Saturday, April 27, 2013

Life is fragile . . . enjoy the time you have.

My beautiful Hootie
Life is so full of unexpected events and life is so fragile.  Last Tuesday I lost my robust and full of life kitty, Hootie.  I am grief stricken and so sad.  He was a gentle soul and he followed me around the house and out in the yard just like a good dog would.  Wills is grieving too and he misses his buddy that was always more adventurous and led the way with Wills 10 steps behind.  But is was Hootie's adventurous spirit that may have hastened his demise.  Hootie was outside with Wills and Gabbie and when they came in the house Hootie was full of dust.  He like to take dust baths in the loose Arizona mountain soil during this dry season so I didn't think anything of it.  Sid said that Hootie didn't look right and the fur around his mouth was wet.  I took Hootie outside to brush him off and check him over, but he ran away from me not wanting to be bothered.  I didn't chase him since I always give my cats their own control and I assumed he would be back on the porch within a few minutes.  But Hootie never came home.  I am thinking that he may have been stung by a scorpion and possibly went into convulsions and then died, although I haven't seen any scorpions around the house inside or out.  I will never know for sure.  It seemed logical that Wills, who is older and appears more frail and thin, would have been gone before Hootie.  It seemed that Gabbie would have been next since she is losing her eyesight to cataracts and lost her hearing at least a year ago.  But life frequently doesn't follow my logic and the orderly fashion I have designed.  That's when I am completely surprised by life events and I think, "But that's not the way I had planned it."

My precious Wills
Whenever life is snatched from those we love we try to make sense of it and think that if only we would have done something different the outcome would have been different too.  It's only human to believe that we actually have that much power.  The fact is we are quite powerless in many aspects of life.  The only power we have is the small amount of power we have to make decisions about our own life and about the attitude we choose to have.  That's all.  That's pretty darned pathetic when I think about it.  I like to think I have so much power over myself, but as I write my body is continuing to decline, which is actually true of us all.  Some maybe decline faster than others, but after age 20 our bodies begin their decline no matter what we do.  So the purest sense of power lies in our attitude and the manner in which we choose to live life.  It is important to me to live my life with courage and enthusiasm.  I have grieved my loss for several days, but then it is time to pick myself up and begin moving forward again.  Moving backwards or remaining stagnant is not my style.  I appreciate the time I have or have had with family, friends and all the living things that come into my life.  No matter how much time I have or how fleeting it may be, I am grateful and I let go of any personal agenda to control that time I have.  In that way my time is pure and it is quality time that allows each life the liberty that life deserves -- no controls, no possession, just being and enjoying each breath.

Cute Gabbie
I miss my little Hootie and I know I will miss him for a long time.  But I also know how important it is to let go and allow life to follow its own path rather than try to force a path that I have chosen.  Grief and stress are difficult, especially when dealing with a chronic illness.  Grief and stress always cause our symptoms to flare so it is important to manage and minimize the effect these two necessary and yet destructive forces can have.  We are survivors and we are warriors.  We have resilience and determination.  We may fall, but we always get up again.  I want to share a favorite poem.  I have enjoyed the spirit of this poem since I was in my 20's.

Edmund Vance Cooke
How Did You Die?     by Edmund Vance Cooke  (Born June 5, 1866; died December 18, 1932)

Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
   With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
   With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble's a ton, or a trouble's an ounce,
   Or a trouble is what you make it.
And it isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts,
   But only how did you take it?

You are beaten to earth?  Well, well, what's that?
   Come up with a smiling face.
It's nothing against you to fall down flat,
   But to lie there -- that's disgrace.
The harder you're thrown, why the higher you bounce;
   Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn't the fact that you're licked that counts:
   It's how did you fight and why?

And though you be done to death, what then?
   If you battled the best you could;
If you played your part in the world of men,
   Why, the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
   And whether he's slow or spry,
It isn't the fact that you're dead that counts,
   But only, how did you die?

From 101 Famous Poems, Contemporary Books, Inc, copyright 1958, pg 44.

Blessings to my beautiful kitty, Hootie, and blessings to you as you face all the unexpected events that life has to offer.  Life is so fragile and every moment is a gift!
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