Herbie, my cat of almost 20 years, died on Tuesday, June 6th at 10:30 p.m. He died on his “mother’s” lap (my wife) with me sitting a foot away. Having already dug his grave, we wrapped him in old Irish lace table cloth and tearfully buried him near midnight under the butterfly bush memorializing my wife’s father.
Somehow, I feel more alive and moist when grieving. Once again, life has become more dear, and all deaths mingle in a togetherness much larger than my singular life. I love feeling this way, even though sadness is not a desired emotion. In mourning and this surge of aliveness, I spontaneously did something new, I wrote my first poem.
Oh Herbie, my once large-bodied and lazy cat,
Your withering away was slow, peaceful and loving.
Your smell, even the fatal odors, linger in my nostrils.
Your litter box sits idle, full of your DNA.
I still see you in the corner of my eye,
and I open the basement door carefully
to guard against your untimely intrusion.
Your grave dirt mingles with my tears, for you
and for my long dead father whose loving memory
your slow death evoked.
Thanks for the many conversations, especially in dying.
You enriched my Soul and made my life more dear.