Not so strong
It’s my birthday this week and it is also a week of death: the first anniversary of my spiritual father’s death and tomorrow I am having my pet put down. As I pen these words she lies dying. Earlier on I lay next to her and imagined that my energy surrounded her. I hoped she would sleep and pass then, but alas death is not so eager to be urged on.
I am suffering death fatigue. Every couple of years I face the death of my pets. Former friends have yelled at me to get a pet that lives longer. But ultimately the life of an animal is not about my convenience. So I am custodian and guardian and friend throughout their lives. I do my best to stave off illness and yes, even death. But ultimately they must die and it’s my responsibility to carry them across that threshold.
Unlike a larger animal, such as a cat or dog, where it takes moments, death by injection for a rat can take half an hour to work. I have sat year after year with my own Kabbas (holy rat of the earthly incarnation of Durga, Karni-Mata), in my arms, tears streaming down my face, singing them their favourite songs, as I wait for their final breath … twitch … and death rattle.
I invariably do this on my own, except for the attentive support of my beautiful vet. She truly understands because she has seen me in those moments. Raw, yet strong. But I must admit that I don’t feel strong tonight.