This past Friday we had our cat put to sleep.
His formal name was “Mister”, but somehow the kids had evolved that name into “Meech”.
He had been not well for about a month.
He had been tumbled by a car, and as a result his front left paw had nerve damage and was un-usable.
We made him a splint out of foam pipe insulation and a Popsicle stick.
He also had problems with his digestive system. He couldn’t process food and so he started eating and drinking less and less.
For 4 weeks we cycled up and down. Some days he ate and drank fine then other days nothing.
We finally decided it was best to let him go.
We made an appointment for 2:40 on Friday
That afternoon before 2:00 we moved his bed into the sunshine so he could enjoy the warmth of the sun.
I then sat next to him for an hour just petting and talking to him.
When it was time to go I placed Meech on a towel. I sprinkled some catnip on the towel to help calm him down, then placed the towel in the Pet Carrier.
We covered up the pet carrier with another towel so that when we brought him into the Vets he wouldn’t be bombarded by the barking and meowing of the other animals.
They showed me into an examination room.
I sat with Meech talking to him all the time.
The Doctor came in and I took Meech out of the carrier.
It was very intimate just me, Meech and the Doctor.
First they give the animal and very strong tranquilizer. They lift up the skin along his spine and inject it there. It must have hurt a little because Meech turned and meowed when he did it.
Then they wait a few minutes for it to work.
We then took Meech out of the Carrier and laid him on his side. They shaved a small patch of fur off of his hind leg in order to find a vein. Then they give a second injection to stop his heart.
I saw his final beat and exhale.
So the question I’ve been working with is “Where is Meech?”
At what point did Meech stop being Meech?
Was it when they gave him the tranquilizer and his eyes glazed over in a drugged haze?
Was it when his heart beat for the last time?
Was he ever really “Meech” to begin with?
I once heard someone say that we are all verbs and not nouns.
And more importantly we are the “Present Participle” of Verbs.
1. forming the present participle of verbs:
a. the act or an instance of (a specified verb): talking, digging, hearing, noticing
His example was Rain and Raining.
Rain as a noun is just an idea a concept.
Raining is a verb and a present participle of that verb.
It is getting soaking wet when you forget your umbrella.
It is the light mist fogging up your glasses in the spring time.
It is Gene Kelly splashing about in “Singing in the Rain”.
So just like Rain and Raining. There is Jim and Jim-ing.
Jim is a noun a concept an idea. While Jim-ing is the manifestation of my life in the present moment. Being the space in which my life unfolds.
One of the most distinguishing characteristics of Zen is the belief in “No Self” or Anatta.
It is one of the 3 Marks of Existence in Buddhism.
Anatta or No Self.
Anicca or Impermanence.
Dukkha or Un-satifactoriness.
Of the 3 Anatta or No-self may be the toughest to digest.
So back to Meech.
Was there ever a Meech to begin with?
I don’t know but I do know that I experienced “Meech-ing”.
The manifestation of his existence.
Him being the vessel for his life unfolding and sharing it with us.
And where is he now? This too I don’t know. I do know that his “skin bag” as we call the body in Zen is in a cardboard box in our Garage waiting for a warm day for the ground to thaw so we can bury him by the garden where he liked to watch us work.
This past Thanksgiving we had my family over and a big discussion arose over why do Bad things happen to Good people. Everyone had an opinion.
Later I told my Sister that at the end of the day there are things that we KNOW and things that we BELIEVE.
The things that we know are,
Everything changes. Part of that changing for living beings includes old age, sickness and death.
Good things happen to good people, Good things happen to bad people.
Bad things happen to good people, Bad things happen to bad people.
When we do something loving for someone it feels right and in harmony.
When someone does something loving for us it feels right and in harmony.
Everything else is just beliefs.
It is also known as the great mystery.
One last thing that has been believed since man has been on earth and that is the belief that we came from Love and will return to Love.
Because this has been such a belief by all peoples for all time I think that it makes it a KNOWN. It is also what I experience when I go on retreat, and days of meditation strip away all the trivial thoughts and fears of the ego.
So though I don’t know where “Meech” is now, I do know that he is somewhere Loving.
And I do know that he will he will be greatly missed.