Sunday, September 5, 2010

Crossing Over...

I have discovered that the death of a pet is often called "crossing over."  I am not sure what this would refer to as they don't really cross over anywhere.  Any critical thinking human being would debate that an animal has some sort of soul.  But they were not created in the image and likeness of God, nor do they have the ability to reason.  They simply don't think the way we do, nor do they laugh out loud. They operate off of instinct only.  So, it's not likely they are crossing over to a valley of Pet Heaven as a reward for loving their Creator. 

Nonetheless, the death  of a pet is one of the most painful experiences one can have. 

Tonight my cat is one step closer to crossing over.  The range of emotions I feel is uncanny.  I ask myself, "Did I make the  right decision to let him die naturally?  Should I have put him down sooner when he wasn't so out of it?  Why did I wait till Labor Day Weekend, when the open vet centers are clearly out for profit only?" 

We have been given dominion over our animal kingdom.  It is a gift we must hold carefully.  It allows us to mirror the compassionate nature of God.  But the fact remains that an animal, while they rely on you for care and feeding, and yes, love, is still an animal.  Emotions...  confusion... It is difficult to understand this responsibility and gift, given that an animal does not have a soul.

To know the compassionate nature of God is to be a better caregiver to those creatures and human beings we love.  But to truly know the mindset of God is impossible, since we are a mirrored image only, and we are not God.  And so, in my emotional state, as I try desperately to do the right thing, especially the right thing by God,  I can only turn to Him for assistance.  I give him my sorrow, my mistakes, my weakness and my lack of wisdom in the final hours of my cat's life. 

This may all sound sappy and unattractive to someone who does not share a love for animals.  Plenty of people don't.  But for me and millions of others, the death of something that has given you great joy and companionship, is difficult.  Plain and simple. 

This is for Simon:  my beautiful black and white cat who I will miss. I will miss his snow white fur directly under his chin, and the loving kindness and joy he gave to anyone who would pet him.  Not a pushy cat, just a lovely cat, named after St. Peter, rock of our Holy Church. 

I only hope that the animal kingdom, one of God's creative masterpieces, will be available to us in Heaven.  I would like to be the baby who lays his hand once again, not upon the adder, but upon Simon, my sweet, 13-year-old black and white cat.