One less cat

In early January, 2011, my huge Maine Coon … Ruttu … began to have difficulty breathing. Off to the vet we went. It didn’t even occur to me that I wouldn’t be bringing him home.

An X-ray revealed a large cancerous tumor growing around his heart and pressing against his lungs.

The last minutes of his life were difficult. Because he had been handled, he became stressed, which made it even harder for him to breath … which required more handling by several staff members. He was a strong cat.

At one point, he stood up on his hind legs and screamed. I made the decision to put him to sleep.

Certainly, it was hard for me to watch. But I am glad I was there to, hopefully, offer him some comfort. The last thing he saw was my face.

My memory of his suffering haunts me. I feel the grief in my heart and in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t just cry, I wailed. I was angry at God.

Six weeks earlier, I lost my brother to cancer. Weeks before his death, I began reading books about near death experiences. These people who died, and came back … who have different religious beliefs, described a similar experience.

Their journey began when they sped through a long, dark tunnel. Sometimes there were other people, sometimes animals too.

They were drawn into the Light, to Heaven, to be in the presence of God. They learned the meaning of life, understood all that requires understanding and were one with God. They saw lost loved ones. So totally joyous, so blissful, there are no words to really describe their experience.

They didn’t want to come back … but were returned because it ‘wasn’t their time.’

Some came back knowing things they could not have known … unless they had left their bodies.

Do I believe it? Yes. We all have different views of life after death. —- Are different spiritually, worship differently.

In spite of my belief, I still have to grieve.

A week has passed, I don’t cry as much. I remember Reverend Neil Lemke … once, so wisely saying,

“You never get over it … you just get used to it.”

As horrible as grieving is, it is still … all about love.

Be blessed with heavenly peace, brother John and Ruttu.

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