First, it was my grandfather. Then my father. Now my beloved Faye Kitty.
After over 15 years together, I put my constant companion down on August 14th. She was suffering from a degenerative kidney problem so we knew that the end was coming, but the end, when it came, came fast and hard.
It was heartbreaking.
I know non pet owners might not understand but think of it this way: this little lady has been my home for 15 years. She traveled from Victoria, BC to Vancouver, Whistler, Montreal, Quebec City and back to Montreal. When life was hard and lonely, she was my home. When family woes made me feel all alone, she was my family.
So saying goodbye, although necessary, was devastating. And quite honestly, was harder than the loss of both my father and my grandfather (it's a long story) because she was a constant in my world.
We planted a tree in our backyard where we buried her:
I'll be honest, I look at it often and feel both the rightness of knowing she is not suffering and that she is so honoured and the sadness of knowing she is there, alone, in the dirt and no longer snuggled up next to me.
I believe that death is just a phase. That life is just a phase. That we will cross paths again. I know all of these things to be true as part of my experience and practice. And yet, I still grieve over her loss.
Would I call her my familiar? No. While she was always very respectful of my practice and my workings, I don't know that she aided them. But she definitely knew an uncanny amount of etiquette around them.
And as I learn to live without her in my daily periphery, I am reminded to cherish what we have, when we have it, because it is all so fleeting. And I learn to respect and honour the grief I am witnessing in others as they too pass through their own loss. Because this time of the year seems to be one of loss and letting go. A time of sacrifice and remembrance.
A time to recall that the Horned God is the God of eternal sleep and dark places, even while he is the God of celebration and harvest.