But...two or three seconds later I was with her, and Sméagol was lying on his left side. He was perfectly still. I knelt and checked his pupils which were glassy and fixed. He gasped violently for breath a few times. I checked his mouth to see if there was any obstruction. Then he shuddered and was gone. And...wow...I just fucked that up and back again. I get all clinical and shit, distancing myself from my emotions (psychobabble, psychobabble, psychobabble). Spooky sat a foot or so away, while I held him. I've rarely felt anything go so limp in my arms. It was a spectacularly sudden (and I hope painless) death. It appears to have been cardiac arrest.
Yesterday, we drove down to Spooky's parents' farm in South County and buried him near a patch of daffodils. We built a cairn atop the grave. In the autumn, we'll plant bulbs around it, maybe irises. It was very cold and cloudy, and by the time we were finished, we were dirty and sweaty and exhausted and sore, as one ought be when laying a loved one to rest in the earth. Jada, my oldest friend (thirty-five years), had sent me words I read over the grave. It was very hard to speak, much less read, and Spooky told me I didn't have to do it. But I did have to do it, and I managed. It's an excerpt adapted from "The Dominion of Dreams: Under a Dark Star" by Fiona MacLeod (id est, William Sharp; here translated from the Scots Gælic):
Deep peace to you.
Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.
He had a good life, for one who endured such difficulties as a kitten. He was found by his previous owner living wild in Smithfield, RI. He never lost all that feral nature.
So, we'll cope with this latest cat-shaped hole in our hearts. We love the memory of you, and wish that the utter peace of oblivion be unto you, Sméagol. In the many incarnations and configurations that the atoms that were so briefly you will take from now until the end of all things, may there always be glory. Rest in peace, Sméagol (Linus) Bean Thumbknuckle.
There are photos behind the cut, because...
If I owe you this that or the other, you'll just have to be patient. I can't apologize. I won't.
"I Miss You Terribly Already,"