thank you for sharing his story with all of us, your readers, as I think we all learned a little more about love and kindness from it. Jaxon lives on in our hearts.
Today you were present. The gift Mr. Feral left you with was the reminder that presence matters.
Every day of life is so very precious…always treat it like its your last day and you won’t go wrong.
God bless you. You just never know how they will change our lives, but they do. In so many ways and it will stay with you forever. Rest, Jaxon. You will see each other again
Thanks, Jacob. It’s amazing how a cat that I never met has touched my soul today and created tears. Your sharing of these life experiences is so valuable. 🙂
Each and every sentient being that ones into our lives teaches us to be kind and loving. Jaxon S Feral showed us that in many wats. You and your family provided the love, kindness and generosity that he so desperately need during his transition. I, for one, know that your love made his life better!! RIP Jaxon. Your being will be with us every day.
I will miss Jaxon.
Thank you for sharing him with us.
So sorry, Jacob.
He was quite a force in the universe to force notice of the magnitude of life. May he be well fed, well loved, and always remembered wherever he went. He leaves a legacy among us due to you. Well said Jacob about a life that was no doubt significant.
I have to say I was captivated by you, seeing the love shared with this little piece of God who was hanging out in a cat’s body. I lost my sweet cat just last month so I know you are grieving. Thank You for sharing this story. <3 Now if only we treated the homeless as lovingly.
Your sweet, heartfelt tribute resonated deeply. 💗🐾✨🐈
He was probably put in your path for just this lesson. So that we could all have the opportunity to be awakened to the divinity in each sunrise, in each moment, in each breath.
I think he fulfilled his purpose. Shouldn’t we all be so lucky to do that while ‘that thing that animates our body’ is still doing its thing.
Thank you for sharing Jaxon and his story. Your writing is inspiring.
after holding paws with 1000’s of animals and a few people as they left this world I now believe we arent suppose to know, I believe the magic of life and death is explained to each as they leave
Dear Jacob, I’ve been pondering on the same subject of mortality and spirituality for quite sometime now. What happens after death? Will we ever see the ones who left before us again? Can they see us? Do we ever meet our creator?
This is my conclusion when someone you lobe dies if you can see the days you spent with them and say “I did all I could to show them I loved them and gave it my best” then your soul will find the peace that comes with loving without an agenda and theirs will rest forever in the comfort of what you gave them. So sorry for your loss.
Love to you and your daughter. All is always well.
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