One of my dearest companions died this morning.
Mingus has been the constant through two houses, through a season in hospital, through babies and sleepless nights. Every night for the past five years, Mingus has crept under the blankets and curled up in the space next to my womb, pushed to the edge of the bed as my belly grew over two pregnancies, purring over the scaffolding of the little people inside. From conception my babes heard that purr from inside their little womb-hut.
Last week, out of nowhere, he became deathly ill. As the vet bills escalated for some reason I thought that meant we were getting closer to recovery, like I could buy Ming’s way out of this. But as the moon rose each night, he sunk a little, into those unknowable cat shadowlands. Perking up during the day, and sinking at the night with the sun. My Mingus. He was always solar powered.
And then this morning he took his last inhale, his last exhale from this world.
As he lies curled at my feet for his last sun-bath, and my fingers rake his warming coat, I can can almost forget the spirit has left the body. Only a week ago he was curled up, purring at my belly as of old. The shock of life. The predictability of change. A reminder to always hold your dear ones close.
I’m not sure where it comes from, but a voice inside tells me I’m overreacting. That this is just a cat. That I should move through the day, through my interactions without fuss and without hurt. Whoever that dispassionate voice is, I tell them this: that I choose hurt. I choose hurt, and love, and friendship felt with just a cat. I choose strong bonds between nature and humans that make the whole world come alive, that enrich our being. Where partnerships with animals enlarge the scope of our mind, our stories, our humanity. I tell that voice that Mingus has taught me as much about what home is, what contentment is, and what refuge is, as any human I know.
This is a friendship worth mourning. Knowing the pain of what I have lost gives me answers to what I need to find next. Thank you Mingus, my teacher and friend.