My little cat Honey is dying. She was diagnosed two or maybe three weeks ago with kidney failure, and despite my best efforts has slowly wasted away. I am very sad. I’m also feeling very guilty because I was negligent in various ways.
We adopted Honey nine years ago from the local animal shelter. She was a pregnant stray who was very close to being euthanized. So in another sense I am feeling quite virtuous because we prolonged her life, and because her life was by and large a good one, with plenty of food and water and love.
Somewhere between guilt and virtue lies a truth about our lives and our deaths. I don’t know what it is.
I know that I love the little creature and that she loves me. She’s lying right now in the garden, under a rose bush, in the sunshine, while her life slowly ebbs away. Margaret and I have been weeding the vegetable garden, stopping now and then to visit with her. She lifts her head a bit when we touch her then falls back into a doze. This is best death I can give her, to let her lie in a safe familiar place, to return to her again and again so she can hear my voice and feel my touch.
I know that there is great teaching in all this, about suffering and impermanence. But right now all I want to do is cry.