first I cried
First I cried because she felt bad.
Then I cried because she was in pain.
Then I cried because she was leaving.
Then I cried because she was gone.
Then I cried because she was still gone.
Then I cried because she wasn’t coming back.
Then I cried because I put her bowl away.
Then I cried because I couldn’t smell her any more.
Then I cried because I could still smell her.
When they brought me her body and left me alone with her to say goodbye, I almost told them, “No, no, take her away.” I had spent so much of the last two days saying goodbye I didn’t think I had any more to say. Plus I knew her body wasn’t her, that she was gone.
But as soon as they left me alone in the room, the words burst from my lips, “It was worth it! It was worth it!” The joy and the pleasure of loving and caring for her, of being with her, of watching her with the other animals, was worth all of the tears and all of the pain.
Wynter was a private cat – the kind that could spend all day in a closet and call it a day well spent, so I won’t say much more than this. She was my baby girl, the first pet I got when she was still an actual baby, and every day I still look up at her spot on top of the book shelf hoping to see her legs dangling off the edge. We got her the year we moved to Vermont and so her death marks so much more than the end of her little life. She was one of the lights of my life for almost 10 years, and though those lights have all gone out, I have not seen the gates of the shadow of death or comprehended the vast expanses of the earth. I have no claim against God that he must pay.
I keep thinking of this from C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed:
Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.
He goes on to explain:
If God’s goodness is inconsistent with hurting us, then either God is not good or there is no God: for in the only life we know He hurts us beyond our worst fears and beyond all we can imagine. … Sometimes it is hard not to say, “God forgive God.” Sometimes it is hard to say so much. But if our faith is true, He didn’t. He crucified him.
I don’t believe “God hurts us” any more than He rewards us; what God does is not about what we deserve. But I do believe that there is no other way to understand Creation except by understanding that sometimes it hurts. Now, apparently, is one of those times.
Here’s to time passing.