Photos, sometimes with Commentary, from a lay Catholic.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Omar Says Goodbye

Happy Morning Walk
Originally uploaded by marylea
Sad and a little melancholy today. On Monday, June 25, 2007, I lost a dear feline friend who had been with me for 15 years, longer than many of my other relationships! Omar came to our family as a kitten, rescued after being abandoned by her mother, a ferral cat. We nursed her until she could eat kitten food. My kids were in elementary school back then, and having a pet was a great thing for them, and for me.

Omar didn't like being dressed in doll clothes. She wasn't that type of cat. So we got Bailey a year later. (Baily died Mach 19, 2006.) Omar didn't care much for Bailey, who showed her far too much attention, and particularly moved in on any "favorite" spot she found to sleep. She was frequently moving to a new chair or window, only to have it encroached upon by him. We tried to keep Bailey from being so overbearing, but she was none too thrilled with him. Still, Bailey was good for the kids, and content to be dressed in doll clothes and carried by his tail if it got him attention. (And it did.)

But Omar was different, more aloof, a little more sophistocated, we told ourselves. She was an avid reader and loved the arts. Or so it seemed.

And she was a great mouser. In recent years her rodent count seemed to increase. In our new home, she had already caught three mice that got in the basement, and was working to rid the yard of these "pests". She was pretty good to leave the birds alone. By that I mean she must not have been very good at catching them, because we didn't see too many aviary casualties.

She loved the outdoors, was afraid during thunderstorms, liked her water from sink faucets, chased elastic hair ties around the house, begged for broccoli, had to be coaxed to eat turkey, preferred vegetables instead of meat (like me!), and was generally a homebody, usually nearby. If I were working in the garden, she would appear from nowhere. In cooler weather she slept indoors, recently preferring to nap on our headboard or my pillow, or on the couch in Kevin's office where the sun shines in through the window. In warm weather, she liked to be outdoors. She liked to sleep in my lap when I worked on the computer, or on the printer, if Seamus was in my lap. She adapted to Seamus' arrival to our household pretty well, and he, in turn, was good at "protecting" her if he thought she needed it.

Recently, she took walks with Seamus and me (see the above pic), keeping stride with us, although lingering behind sometimes to explore something that caught her eye, then catching up with us if we waited for her (and we did). She was spry for her age, and looked healthy.

She scrutinized strangers, keeping her affections for the chosen few, of whom we counted ourselves lucky to belong. On Saturday night, June 23, the night before she died, she slept on my chest, her purr a comfort to me as I drifted to sleep. (Seamus slept at my side...) This was something she had done since she was a kitten, and at night if she wasn't outside, she was either sleeping by my head or on my chest.

On Sunday night, she asked to go outside around 11:30pm. It was warm and clear and she liked to prowl around the yard and sleep in the culvert that runs under our driveway. Seamus and I always greeted her in the morning when we went out, and she would emerge from the culvert like it was giving birth!

But sadly, Kevin and I found her in our backyard Monday morning, the cause of her death unclear, but we suspect she tangled with another animal.

She is buried in our yard where I can be near her, and near the fields she enjoyed exploring. Please indulge me my small expression of sorrow today.

Although I work with people who are ill, and many of whom die, I never find the passing of life easy to bear, despite all the philosophizing and rationales that I review in my mind. I form attachments, and I grieve when they end. I recognize that things are impermanent here, but I do love many of the creatures with whom I share space.

After we buried her, I took a walk around the yard with Seamus, giving space for my feelings. There, Seamus noticed she had left us one last mouse outside the back sliding door... doing her best to earn her keep up to the end.

So thank you, Lord, for all the good and beautiful creatures that make our lives so rich, and let us not cling too closely to those things which are not ours at all, but Yours. Let it remind us to cling ever more closely to You.

Omar Sepia