The Gentle Gift of Letting Go.
Oddly, several people contacted me to communicate with their dying animals in October. The requests were synchronized with things happening in my personal life: Smokey Grace Jones, my twenty-two-year-old semi-feral kitty, had recently passed. I had been preparing a talk at a bookstore about animals and the afterlife. And I had just begun a work-study involving dreams and departed with an Australian Shaman. November was approaching with Dia de los Muertos, the Day of The Dead - a celebration of life.
Before I left for my trip to Connecticut, I had a hunch that Smokey was getting ready to leave her body. I had asked her to please wait if she could until I returned. But by no means, I told her, did I want her to hang on if she suffered. When I returned from Connecticut, I saw she was ready and had waited for me to return. She passed six days later on her own.
I fought the sobs for the first time to hold a calm, joyful space for her. I prayed and chanted while sending healing energy into her three-pound body. Her passing was so peaceful that I hadn't noticed when she took her last breath. I stared uncertainly and watched her eyes sink into a dark, deep, vacant abyss. Poof! She was gone.
It was the first time I could remain present for one of my cat's transitions and assist in the natural process. Now I could bring Smokey's gentle gift of letting go to others with a deeper, more resonant voice.
Shortly after Smokey's death, Dorothy and Tim asked me to communicate with their cat, Tiffany Tiana Sweet Pea, who was nearing her transition. I led Dorothy and Tim through a surrendering meditation to help them let go, allow and connect, and speak to Tiffany telepathically. Even though we're always telepathically speaking to our animals, and they hear us, we don't always realize this.
Giving our animals permission to go and reassuring them that we will be fine is essential. They will hold on as long as possible for us. We can hold a life review, where we recall, joyfully remind them of all the happy times, the funny times, all the ways they mattered in our lives, tell them how special they are, and thank them for sharing their life's journey with us.
Before the meditation, I tuned into Tiffany to hear what final last words she might have for her people. Tiffany told me her purpose in her people's lives, and we all laughed at my interpretation of her thoughts. "I am Dorothy's secretary. I have kept things in order for her. I helped her relax when life became hectic. Tulip (the "bossy cat who thinks she's alpha") will take over my job. Tell Dorothy to keep running."
Then she sent me an image of Tim cooking. Yes! Indeed, Tim said he loved to cook and received great pleasure from it. Dorothy said she had been a runner when Tiffany was young. Tiffany had well remembered the fulfillment that running had brought Dorothy, and Tiffany conveyed that Dorothy needed to take care of herself again. She wanted both of her people to continue doing the things that made their hearts sing. I told Tim to get back in the kitchen. Dorothy said she might start running again. For now, she was at least walking every day.
Marge was a lonely woman whose life revolved around her animals. Her cat Samantha knew this, and Marge's attachment made it harder for Samantha to leave her body. Samantha lay listless in a coma for two weeks. This was her message to Marge: "I'm no ordinary cat. I'm independent and brave like a dog." Samantha showed me an image of herself catching mice in the barn and said she "cleaned the yard," kept things orderly, and ruled the household. She said now the house was heavy and sad. Concerned for Marge's well-being, Samantha wanted Marge to play some happy music. After the meditation, Marge was finally ready to "cut the psychic umbilical cord." A few hours later, Samantha passed on her own.
Clyde was a twenty-three-year-old kitty who was getting ready to leave his body exactly how he lived his life, with confidence and ease. But right now, he was resisting. He said he was Megan's light and wanted Megan to know that the light would not go out when he was gone but would remain as bright and strong as ever. The polite, gentile cat, once heartlessly neglected, was grateful to Megan for rescuing him and was waiting for her (and himself) to truly accept the end of his physical journey in life with her. Clyde continued to waste away in pain and agreed to euthanasia.
Sometimes death comes knocking when we least expect it, and in seemingly cruel and sudden ways. Other times we are blessed with the opportunity to experience the gradual surrendering process to the other side. Sometimes there's suffering in the process. No matter how or when death comes, let's remember that Our animals want us to be happy, and they don't want their deaths to destroy our lives.
Regardless of the circumstances, we can give them the gentle gift of letting them go. They deserve this, and so do we.