end of the day, and end of a personal era

I’m still dealing with Ellipses’ final exit, but as I was sitting and talking with my wife, she noticed the beautiful sunset just outside our back door. In a metaphorical sense it is a fitting reminder that ends are not all dark, but like a beautiful sunset, herald the end of one day and the start of the next. It seems fitting that this is a fine way to think of Ellipse leaving us. She has left us a rich history of mutual memories, and plenty of photos I’ve taken over the years of her and all the other creatures who’ve lived with us. Those that are still with us are moving around the house as they are wont to do. The girls still come up to ask for rubs and to remind me when it’s time to be fed or to go out for their walks. The boys come up for their rubs and to remind me when they need to be fed.

Ruby just turned 10, and with a lifespan in our house of around 15 years, that means five more years of spending my life with Ruby. When it’s her time to leave I’ll deal with it accordingly. Now’s the time to make sure I gather enough photos and memories of her while she’s still with us, still hale and hearty. Annie, her constant companion, turned 3 this past St. Valentine’s Day. If the Lab lifespan is any indication she’s here for quite a long time. And the boys will turn three in early October. Again, if Ellipses’ life span is any indication, they’ll be around for quite a long time as well.

It has taken me at least a decade to be taught by Ellipse, Lulu, and Lucy how to live with cats. They’ve all taught me well, and the Gingersnaps and I benefit from the training. I look forward to many more good times with the four footers.

dealing with the death of a pet

Ellipses, resting in the back bedroom, 2009

Ellipses isn’t the first pet I’ve had to let go due to death. These loses go back to the mid-1990s when I was with my wife and Rhett, the big mail yellow Lab. He was in the back of our old Volvo 240 with Judy and I when the vet came out and put him to sleep for us. He had lived to be 16, but he didn’t live forever. None of them do, as we won’t either. The issue with me, at least, is that each death has an impact in and of themselves, and then they go on to remind me of all the other little ones who have passed on. At some point you have to wonder when you’ll stop having little ones around you, until (again, for me) the idea of being alone of pets is more terrifying then the reality that they’ll eventually die.

While they’re alive they’re unequivocally loving creatures who enlighten each day just by being there. They are a part of the oasis of calm I can come back to every day after work, that special place called home.

In the case of Ellipse, I was reminded this morning how much she’d become a part of the morning routine. She quickly learned what the routine was and helped to reinforce it in her own sweet way. Every morning she sat on the edge of the kitchen table, looking and then vocalizing at me, to get out her food and the other cats. Then she’d jump down to the floor and look over the large water bowls and then back up at me if I hadn’t washed them out and refilled them with fresh water. They she’d walk over and delicately drink her fill. She learned from me, and in turn reinforced/trained me to do the little morning tasks.

Her not being at all her spots was all the more notable this morning. And it’s going to be that way from now on. The Gingersnaps are notably different and have their own personalities and activities. All of this will smooth out over time, but it’ll be like the lose of Lucy and so many others. They all had their unique qualities and their specific routines that wove themselves into your life to the point you never realized they were there, until they suddenly weren’t. It’s not so much I’ll get over this as I’ll learn to push this to the back of my mind, until the next time another one leaves.