it occurred to me today that i have to let my friends – or i should say sammys friends – grieve her passing too. not that i wouldnt. but when i dropped off gizmo for re bandaging his tail, and cinnamon for vaccinations, one of the girls i hadnt seen since her passing came out to say hello. she asked how i was, and spoke of her affection for sammy.
at the vet clinic she was a star. everyone loved her, and thought she was amazing for her fortitude, her happy mood, her attitude. she was always a real people kitty, preferring humans to other cats. however in her older years, she warmed up to spook, who passed four years ago, and more recently thor, who adored her. but she remained very drawn to people.
myself, i had been passing through the grief for a couple of months already before she faded. since her diagnosis of diabetes, she had had several episodes of a strange kind of seizure that rocked her for several moments, much like epilepsy. it always left her kind of unsteady for a few hours, and each time left her hind legs with a little more neuropathy. otherwise she always recovered. they werent too frequent, at least. then in early january we came home to find her hypothermic, rather stiff and unable to stand. she still had an appetite, and seemed in her ever good spirits in spite of it. i fed her, and bathed her in warm water, and we sat with her by the fire till she was all toasty again. she still seemed limp, even so. and her legs were a little worse again. that night, i held her on my chest while i tried to sleep, but i cried quietly into my pillow while she slept soundly. that night, thats when i really let go. i had let go for her sake long ago, letting her know i would let her go when she was ready to go, but would do all i could to help her along till that time. but that one night i faced the reality that i would go on living without her soon. and i grieved most of the night. every day after that was a step in the process. when the time finally came, i had already gone through much of the anguish, and was braced for the inevitable passing of my little gray companion. it still stung, but i was alright.
so when i encountered a girl who was still stinging from the loss of one of her favorite patients, i was almost surprised. maybe i just didnt realize how much some of them adored her. it touched me. so, i retraced my own steps a little, and grieved again, with her.
i will remember this, the next time i must face the loss of a loved one, that i must allow others to grieve the loss as well, and join them in it to help them through it. grief is something we all face alone in some ways, but we also share it with those with whom we share the loss. God said we as believers didnt have to grieve as the world grieves, but He didnt say we wouldnt ever encounter it. rather, it didnt have to be that debilitating thing that cripples some, and wounds many, and destroys a few. He goes through that valley of tears with us from the inside out, and enables us to face the demons of loss and conquer them. its way more then merely easing our emotional distress. its an empowering of the highest kind. it changes our perspective, and that can make all the difference in the world.