And when we say goodbye

A close-up of Grendel as he tries to rest (218_1884)

Beneath a cover of sunlight he lay squinty-eyed and trembling, his new world ever changing, ever crumbling.

What has become of the grand master of the house?  What blight tears away at his spirit with such abominable disregard for this majestic survivor?

At the nexus between what was and what is to be rests that which is.  For Grendel, the threads connecting past to future weave a wicked tapestry indeed.

Weakness becomes him, claims at every turn yet another piece of the invincible soul that once was.

As the cloak of his days wraps endlessly around him, the pattern knitted strikes me as unbecoming one so beautiful, one whose tiger stripes demand respect, whose green eyes glint with the fire of timeless splendor.

Yet even master predators must give way to the cosmos.

He throws about his essence the drapery of one who has suffered much, seen far, lived superbly and, most importantly, experienced true happiness.

A home full of love surrounded him at all times, a home with familiars respectful of his dominance and longing for but one more moment in the light of his being.

Only now in the dimming twilight do any of us comprehend what will be lost.

The once unconquerable patriarch, the master of all, now scarcely hides his tremors, wistfully swells in challenge only to cower under the spread of his perpetual decline.

His first year colored the cloth that would envelop his existence for all the days to come.  One ailment after another beset him.

And in my quest to manage the ills of his flesh did I also lace into the years the very demon that likely would strike him down.

I care not for more tests, more examinations bent on finding the next cause and, therefore, the next solution.

Causes have effects.  Effects brought us to where we are today.

Mind his suffering, mind his health, mind his well-being, but subject this handsome creature to more devilish fiends that will do nothing more but prolong the agony?

Absolutely not.

Long have I held that in life it is quality that matters most, not quantity.  What is living for a hundred years if the last twenty are spent being sponge-bathed and spoon-fed in a facility where true living has no meaning?

Why should it be different for my children?

Grendel has fewer days ahead than he does behind, a bridge we all cross at some point in our lives.  He faces the reality of his body’s continuing battle against his will.

Would that I could give him some of the life in me, that I might conquer the inevitable by carving from my own self a relief capable of undoing the pattern that life’s loom has woven for him.

But instead I reach out, offer him the adoration that brings a purr through the shaking, share a bit of time in the sun with one who deserves more than he has received.

7 thoughts on “And when we say goodbye”

  1. Sorry Jason! I have been at this crossroad twice this past month. You need to do what’s best for Grendel and if the quality of life does not exist anymore, it’s best to let him go.

    Call me if you need anything 😥

  2. Dear Jason,

    You are fair with Grendel and I understand. I’ve experienced the same feelings before with my furry children. Your description of living quantity without quality hit home – that’s where my Dad is right now at the nursing home…

    My heart goes out to you.


  3. Thank you both so much for your kind words. It’s one day at a time right now. My only concern is that he be happy and loved, but that he not suffer.

    And dearest Mary, I’m so sorry to hear about your father. I wish both of you the best!

    One thing that has always intrigued me about human nature is this: We vehemently defend our right to end the suffering of our animal family members when the quality washes out of their living and they are left to the pain and anguish of illness or old age. We wouldn’t dare let anything rob them of a quick and painless death when they face an unbearable future.

    I wonder why it is that we don’t have the same compassion for other humans. I hope others can look at me with the heartfelt determination it takes to act, the same conviction they hold when it comes to cat or a dog—or any other animal—in the same condition.

  4. ugh. That hit home. I get ridiculously attached to the creatures that grace me with they’re presence. I actually just finished blogging about it when I stumbled across your blog. I think I love you. In an kindred spirit kind of way. (Don’t worry, I don’t have time to stalk people) 😉

  5. Thank goodness, Jade, because I haven’t the time to evade stalkers!

    And thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I appreciate the sentiment and am thrilled to know this struck a cord with you.

    My children are just that–my children. For all the love, devotion and companionship they give me, I can’t imagine giving back anything less.

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