Tag Archives: mourning exercise

Ode to Cat

ode to catWe lost our cat. He didn’t come into the kitchen for his usual nightly dinner meal at 5pm. He usually glides into the kitchen and starts his meowing to let us know that he is on a schedule and it is time for his dinner. If we haven’t fed him by 5:15, or 5:30, he keeps up his meows loudly again and rubs up on our legs or jumps up on the counter and pads in front of our face. We had been keeping him on a regime because he needed to slim down a little; 17 pounds of orange tabby muscle. But he hadn’t come in and we went looking for him at 6:20pm and there he was lifeless, with his spirit gone. I could tell instantly just by looking at him that he was dead. Then I touched him, patted him, and the fur on his back was still warm. His paws were chilled. He had died peacefully in front of the heater upstairs facing towards the door. And I cried. He was 14. He’d lived with us for a while, but I still thought we’d have a least a few more years with him.

And now when I come home there is no jumping down off of the counter, not getting caught licking the butter. There is no 17 pounds walking across my chest and my husband’s chest in the morning, 5am, so that he can get fed for his morning meal. There is no lap time in the evening in front of the fire, brushing his fur. Or licking my hand where he scratched and wounded me. And the house is so quiet now. He didn’t make much noise, but we knew he was with us. It was the three of us living together, knowing each other’s movements. We were aware of each other and would have daily interactions. The house is very, very quiet now. My husband and I are now home alone. He shared our space with us. I wanted just one more pat, one more walk across my chest in the morning, one more hand lick. I wanted some warning of his leaving. But even in his passing he was teaching me. Stay in the moment. Enjoy what you have. Life is ephemeral. His fur pattern had a wonderful orange bull’s eye on his side. I will look for that target as I go forward and remember him. When I get lost I will look for his target to follow.


Exercise: How to Change Mourning of a Pet’s Death to Honoring the Pet

Now here is an exercise for you, if you have lost a valued and beloved pet. Our pets are more than just the word, pet. They are our companions, our acceptors, our friends. Often an integral part of a family’s make up, the status of our pets belies the actual relationship you may have with them.

First find some photos of your pet; lounging, eating, playing. Then think about what you really admired and loved about your pet and go to magazines and tear out photos that make you think of the essence of your pet. I have used a lion’s photo because our cat really reminded of lion energy. You might find toys or balls, fields or woods, or other animals. It can be whatever your image is of your pet’s energy. Then tear or cut all the pictures up and arrange them on a piece of cardboard, 4” x 6”, 5”x 7”, or even larger, 8”x10” and glue them down. Create a collage of memories. Then place the collage on your desk. These gathered pictures will be a heartfelt expression in honor of your animal friend.