Ms Ebony Ankledancer, our nearly 16-year-old chocolate kitty with champagne eyes, is going to leave us today. We and our excellent vet have done all we can, but the infection she’s been suffering from doesn’t respond to antibiotics, and she’s lost strength to the point that she could no longer win the battle even if it did. Our love for her and common decency demand that she be released.
I would love to be able to invoke some sort of magic and cure Ebony’s infection. If we were less-balanced people, we might spend hundreds of dollars more and put her through a lot more misery simply because we don’t want to let her go. Ain’t going to happen. It is what it is. We can either accept that, grieve for her appropriately and get on with things — or not. It’s up to us. We don’t have to like it; We only have to accept it and move on — or not. So many other things in life are like that. We want to be comfortable, we want physical and mental stimulation, and yet not too much of it (except for us addicts). We don’t want to die, and our society spends terrific amounts of money and energy trying to avoid the idea. Yet we also want to be free of suffering — and the only way to have that is to cease to exist in this world. I might wish that my childhood had been different, or that I hadn’t become an addict. For a long time I carried resentments about my childhood that gave me no peace. When I finally understood that I can’t change the past, and started to look at its reality, I began to heal.
I like gadgets, especially electronic gadgets. I used to obsess about the next (whatever) and try to fill the empty place inside with toys — another addiction. When I began to come to terms with the reality of my life, and to understand that only I can make the changes that will fill that void — that I can’t fill it with sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, food or the next greatest product from Samsung or Lenovo — things finally began to improve. But the greatest change came when I began to internalize the fact that I will never have peace inside until I stop craving things from the outside. A new Maserati would be nice, but I’ll never be able to afford one. It is what it is. Up to me what I do with that. I can’t make people love me. I can only exert limited influence on what goes on with the world. I can’t stop climate change. I can’t alter the fact that there are people in the world who don’t give a rat’s ass about others and who behave accordingly. It is what it is.
What I can do is try to make little differences. If I can’t solve a big problem, I can try to solve a little one. I can try to make myself lovable, and hope for the best. Despite my grandiosity I’ll never change the world, but I can hand a bum a dollar. I can help a newcomer who’s struggling to stay sober. I can be a dependable friend — a good listener who doesn’t try to solve problems that I don’t understand, but simply lets the other party know that they aren’t alone. If I’m willing to accept my limitations and act within my ability, instead of dreaming about great things, I can do a lot.
I’m probably going to forget all that for a while in a couple of hours, but that won’t change the facts. We’ll do what good kitty parents do when it’s necessary, cry, hug each other and our remaining cat, and move on.
And who knows? Maybe someday there will be another fuzzy black kitten to love. We’ll see.