Journeys: Tenderness

Being with a being who is dying is profound.

I have dealt with life.

I have dealt, on some level, with the aftermath of death.

But I have never dealt with, been with, allowed myself to contemplate the process, the fact of dying.

I am tender in the tenderest ways. Teary and broken open. Wanting to not fuck this up, wait too long to intervene, not wanting to intervene if intervention is not necessary.

I want to honor this creature’s innate wisdom and cathood.

I want to honor our relationship and the vast love I feel and have received.

I want to honor ALL of this, the being and now, the transition into whatever is next.

He feels more and more internal now, quiet and often sleeping. He has stopped eating. I have stopped forcing him to try. I feel he is spending more time on whatever is next, and less time here, on being here, staying here. But he is still here, still jumping up onto the bed, still drinking water, still looking at me in a way that shows he is still here with me in those moments.

I know everyone would make different choices, but I am trying to make the right ones here and now for this person (me) and this amazing creature (Finn), and navigating this feels like the most awesome space of not knowing, wishful thinking, and something like intermittent acceptance. This sucks. But this is what it is. In this moment, he is curled up, not too tightly– I can see the fluff of his surprisingly white belly, and the stripes that curl down his sides that are the deepest black. I can see the white line down the bridge of his nose, his white whiskers, how his breath moves his sides so slightly I can barely see it.

He seems peaceful, in this moment. In this moment, I am not. I feel all tied up, knotted with grief, and so very unsettled since I am allowing myself to be present in a way I would not have expected.

I am astonished at the depth of what I feel, the complexity one moment, the simplicity the next. LOVE< I keep telling myself, move from there. Witness from there. Choose from there.

And sometimes it means running in circles wailing. And sometimes it means sitting and not poking him, but enjoying his quiet companionship, even just in this moment. Even if it is just for this moment.


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One thought on “Journeys: Tenderness

  1. Kate,

    Post if you want: the most profound experience of death I’ve ever heard of was that of a just married young couple who found out she had breast cancer. They were both deep into Zen. They talked about her having cancer once and then got on with their lives until she died.

    This has been my guide for deaths within my extended family and the considerable number of deaths in my volunteer work. When I’m with them, that’s where I am. And once they’ve died I weep inconsolably.

    Pet your cat. There, there – Hugs,


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