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Pet Stories: In Your Own Words

Siddhartha’s Passing

By: Dr. Susan Schaefer

I have been home all week with Siddhartha, as he’s moved through his journey of physical death. I would not have changed one moment. I particularly enjoyed his basking in the sun on the dining room table three days ago. The table has been an absolute “no, no” ever since he came to me as a six-month-old Siamese kitten. He knew that I was aware that the last few months he has been sneaking up on the table at night, before nestling on my bed, to get tempting water from the vase of fresh flowers I always have on the table. His loving stance on the table a few days ago seemed to say, “There will be no dishonesty between us now.” I gave him a grateful kiss.

For three months Siddhartha has been following me around the house, landing on my lap whenever and wherever I would land. His sleep spot changed from the bottom of the bed to the pillow next to mine. This deepening intimacy capped eleven years that he was my living support through spiritual transitions. Intensifying our closeness was his way of telling me that it was time for him to go home.

The last few nights it has been difficult for him to get up on the bed, and yet he has. I helped him down in the mornings. Last night, instead of coming to the bed he went into the grandchildren’s room, where he would go from time to time when he needed to be alone. I have always tried to be respectful of his space and I knew that his body was weakening quickly. He hadn't eaten in a week and had withdrawn from drinking water from the little cups I’ve held close to his mouth periodically throughout the last days and nights.

Lying in bed I was so overwhelmed with sadness I could not help myself. I called to him. It was quiet. I called again a few moments later. The third time I called I told him that I understood that his body was weak. I promised that this would be the last night I would ask him to be here with me as I slept. I wept when I heard the click click of my "Sweet Boy's" little claws on the wood floor. His “healing prince” spirit had mustered the strength to get its weary feline body up on my bed one final time. I thanked both body and spirit through my tears.

Sometime in the night a dream showed me that my Siddhartha's spirit had left his body. The morning was like a continuation of the dream. I meditated with him on my lap and then went to shower. Siddhartha followed, waiting outside the shower door as he has done the many months his body has needed a constant supply of water. When I opened the shower door he staggered inside but was unable to lick the remaining dribbles, as has been his pattern. He just stood there until I placed next to him the towel I was using to dry myself. He lay down on the towel with difficulty. I was in an altered state as I dressed and called Siddhartha’s vet, one of the dearest men on this planet. As Siddartha and I drove to his veterinary hospital for the last time, I told Siddhartha that our souls would not be separated when he was free of his ailing body—his soul force and I would remain in communication always. About two-thirds of the way there, I realized that I had been in direct communication with Siddhartha's soul all morning. My words had been to reassure the human me.

Sobbing gently, I stroked the beautiful Siamese cat body, especially around the ears (it's favorite petting spot), as it relaxed with the pre-sedation. I kissed the body goodbye and the vet eased it unto peaceful death. I knew that the entire journey was exactly what Siddhartha and I had intended together. Nevertheless I am reminded again as I write and weep, that it is those of us left behind who suffer most deeply.

For years, and especially this hospice week, I thanked Siddhartha's grand soul for offering his spirited light to support me as I carried myself over “troubled waters.” There is no way in heaven or earth that I could have done these past eleven years without him. Thank you, "Sweet Boy."

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Siddhartha

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