Remembering Tasha...

The year I spent in Kansas as Pastor of a Baptist church was often a painful one. Simply put it was not a good fit and I suspect there were some at First Baptist, Lindsborg, Kansas who were as relieved to see us go as we were to leave. I was changing, they wanted to stay the same, or at least that's my side of the story. Looking back it all makes sense and I see the hand of Providence in it all. I was destined to find my way home and so I could not stay and nothing was left behind.

But two cats did come with us from Kansas strays who found a home with us and made that large Baptist parsonage, and every home we've had since then, alive in a way that only cats can. Bo, an athletic tuxedo cat with dark fur over his eyes that made him look like Zorro and Tasha, slight and delicate, walking through our home like a shadow. Bo has been gone over a year now, a tired old man, top cat to the end, who even in his dying let the vet know of his contempt and Tasha who yesterday took that same car ride and was mercifully put to sleep.

Never a large cat, she was so skinny and frail that she was a shadow of even her own slender self. Wracked by all the maladies that come to old cats she was tired, had gone blind, and wandered the house for a few days bumping into things and crying in a way only cats in distress can. We agonized for days and then our not wanting to see her suffer out weighed our desire to keep her with us and the decision was made. The vet sent
a sedative home with us and after my wife and I spent the afternoon with her I gave her a shot and she fell asleep. While we gathered her favorite blanket to carry her to the vet's office I placed her in our doorway for one last brief rest in the sun and then we carried her off. Before the needle was a quarter empty her tiny heart stopped and she went limp.

We stayed for a little while looking at her lying there, quiet and still, no longer crying and pacing through the house in a sightless fog and then we left. In a week or so a small box will be waiting for us with her remains, a swatch of hair, and one last paw print in clay. It will all go into a little box on our mantle next to our other Kansas kitty, Bo, and I suspect every once in a while we'll open it up and remember.

Although the Scriptures, and, to my best knowledge, the Tradition are silent on this I do have a part of me that hopes there is something of the life of animals that lives on in some way. In prior posts I have mused that animals are perhaps the most innocent of God's creatures because they did not sin and are broken only because of the mortality that came to the world through our rebellion. I don't think we ponder that as much as we should, the idea that when animals hurt each other or get old, blind, and ill that this, too, is on our shoulders. Regardless, for the love they give I hope there would be some reward. But I don't know and like so many things I don't completely comprehend I trust that God will do what's best.

So now the house seems a little more empty, empty of her presence, empty of the era in our life that her stay with us marked, empty of her soft footfalls and her thoughtful chatter when she answered as best she could whenever we asked her a question. In time the images of the old and fragile cat will fade away, replaced by so many happy memories. What stories we could tell and we will. Because of that she'll always be our little girl, the shy cat who loved to lay in a sunbeam and made a hard year in Kansas, and every day until her last, a little better just by being ours.

And if there is a place for her that's known to God alone I hope she's there, her eyes bright, her body full, her fur shining, with gentle breezes coming through her very own window on an endless summer day.

1 comment:

Mimi said...

Father, bless,

I'm so sorry to hear of your cat, they have a special place in my heart.