Tuesday, January 26, 2016
All that eager, trusting band
Who lived their lives as best they knew;
Who thrust wet muzzles ’gainst my hand,
And gave me love beyond my due;
So gallantly each played his part
That no new friend usurps his place.
In quiet corners of my heart,
Each owns, still warm, a bedding space.
I’ll not believe their jaunty tails
Are drooping in Death’s gloomy pound,
But one by one they found the trails
That least to some fair hunting ground.
I hope it breaks no holy laws
If ’neath God’s table they are fed;
I like to think their spirit paws
May dig Elysium’s garden bed.
And He who fashioned grass and trees,
And cares for sparrows, beasts and men,
May let them press against His knees
And stoop to stroke them now and then.
- Burges Johnson
Our cat Panzi has died. She'd been doing poorly for months, then went into in a steep decline and then just hung there for nearly a week, not eating, not drinking, only once in a while making odd crying sounds that got softer and softer. Sometimes she’d get up and wander around just a little. Ellen and I would hold her and talk to her and stroke her, which she’d endure patiently. She’d long lost all her fat and now even her flesh; stroking her was like stroking a thinly-furred bag of dried twigs. When she took to her bed, we wished for an end to it. On Thursday I tried giving her a little water with an eye dropper, but after the first sip she turned her head away and held up a paw to ward my hand off. Friday night I got up to use the bathroom and found her in the middle of the living room floor, lying on her side, unable to rise. I put her back in her sheepskin bed and she stayed there sleeping or unconscious until she died at about seven pm the next day. It was hard to watch this long decline, she kept hanging on and on and on. I think now that perhaps we should have called the vet to come and put an end to it. But she was so frail, we kept thinking she'd go soon, and didn't want the trauma - to her and us and our wonderful home-visit vet - of the long needle. It’s hard to know what was the right thing to do. Monday Ellen took her to be cremated.
Sunday was Father Paul Allick’s last with St. George’s Episcopal Church. He’d been with us for seven years, and everyone grew during his tenure, even him. He’ll be sorely missed. So that makes three big losses for me, my publisher, my cat, my priest, all very important to me. But losses come in threes they say, so things should improve from here.