Are spirits in the material world

8 08 2010

I don’t believe in life after death.

There is life, here, in this world, and death both is and signals the end of life.

Now, is there something else, after life? That, I don’t know.

If there is something else, it doesn’t seem that it would conform to notions of Christian or Muslim heaven; those seem so earth-bound, so reflective of what we already have here, only someone’s version of better.  (A multitude of virgins or streets paved with gold? Really?) If there would be something else, wouldn’t it be. . . something else?

Backing up: I think of life as bounded by this earth, but I’m fudging on the whole existence thing, that is, we exist in life, here, and if our existence continues, then it would be in some other way.

Furthermore, that there could be something else doesn’t mean it’s supernatural. I don’t believe in the supernatural; I think everything—everything—is natural, and that that which is called ‘supernatural’ is simply something for which we lack understanding.

(And woo? Woo is a cover, a con: obfuscation masquerading as understanding.)

This isn’t rank materialism. I also don’t believe the (natural or social) sciences are sufficient to make sense of all worldly—universal—phenomenon; I’m not arguing that understanding necessitates a reduction of all things to the latest brand of physics. It’s simply that, if there is nothing beyond nature, then we’ll need new ways of understanding—new sciences—to make sense of that which current scientific methods cannot.

Does this tend toward a Theory of Everything? Perhaps, but since TOE is conceptualized in contemporary terms, it may be inadequate to describe all that there is.

And ‘is’ itself may be—hell, already is—called into question, along with ‘all’ and ‘that’.

*Sigh* It’s late and I”m not making sense.

I’m wondering about death because a little over a week ago Bean died and a little over a year ago Chelsea died.  I don’t think they’re in pet heaven or regular heaven or whatever. I don’t know if they’ve gone some place after death, if their existence continues, or what relationship that existence has to any worldly one. Maybe there’s nothing, maybe there’s something. I know they’re not with me.

But I would like to think, that if there is something, that they neither forget nor are constrained by life. This existence on earth, this life, is powerful, and if there is something else, I’d like to think it offers us more without taking away what we already were. Perhaps there is no full understanding on this earth, no way for us to comprehend all there is; perhaps life is to get us started, but it’s not enough, not enough for us to know.

I don’t know this, of course. And maybe this is it, and this life which is not enough is it. Perhaps this life is enough.

My methods are insufficient to determine one way or the other.





Bean-a-lee-a-lea, Bean-a-lee-a-lou. . . .

31 07 2010

Bean loved to do two things, eat, and:

Sleep

And sleep some more

She slept on the floor, on rugs, in chairs, on tables, on my desk, in my closet, and, of course, in bed:

Whaddya mean, move?

As Chelsea and Bean got older, I set a low chest near the bed to make it easier for them to get up and down. In one apartment, however, I didn’t have room for the chest, so set this stool next to the bed, instead:

Chelsea would step lightly up, but Bean never quite mastered that. Instead, she’d climb partly on to the lower step, then stick her paw into the notch on top and haul herself up and over; made me smile every time. Shoulda gotten a shot of that.

When I had a proper kitchen set-up—i.e., a table and chairs—Bean liked to jump into the chair. She then expected me to tip it back and rub her belly. She’d squeak and squeak until I’d stop, then look at me like ‘You’re stopping? Is there a problem?’

Even without the tip-and-rub, however, she liked to reign from the chair.

This became a point of contention between her and Jasper, as he, too, liked to loll on the chair. Bean would chase him off if he dared slip on to her perch, but at some point this past winter, she ceded the spot to him. It was a concession both sad and inevitable.

Still, she never gave in fully to Jasper, never let him get too familiar. Tolerance, however, she could do.

Early detente

I did see them sleeping together—actually touching—once or twice, but Jasper could never get the hang of how to hang without chomping on Bean. And then he wondered why she wanted nothing to do with him.

Chelsea was the same way, initially, with Bean, although because they were much closer in age, they had more time together to learn how to live together.

Unfathomable in the early years, constant later on

Chelsea, as I may have mentioned, was a marvelous jumper, able to leap from the floor to the top of five-foot bookshelves with little more preparation than a look and a butt-wriggle. This was how she most often escaped the Bean-kitten, as the young Bean had neither the strength nor, frankly, the chops, to follow her.

But oh, how Bean tried. One night, when my roommate P. and I were sitting on the couch, Bean chased Chelsea down the hall and into the living room. Chelsea skipped on to the nearby desk, then hopped on to the bookshelves.

Bean, determined to follow, didn’t bother first scrawling up the couch to get to the desk (a board slung across two file cabinets), and instead tried to conquer the desk in one leap.

She managed to get half her tiny body up, but her back didn’t quite make it. She bicycled her back legs, to no avail, and her front half slowly slid back off, until all that remained on top were her paws, the claws dug into the plywood.

She hung there for a moment, her little body swinging, before she finally let go.

Bean never attained the grace so natural to Chelsea, but she had her own dignity.

And she was sweet and lovable, who pipped and squeaked and purred and purred and purred.

Bean was a good cat. I don’t know if there’s anything after life in this world, but if there is, I hope she and Chelsea are together.

They were good cats.

If there is something else, I hope they’re happy.





The lion sleeps tonight: one year later

2 05 2010

Chelsea. It’s a year to the day.

1991-2009

The mourning has not gone well. I’ve grieved, and not. I’ve handled it, and not.

I can think of her without tears, but only rarely; because of this, I only rarely think of her.

She does help me with Bean, in trying to do better in recognizing and responding to her needs. I’m patient with Bean in a way I was not always with Chelsea.

I couldn’t see that she was dying, couldn’t see her.

I still can’t, in so many ways.

My sweet Chelsea still has something more to teach me. Perhaps by next year, I can finally let her rest.





I watch you sleeping on the bed

9 03 2010

My beautiful Bean is sick.

Not desperately so, and perhaps not-imminently-fatally so, but she is ill, and it likely that this illness will at some point result in her death.

It pains me to say this, because I do not want my sweet old kitten to die, but I cannot ignore her decline.

Cannot. Will not.

I did ignore what was happening to Chelsea. It’s so clear, in retrospect, that she was sick for years, dying for months, and almost gone by the time I saw that gone was the best place for her. I spent money I didn’t have on a delusion that at 18 what little life she had in her was enough for a few more years.

It made the ending harder than it had to be for both of us.

So I won’t do that with Bean. I will see her, as she is, an old and sick cat. Oh, I’m doing what I can, within reason, to slow that decline, but at 15 1/2, ‘within reason’ amounts to home care and wishes.

Whether that decline is weeks or months or even a year, I have no idea.

But I’ll be ready, or readier, this time. Chelsea taught me that. Wishes or no, I have to see Bean clear.





The year of the cat

31 12 2009

My attitude toward 2009?

Don’t let the calendar hit your ass on the way out the clock.

I don’t usually care much one way or the other for end of year/beginning of year ruminations; my biggest issue is remember to write the correct year on any documents I have to date.

But two things happened this year which affected the absurd household.

One (tho’ the second thing, if you insist on chronological correctness):

Yes, the Odd Boy, Mr. Jasper himself, came to live with Bean and me. He’s been a sweet pain in the ass and a darling demon. I’m glad he’s here.

Bean continues to withhold judgment on the issue.

The second, of course, is the first:

My beautiful Chelsea died.

It was time. She’d been in a slow decline for years, but the end came quickly. She was in no obvious pain, and she purred to the last.

Still, even a good death is a death, and this was the end of a remarkable creature.

I miss you, Sweet Pea.

~~~

There would be no Jasper without Chelsea, of course, no entrance without the exit.

It’s not that Jasper replaces her (duh), but that the space left by Chelsea opened a space for another.

Would I rather have Chelsea than Jasper? I’d rather that Chelsea had stayed healthy for a few more years, that she had continued to fill her own space. Had she done so, I’d have never gone to Animal Control, never met that smelly little critter chomping on my fingers (shoulda been a clue) through the cage bars.

In other words, there’s no comparison between the two. One departed, the other entered. What was Chelsea’s will remain so; Jasper is creating his own way.

My sorrow at Chelsea’s death coexists with my pleasure at Jasper’s presence.

Time falls away, and leaves Chelsea, Bean, and Jasper. They all came, they will all go; they are all here, always.





What shall we use to fill the empty spaces?

3 11 2009

Things will be different this winter.

Hard.

Not the weather—sleeping. Without Chelsea.

You see, Chelsea was incredibly fucking annoying to sleep with once the weather turned cold.

She’d jump up on the bed (not annoying), walk over my body or head (slightly annoying), then sit near my shoulder (not annoying).

Waiting.

Waiting for me to lift the covers that she perfectly well could have burrowed under herself—but no, Herself had wait for me to lift the covers.

If I didn’t immediately do so upon her arrival near my shoulder, she’d make a few pigeon noises (low coos), then again, at a slightly higher volume.

Still nothing? She’d paw at the blankets, lightly at first, then with some vigor.

Still nothing? The paw to the nose. And if still no reaction, she’d push out her claws ever so slightly and softly—no scratches, no marks—rake them across my cheek and nose.

At which point I’d lift my arm and create a proper entrance for La Chelsea.

This is not the really fucking annoying part.  No, what was r.f.a. was her pause.

Yes, after all that, she’d take a step, then pause for a few seconds, as if wondering Hm, do I really want to go under the covers after all? before deigning to duck down and under.

Jesus, she had me so well trained.

Then, of course, she’d turn around and around and around before settling into the same damned spot she always did, curled into my belly as I lay on my side, wrapping herself into a warm ball of purr.

That, I admit, was never annoying.





Pass in time

31 08 2009

It’s been almost 4 months.

I teared up when I typed that.

You see, while I can talk about her life, I cannot talk about her death without tears.

I know she’s no longer here, but it is an outer knowledge, something I keep away from me.

I have to make room for her, all of her, in me. Life and death and everything.

If I want to be able to remember without tears, then I have to bring her back in, even with the tears.

‘Just a cat’, I know.

But oh, how I miss that cat!








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