The words which once busied themselves in my heart and mind, words which jostled, bubbled up and spilled out into chatter and onto the empty page are all silent and still. I try to follow the path to the place where they are held, but I can’t remember the way, or the connection, or something.
What I do is dig, clear ground, push myself hard and then harder; moving earth, feeling the weight of soil and stone. The digging started with having to dig a grave for my beloved cat Otto, who died on Tuesday June 2nd.
Out in the garden which Otto and I shared together, I labour alone with a heart which feels leaden. As the light fades, the village Church bells ring, as they do every Tuesday evening. A poignant and touching tribute to a cat who wandered into my life as a stray 3 years ago and who will never be forgotten.
Oh, Karen, what a rough time you’ve had. We’ve lost two cats in a six-month span, too, and, on top of the grief, it all just feels so unfair. I know how much these cats have meant to you–I wish there was anything I could do to help . . . but I know there really isn’t. I hope writing about Otto, and honoring him, makes you feel a little better.
Thank you so much Kerry. I am so, so sorry to hear that you have lost two of your precious cats too. I love all my cats, but there was something about Otto. He came when my life was very upside down and he looked so big and strong and the world felt so much better with him here. He was not strong of course, but very sick when he arrived. I fought for his life and gave him extra time, but in the end his heart was just too weak. And yes, it does seem so unfair, having him here and caring for him made life seem worthwhile.
I’m so sorry for your loss Karen. Otto was a sweet surprising gift. Your large heart took such pleasure in his company. I pray you know and experience the presence and great consolation of our God of all comfort. He does not snuff out a smoldering wick or bend a bruised reed. He is acquainted with sorrow and knows grief. He treasures our tears and saves each one in His bottle. Let Jesus inhabit this season of heart rending and surround you with His songs of deliverence and deep love. You are precious sweet Karen. You are not alone. There is sorrow in the night but joy comes in the morning. Jesus brings beauty for ashes and brings resurrection hope, order out of chaos, and adoption for the orphan.
It is so kind and thoughtful of you to take the time to write Jan. Thank you so much for your caring words which bring great comfort. I prayed each night that Otto should be spared, but it was not to be. Something which resonates with me is from John 14.2 ‘ In my Father’s house there are many mansions’…. I do feel that there is a suggestion there that there is a place for me. The idea that ones tears might be cherished and saved in a bottle is a great comfort to me as well.
There is definitely a place for you Karen! A garden, a shelter, a home with a gorgeous table setting, and a place with your name on it! “Ho everyone that thirsts come to the water. He who has no money come, buy and eat. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread and your labor for that which satisfies not?” The Lord, Karen, calls us to His table where we can live large of soul and experience a continual feast no matter our circumstances.
It is time my Dearest Friend for tea and cake. Tell me when you are free xxxx
Oh Karen, I am so sorry to hear this!! Dear Otto was so happy with you and you had such a great friend in him!! You made hime very happy. My thoughts with you and I hope ( and I am sure) you have supporting friends with you for comfort. xo Johanna
Thank you so much dear Johanna. I miss that big cat so much. I am working hard in my garden trying to create something beautiful, to lessen the pain. I am so sorry not to have checked your posts recently. I know that you will have been making and creating many things that I will so love to see soon. x x
Do not worry, take all the time! xo Johanna
Karen, I’m so sorry for your loss.
Thank you so much Jen. He was a friend and an important one too.
Dear Karen: Such a powerful tribute to one you loved. Otto was such a dear being in your life. It is ‘meet and right’ that you should feel such loss at present – your writing in this moment is deep, tender, brilliant, in honour of dear Otto and expression of your grief.
I’m sending you a virtual hug from Canada. I have missed your posts, and now I see why.
Thank you so much for your kind words Cynthia. I have been working hard in the garden. Otto’s going has left a big gap in my life. It is funny, but the feeling of loss has been worse than with my other animal ‘friends’. I think we helped each other. I couldn’t accept the hug you sent before, but I would like it now…..thank you. I hope that you are ok and I will start catching up on what you have been up to soon.
Be kind to yourself, dear Karen. Big hugs!
Poor you – poor Otto.
If the words are not there, do not struggle to find them – seek solace where you can and share your words when they come.
I have been battling away at the grief in the garden. There has also been the odd glass of wine and lots of carbohydrates- why are all the comforting things fattening?!
The gardening has helped, but I have felt so sad. He was such a part of my life.
I have grown my Pumpkin in my compost heap this year thanks to your tip- they look so healthy! Thank you. x x
Oh Karen, I’m so sorry you are finding it so tough… you are right about comfort food (and drink) being fattening, but at least the gardening will be working off some calories!
There is a space in the world now.
“HAVE you news of my boy Jack? ”
Not this tide.
“When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.
“Has any one else had word of him?”
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.
“Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did so proud his kind—
Even with that wind blowing, and that tide.
Then hold your head up all the more,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide.
(Adapted from the original….)
I am so sorry to read of the loss of your Otto, Karen. What a beautiful cat, who knew he was loved! I hope you can find peace and comfort in your memories of his presence in your life. I have been there with so many cats in the past so I know how much it shakes a person up to lose them. It does take some time to feel settled again.
Thank you so much for your kind words. I still feel more comfortable in my own quiet world with this grief, even now. I don’t know what it was about Otto, but I really needed him. It has left a big gap. x
I’m so sorry for your loss, Karen. 😦 Such a beautiful cat…It’s always hard to lose our beloved pet. There are no words to comfort us in such moments, but know I am here for you. Sending lots of hugs! xo
Oh Lucy, I do miss him so. I know that you will understand this. These dear animals find a way into our hearts and leave a wound when they pass. x
I am sooo sorry:-( It brings tear to my eyes for I know how kind you were to me when I lost my punk. I lost punk and schatze in one year. I am playing catch-up on blogs since I have been out and about with my son graduating college and moving away…..my heart breaks for you, I am sorry to read about your loss. What a stunner Otto! You captured his personality-it shows through your photos…what a proud boy he must of been:-)
The other day I was biking with some friends and someone had a dog the same type + look as my Schatze ( lost her in June of last year before punk) + it gave me “pause” and drew me back to my grief for a moment…gosh , you never stop missing them…I saw a picture of punk in my media library and it made me “pause” again…they are family. I am so sorry for your loss….
Thank you so much Robbie. I know that you know exactly how this feels. I now have 5 cats buried in my garden and although I have been devastated by every loss, this is the worst. I don’t know if it is because I live on my own now. I don’t know what it is, but the pain of it just feels too big. Otto was somehow essential to my well being and I have not been able to adjust to it yet.
Like you, I can easily connect with the love I felt for my other animals which have gone. They all pull at our hearts and we realise in those moments when we are pulled up short by the recollection of them that we still have an open wound which has not properly healed.