This day twelve months ago I put in action a decision I had already made in my head and heart many months, many years, before. I had trusted myself that when the time was right, I would know but of course the question remained – would I really know?
I did. When it was time, I knew.
I lost my friend last year, which is an anemic euphemism for the death of an animal, especially when this animist spirit worker knows more or less exactly where the animal still is (in the little cedar box; in the nebulous spirit haze that’s just sort of everywhere). And really, I don’t feel like I’ve “lost” anything – I just feel her gone-ness rather than a loss. No fleeing, no draining, no gradual departure, just a gone-ness that I feel is quite irreconcilable with my own continued staying-ness. My friend is gone and I’m still here. This fact remains an incompatible truth, a pearl of wisdom with firmly defined edges that I can’t help but examine or that I am simply endlessly confronted by.
I didn’t expect to feel better by this point, but I did rather imagine I’d feel differently. Maybe less sad. The sadness has less emotional dominance, it’s not the starring role in my emotional landscape, but the quality of the sadness is still basically the same since it mellowed from depression after the first few months. I do, thankfully, feel many other things besides sad, which is a problem I had for a while, so in that sense I feel like I’ve felt better over time, but the quality of the sadness remains basically the same.
I really thought I had more to say about this. I sort of put off all day saying things that I really quite wanted to say, only to entirely forget what they were and to feel that they were probably worthless anyway. I don’t know if I’m saying these words to get them out of my head, to add a tick mark after an arbitrary amount of time has passed since her passing, to examine emotions I’ve long since become familiar with.
Maybe I just want to stop feeling sad. Maybe I want to find some joy and comfort in the memories of the small soft animal I lived with for 9 years instead of just mourning every time I think of her. Maybe I want to welcome her spirit with gladness instead of thinking about how she’s gone even though she’s *right there*.
I miss you, Butter. I miss you so much. Thank you for everything you gave and did and were and are. You are remembered in the present tense.
2 thoughts on “For a friend”
It’s been 36 years since I lost my last four-legged friend passed, and 16 years since my last finned friend departed this world. I remember them, and so many more, each day when I honor my ancestors. While my partner and I often discuss adopting animals, we haven’t been able to bring ourselves to do so because each loss has been more difficult to bear. Instead, we support shelters and organizations advocating for animal welfare.
It is so hard to loss our little friends. I’m glad you’ve found a way to honor and remember them.
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