Above is a compilation of my favourite pics of my darling Siberian kitties, Abe (grey) and Ike (white) during the blessed years we had to enjoy them. Ike passed a few years ago just before he turned 13 and Abe passed less than two months ago just before he turned 16. I had to wait for the giant surge of initial grief to pass before I could bear to write this, while also having to look at these beautiful photos of my baby boys which makes my heart hurt.
Unfortunately, we had to put both of them down because by the end of their lives, they we both very sick and suffering greatly. I’m sure that many of you reading this have had to do the same for a beloved pet and you know that it is truly a horrible thing to have to do and that the grief which follows can be overwhelming.
These darling feline companions were my “babies”- I consciously decided to bring them into our home when I turned 35 when my body wanted babies but my mind did not. I needed to mother and nurture so badly and Abe and Ike were a dream come true. My husband and I loved and adored them like they were our own children and enjoyed many years in their amazing company.
Leading up to the day when we were to put Abe down, I was in so much emotional pain that I turned towards Buddhism to soothe my mind and spirit. I found two teachings which spoke to me and acted as a healing balm. The first is a reminder that death touches all of us and that we cannot escape it. The second is a poem which reminds us that even though loved ones die, we will always stay connected with them in spirit. I hope these two pieces offer a balm to your soul if you are grieving too.
The Five Remembrances
- I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.
- I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape having ill health.
- I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.
- All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.
- My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.
The Contemplation on No Coming and No Going
This body is not me.
I am not limited by this body.
I am life without boundaries.
I have never been born,
and I have never died.
Look at the ocean and the sky filled with stars,
manifestations from my wondrous true mind.
Since before time, I have been free.
Birth and death are only doors through which we pass,
sacred thresholds on our journey.
Birth and death are a game of hide-and-seek.
So laugh with me,
hold my hand,
let us say good-bye,
to meet again soon.
We meet today.
We will meet again tomorrow.
We will meet at the source every moment.
We meet each other in all forms of life.
-Thich Nhat Thanh