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Monday, June 8, 2009

at the risk of sounding...

Phoebe died in October of 2005, that evening a small vase on a small table in the kitchen where she spent a lot of time sitting, fell over.  My mom had been visiting and we both heard it, as we were standing about 10 feet away.  There was no movement, no breeze, no vibration; it just fell over from complete stillness.  I got goose-bumps and I knew the energy of her little spirit passed through one last time to say goodbye.  When Neko died, I was sort of expecting the same thing, one last little sign to say goodbye, never to be heard from again.  

On the night Neko died, I spent the evening with my friend and neighbor, as upon returning to my apartment with an empty cat carrier, I found that I could not bear the silence of his absence; he was a rambunctious, talkative little guy.  During those hours, I periodically checked in on Lilly to give her some petting, and I found the little fuzzy ball that Neko and I had played catch/fetch with the night before, the ball that had been sitting on the floor, now was sitting right in the middle of the couch.  I returned it to the spot on the floor where it had been earlier and returned to my neighbor's place.  When I came back a second time, there it was again, right in the middle of the couch, and once more, I returned it to the same spot on the floor.  When I came home a third time, it remained on the floor.  The next day I picked up Neko's cremated remains and upon returning home, there was the ball, one last time, sitting in the middle of the couch.  I was thankful to have one more little sign.  I know it was most likely Lilly who put it there, but that is uncharacteristic of her, which makes me think somehow the energy from his little spirit influenced her to do so.  

Three nights ago, I fell asleep around 3:30 a.m.  I've been avoiding getting into bed since that's the time that I can not avoid feeling a deep sense of loss, remembering him curled up next to my pillow every night and the last morning I woke up to him.  Around 5, I woke to the sound of a single meow; startled, my eyes shot open and I saw the black, fuzzy shadow of a cat leaping across the ceiling.  Again, it is very uncharacteristic for Lilly to meow at all, let alone one single outburst loud enough to wake me.  As I thought about it the next day, it sure seemed like a little visit from beyond.  

The day after, I went thrift store shopping for display pieces and came across a painting which at first I thought was an owl perched on a branch.  As I looked at it more carefully, I saw that it was a cat sitting atop a post.  The longer I looked at it the more undecided I became about whether I was looking at an owl or a cat, even though the nose was clearly that of a cat.  I've always said that Neko looked like an owl with his tremendous smoky scruff and big yellow eyes.  I even called him my little panther-owl.  The reason this struck me as significant is not just because of that, but about a week before Neko died, I was up late in relative silence and heard an owl hooting from outside my window and decided to look up owl folklore.  There is an endless list of what it means to hear an owl hoot, but I decided on Polish folklore as my father hails from Poland, and here is what I read:

"Poland: Polish folklore links Owls with death. Girls who die unmarried turn into doves; girls who are married when they die turn into Owls.
An owl cry heard in or near a home usually meant impending death, sickness, or other misfortune.
An old story tells how the Owl does not come out at during the day because it is too beautiful, and would be mobbed by other, jealous birds."

Reading that kind of freaked me out, but I didn't take it very seriously.  Honestly, I thought maybe my father's time was near.  A few days after Neko's death, I heard that owl hooting once again outside my window and haven't heard him since.  I grew up greatly influenced by the Native American spiritual practices of my mother, so between this and the time a couple of years ago when an owl swooped down and flew right over the windshield of my car giving me a close up view of its spotted underbelly and large wing span as it headed into a wooded area on the other side of the street; I felt like the owl had something to teach me.  When an animal presents itself a few times, with the possible exception of squirrels, or perhaps presents itself in an unusual way, I look into the lessons that animal has to teach based on what it represents.  The "owl teaches the ability to extract secrets from within, so listen carefully".  I have been feeling very lost and unable to find the answers within myself that tell me what is the right direction.  I have been listening to the superficial chatter in my head that is based on fear for far too long and it is time that I learn to listen to that deeper voice that only silence and patience can help me to hear.  

There is magic everywhere in the universe, it's just difficult to find sometimes, especially in times of death and loss.  I have some lessons to learn that I had been avoiding and Neko's death has forced me to face them.  I think it's normal for people to look for meaning in the untimely death of a loved one, whether it be a human or furry companion.  For me, in the silence of Neko's absence, it's now time for me to listen.   


Mark said...

Very sweet and sad with a deeper perspective

holly wynne said...

What a stunning read.

FuturePrimitive said...

lovely, lovely.

Kim said...

What beautiful writing, sweetheart. I'm glad your kitty is still looking out for his mommy.