He was given two months, but he went on to live for two more years. We were so grateful to have this time of love, caring and tenderness with him. For a thirteen-year-old cat, Quicksilver was middle aged, but for me who has had many twenty plus-year-old cats, it felt too young, too soon to leave.
He went through a couple of his nine lives over the past two years: coming close to death, losing weight, withdrawing into himself. And then as if granted another new life, bouncing back, gaining appetite and weight, hunting in the yard like a strong wild panther. What a joy he brought to our lives with his quirky little self.
The consolation was that he had a brother, Cinco, who seemed to be the epitome of health. But the same week Quickie died, we discovered Cinco was jaundiced and then received the crushing diagnosis of cancer for him, too. It was a brutal week. My only hope is that he can defy the two month prognosis he has been given the way his brother did and gift us with more time to share the simple, pure-hearted love only an animal can bring.
The preciousness of life is not lost on me, especially as I witnessed the ending of one, and then another put at risk of being taken away. It reminds me that there are never any permanent spaces. Everything is constantly changing, morphing into something else. Can we ever, as human beings come to peace with this truth?
I take refuge in the moment, the precious, ever fleeting moment. It is all we ever have. My practice is to continue to cultivate the ability to be as present as possible—to not be robbed by ruminations and regrets of the past or fantasies of a far off, imagined future.
And when I realize my mind has taken me to one of these places, to gently, but firmly calm it down with the breath and bring it back to present. The Buddhist nun and prolific author Pema Chodron once described our minds as little puppies that run around, darting from here to there after this and that. Her suggestion was to say to our minds: Stay. Stay. Stay.
By dropping more deeply into the moment and into myself in daily meditation, I cultivate the ability to relax, open and stay right here in the deep dot of now. And in this place is the richness of what is, be it beauty, joy, love or loss. The possibility of a life lived fully and well.