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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in death and dying

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Missing our baby

I just closed the books on April, and it was financially my most successful month ever in the entire history of me. Yes, of course, I'm ecstatic about that, and there are still a couple last minute people sending me their checks today, so May will start off with a huge boost. Money's great, and having a lot of it "is one less thing" to worry about like Forrest Gump said. But my happiness is fleeting, as our beloved furbaby Tiger died last week, early Thursday morning. This is what I posted on my Facebook page:

Please forgive me, but I won't be on FB today. I don't even know how I'm going to function. I've got leases to prepare and sign, and I have showings. At least those aren't scheduled until later tonight when I will be a little more "with it". I don't think I have anything scheduled tomorrow, and I'm going to keep it that way.

Tiger passed away suddenly just an hour ago. He's been in and out of the vet's office the past couple of months for that weird eye thing, going on different meds, and he seemed like his old self just last week. Even gave the vet the "what for" last week. Today though - he took a turn for the worst. Not eating. Hiding in corners. Panting. We knew it was his time. At least his last meal was the juice from a can of tuna - his absolute favorite.

He was going to be 14 in August. For a cat as sickly as he always was, that's a pretty good run. He's always been sick - since the day we got him from the inside leather jacket pocket of that crack head who stole him from his mother - eyes barely open. I had to feed him formula like an infant crooked in my arm, give him a damp wash cloth bath, teach him how to use the litter box and wipe his bottom. Just like a mother would for her human infant.

I'll never forget that tiny little head peeking out of that guy's pocket, begging us to take him home with that tiny mew. Even though I'm allergic to cats, we knew we had to at least try to help him, and luckily, he was young enough for me to adapt to his dander (if he had any yet). In fact, it's going to be very hard for me to have another cat because of my allergies. (Drug addicts: Please don't get any ideas.)

It's true what they say too: There's that one deep sigh and then... gone. At least I was lying next to him on the floor, stroking his fur and holding his paw. I'm thankful to have had that. It was quick.

We have him wrapped in a soft blanket with his favorite toys in his carrier, waiting to take him someplace for a proper cremation. (Yes, we have a plastic liner, too, and he's in the coolest room. And, we have the heat off.) I want to get him a Bast urn and place him prominently on the mantle. We're calling the vet first thing in the morning to find out what to do. His unconditional love all these years deserves that. I made good money this month with more still to come, and all of our bills are paid except plate registration renewal. It's the least I can do.

He may have been a mean son of a bitch to everyone else, but he was a gentle little baby to us. He even tried to defend our home when we were robbed, having found him locked in a bedroom. He got a good chunk out of them for sure. He has always had problems, and the last of his nine lives finally got used up. Some people say it's just a cat and do not understand. He was our baby, and I already miss him terribly.

Good bye, Sweet Face. Pretty Eyes. Handsome. Friendly. Mr. Magillicuddy. Tiger. And every other name we've ever given you. Mommy will always love you. Daddy, too. And Ryan misses you a great deal, too.

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  • Linda Boeckhout
    Linda Boeckhout says #
    I'm new to this site and this caught my eye even though it has been a while... It moved me very much. It is so painful when they p

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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On Wednesday, I placed a soft blanket on my lap.  I invited my cat to be comforted. His breath was labored. His body was clearly shutting down. The will to live is stronger than any other emotion or drive. He wanted to live. He was bewildered. He knew he was losing the battle. He collapsed on the blanket, took two long inhales and let out a long moan that was the end of his life. The sound of death is perhaps unlike any other. The sound of that sigh – I cannot describe. Poetry has no language here - my words utter only stupid rhetoric. To experience this is more than can be expressed, but I try. I try because it is vastly important to me to know what death is and to not hate life for its cruel finality. Right now, it is difficult to feel peace with this life. I struggle to understand why - despite the ache of the body and the deep, known suffering - the will to live is so strong. When he passed, it was not like some say, this ethereal light leaving. His eyes shone bright. His body, warm. It was my light that diminished. My eyes were those that shut, unwilling to see the end. I could not sense the sweat and blood, or hear the hum of awaiting insects near the dirt that would cover him.

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Aleah, I am sorry to hear of your loss. I just lost my own kitty, and know how it feels. I also commend you for selflessly using y
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    It's been awhile since I've read something reminding me of my dearest Ginger's sigh as she died. How you can't really describe it
  • Lia Hunter
    Lia Hunter says #
    This was a beautiful meditation. I appreciate your experience and thank you for sharing it.
  • William Welsh
    William Welsh says #
    I also have walked a path very different but oh so similar to that of you, my sister Aleah. We must be strong and ever seeking the
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you so much for these beautiful and honest words.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The Sorrowful Magdalena

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you for this post. Blessings on your continued dance with The Magdalena in her sorrow and her joy.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
In death we meet

I had never been present with anyone dying. It's not that I've been afraid of death, I haven't. But if I had been, I would have lost all fear after Arwen's passage through the veil. 

Growing up I sometimes had premonitions and dreamed the future, but as I grew older, I suppressed my intuition. When I chose a pagan path, I figured my prescience would come back and at Samhain it did. During a ritual I slammed with the knowledge that a season of grace was ending and I would be experiencing the death of loved ones during this turn of the wheel.

So it didn't come as a complete shock when my beloved feline companion and familiar Arwen was diagnosed with a terminal illness. In her final weeks we connected more deeply than ever before. Arwen was with me through an abusive marriage, traumatic experiences, she was my constant support in dealing with PTSD, my intervention when I was suicidal, my most faithful comforter. In dreams she represented my soul, my most deeply held hopes and desires. I couldn't imagine living without her. 

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  • Kyndyl
    Kyndyl says #
    thank you for posting this. I just had to make the decision to let my puppy go across the bridge into the summerlands after almost
  • gary c. e.
    gary c. e. says #
    Hi again a poem not exactly on topic of animal friends - nevertheless;... On The Death Of Friends In Childhood by Donald Justic

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

It's 7:30 on a Sunday morning. I'm writing this in the home of Marianne and Dennis, who I don't think are awake yet. For company I have a cat named Skeksis and a young man named Lee. Skeksis is ignoring me. Lee is dead.

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  • hecate
    hecate says #
    Eli, I loved your post. And do want to mention for those interested in another resource, The Pagan Book of Living and Dying by Sta
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    This kind of loving care for each other is needed much more. I have no desire to be hauled off to some hospital to die surrounded
  • Eli Effinger-Weintraub
    Eli Effinger-Weintraub says #
    Thanks for the comment, Greybeard. I agree that being able to die in familiar surroundings with, if possible, family and friends n
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    I am so sorry for your loss, Eli. In other news, I'd be very happy if you wrote something about this work for our upcoming Elemen
  • Eli Effinger-Weintraub
    Eli Effinger-Weintraub says #
    Thanks, Anne. As I mentioned, most of us involved in the vigil had never met Lee in his life, but there was a sense of the loss t

The air is cool, the mists swirl, and the veils are thin…its the time to listen to our Ancestors as we honor our departed ones.

Many seekers of different paths honor the life/death/life process and venerate their Ancestors. Traditionally we honored our Ancestors to maintain familial relationships and heritage and also to learn-divination is performed at Samhaim and during the Day of the Dead so that we might get insight on the year ahead.

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