We’ve learnt that the stages of grief progress from denial to anger, to bargaining, to depression, and finally acceptance. With all due respect to Kübler-Ross, I think she missed out the part where you subject yourself to a long, philosophical rant brought on by the death of a kitten.
Yes, my kitten is dead and I’ve been reduced to the blubbering, miserable 10-year old who lost her first puppy in another freak accident.
You would think that with age would come composure and that the death of an animal would not resonate as greatly, in view of your expanded perspective on the world and humanity in general (think of the wars! think of the shootings!). But maybe that’s just it – the revelations of how far we’ve fallen cause us to cling on even more to the little bits of peace we can find. Any little bit.
For me, it comes in the form of animals.
I’ve rescued a German Shepard that has brought a fair amount of heartbreak, (long story short – he accidentally killed my younger sister’s rabbit) and yet, on the day he was supposed to go in for a high-risk major surgery, I cried another few buckets worth of tears at the vet in anticipation of his faultily-preconceived death. When this little kitten, that I personally picked up from the side of a highway and nursed back to health, died the most untimely death, I nearly approach a level of hysterics in shock and grief.
Is it unfounded? Is it irrational? For those who are able to shake the death of an animal off. Does it make them heartless? Or does it merely render us overly-emotional?
I don’t think it should be one or the other.
Who are we to determine the immensity of loss of one thing or another, one person or another? I have friends who cry over injustice, over a badly-placed depreciative joke. I used to scoff inwardly. There were better things worth saving the tears for.
At least, that’s what I thought. Until now.
Even as I type this, my eyes are swollen from a number of tears shed. My heart races from a potent mix of anger and sadness. My bones are heavy beneath the weight of “should-have-been”s. Most of all, my entire being aches from the emptiness that fills the places where this little guy, Tres, (short for Treasure) should have been. The crook of my arm, the fold of my lap, the cradling of my palms.
But I will let myself feel, and grieve, and I will allow myself to be weak, because it is alright to have loved, and it will alright someday, to have lost.
The loss of anything good – big, small, furry or otherwise, is a loss indeed.