I was walking in a field in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains many full moons ago. 
It was a place of much lightning and thunder.  It was where Sage was conceived.  It was where Jack
was born.  The dogs chased something up a tree,  a whole pack consisting of my dogs and the farmers dogs.
Pieter found Jack,  a creature  the size of my palm hanging on for dear life.  With his wild cat markings.

He journeyed with us cross country.  Sharing a small car with toddlers and an infant and Jack moving around as he pleased stretching at his convenience and meowing at his leisure.  We would stop in a huge field and never feel the need to contain him.  He would wander around and when it was time for us to move out,  he would know,  he would just be there.   Where we spent the night, a window would be left open and he would hop out and again appear when ................

He had years of sharing his space with uncaged animals.  Birds sleeping on his body, rats perch on his head and he just lay there, purring,  not resisting a dam thing in the world. Lizards would size him up.  Snakes slither over him.  Guineas rest on top of him.  In his world everything was perfect. Looking at him was  looking at perfect equanimity.    Even when he lost his sight a few years ago he would make his way to the furtherst reach of the garden and up the dilapidated old staircase leading to the loft.  Always finding the most perfect deep shadow in summer and dappled light in winter.
I have wanted to put him down for a few weeks now.  He just circled and circled the same spot in the garden, meowing, unable to move in a straight line - his joints hanging out of their sockets.  Seemingly searching for a place to die.    Weighing only 2kgs. To painful to be touched and held.    But Pieter was adamant not to be instrumental in his death.  For some reason he was of the thought that to  die naturally was the only option. .  He felt that Jack still experienced moments of joy.  I also think his mother, who lives with us is extremely frail, and perhaps at some known or unknown level he wanted to reassure her that he would not will her death in any way.  Although she would look at Jack and shake her head and say the poor bloodie cat. 

Lat night - with full moon in cancer - wolf moon - i ventured into the garden to check on him.  Tao was with me.  He was very restless.  We sat with him for a very long time.  He then made it clear to me he wanted to be alone.  We chanted for a while.

It was with gratitude and a profound sense of loss that I happened upon his body this morning in the leaves alongside the dam nearby the chickens roost.  He was still soft as I held him and said farewell. 

The journey continues without this beings physicality - and yet where could he ever go that would not be
in my heart,


nina said…
How, you have to wonder, did it come about that he mastered life so well that he knew whom to choose, when and where and balance it all just right? Unless ... unless he was an Angel come to Earth all along and his time here was instructive to everything so fortunate to come into contact with him, that he is the embodiment of living lessons and those lessons having been very well understood, he moved on.
chickory said…
beautifully recounted. Tears are stinging my eyes. That moment at the end of life has incredible beauty if you are open to its gifts - as you were. I am sending love.
Anonymous said…
thats brilliant su,,,,you know what nina,I would say all them critters are angels,and where would jack go other than in su's and the familys heart,,

I am going to say,,,he has become paradise he is now the feeling of paradise,,,hes made it home......

warm bags of love to all....neil
Anonymous said…
echoing forwards
eternity calls
pulling existance
stirring the chords
turning the currents
touching the waves
building in torrents
where harmony plays
changing on notions
sweeping through time
climbing and reaching
riding the tides
rising the rythms
stirring the deep
where the wind blows
the heart of all peace

john said…
It's always a great sadness to lose an animal friend. They are our beloved companions for such a long time with their entertainments, character and also their comforts. We are fortunate to have these experiences with them and share our time with them and with them we learn these hard lessons of love.
su said…

Ah my friend Jack.
Buried him under the pecan trees where we always sit in summer.
The place where he lay down to die.
Yesterday Iona and I were sitting there and she planted her favourite succulents. A fine mist from the sprinkler was catching sunlight on its way up and down to the ground.
So complete was his process that there is no grief. Only the deepest gratitude for his presence and an end for suffering.

Chickory - That moment of death. Funnily enough a few days before I was drawn to maybe becoming a doula, but not for births but rather for deaths. To make death a sacred passage - to reach towards it with joy and not avoidance. We will see how it manifests.

Neil, You are so right. I get the feeling of completeness right now. Jack the wave becoming the ocean. "Sweeping through time" Thank you for the poem. Jack's eulogy.

John, So many animals in my life. But very few that have remained with me for 16 years.
I remember when our house burnt down and we were away, a neighbour called to tell me that Arnie and Jack were safe. All the animals in the area had gathered at a dam. The dogs and horses stood in the water and the cats on the edge. When I heard that my beloved pets were safe, losing everything was like losing nothing.
nina said…
Off topic, sort of, Su, beautiful Susanah, please tell Iona I cannot for reasons unknown get comments to publish in those little boxes on anyone's blogs, but I so enjoyed the photos and update on Angels Nina, Shwama and Venus.

I am convinced animals are far more spiritually evolved than we can ever hope to be. Sixteen years with Jack, how fortunate you've been! And sunlight through the mist ensuring you all go on as always ... amazing.
brian said…
Such a beautiful image, purring while wild rats sleep in your hair and snakes glide over your body. Wow.
Someone said that there are more enlightened cats than enlightened beings in human form, I think maybe you met one.
Zoner said…
Thank you, Jack, and of course Su.


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