Tribute to & Life Lessons from An Extraordinary Cat & A Mini-Guide To Grief

We have no way of knowing that a certain person or animal (being) who walks into our life, will have a great and powerful influence upon us by the time they must leave. We have no way of knowing the full extent of it, until there is a goodbye. I really do know that there is no comparing in love and being. We are all different and unique, and hold between each of us unique bonds of love and friendship. There is no comparison. There is no greater and less than, just different.

Yet, there are relationships and bonds and beings who are undeniably mighty – and their presence and absence are accentuated and amped up. They have done something or been something that has influenced our hearts and lives in a way that has changed us. For whatever reason? No. Not a wishy-washy no reason. Most likely, or most often (I venture to answer this) is because they are carrying with them a larger amount than average of presence, awareness, creativity, participation, Divine Self – AND – have done their hard soul and life work and are busy being leaders without pretense or question, and without needing to be called a leader. They are busy being themselves without question, doubt or pause. They don’t care what others think of this. And not in an arrogant or callous way, but in a true way. This is being in contact with a high level of loving power kin to the Divine Itself (masculine, feminine, human, animal, being and more). Are they perfect? No. Do they have human-like flaws of a temper or dysfunction from time to time? Sure, yes.

However, it is a fault in our own old programming that would ever lead us to believe in perfection in ourselves and others…. and that our imperfect and irrational concepts of perfection are healthy or truly Good! The point is, I love and know people, animals – beings like this. There are many more than just one that becomes a part of one’s life, who has this big golden heart and soul quality. It is not so scarce as one may think. And I am reminded of this experience, because me and my little family have just said goodbye to a great and mighty soul. And his body, up until yesterday, took the form of a handsome and exceptional cat.

His name was Boris. And he was magnificent. In every way.

Boris, the Valiant. Photo: CS Sherin
Boris, the Valiant. Photo: CS Sherin

The influence and teachings he shared with us – simply by being himself – were profound and totally powerful. I have no doubt in my heart and mind that he was an advanced being. One of many, who take many forms – human, animal and otherwise – in our world. Saying goodbye to him, was as hard as it was to say goodbye to our other animal companions who have passed. It was heartbreaking. Not because it wasn’t his time to go. Because he had cancer. Because there was suffering. Because, even though we knew he, as a cat, would have a shorter life – we were never ready for him to go. Because we have already had to say goodbye to two other animal companions and a beloved relative to the cruelty of cancer in the last couple years. Boris was 15 years old. He lived a good life with us. And, there was something more. After the burial and so many tears of love shed by those who loved and knew him most, there is a big empty space. And we are walking around it, looking at it, sleeping less soundly because of it. There is a realization that his presence and ways and being did so many unspoken things to ground us, protect us, love us and bless us.

I wrote about how Boris came to be with us and some of what his story was here.  Along with that story he taught and showed us so many things. Some of them have no words. And remain in our hearts.

What do you do when an extraordinary soul touches your life and then travels on without you beyond the veil?

  • You honor them and their presence in your life and heart.
  • You grieve. (Every person’s grief is different.)
  • You celebrate the relationship and the part of their spirit that remains always in your heart, mindfully and consciously.
  • You look at your life and realize that this is the gift of life you have, and you don’t know how long it will last and know you want to and will make the most of it.
  • You remember all they have shared, imparted and given and act in kind, in your own unique way.
  • Be totally you. Without apology, doubt or pause.
  • Apologize for your shortcomings during grief if you need to, though – in a way that is as kind & loving  and real to yourself as it is to the other person.
  • Light a candle, burn incense, dream, remember.
  • Give yourself kindness, compassion and space to feel.
  • Honor the feelings, and thoughts that arise….be creative.
  • Make time and space to respond and listen to what is developing in deeper levels of your being, soul, heart.
  • Be open to messages and thoughts from nature, dreams and other beings you encounter each day as part of your mystical connection to the Divine and your loved one.

    What NOT to do (in grief)?

  • Never run away from the deeper things going on in your heart and soul by being busy! (It is ok to clean and re-arrange and DO things as long as they are not ongoing and endless ploys for distraction and numbing.)
  • Stop attempting to “push the river”! You cannot make things happen. Or, you can, but it won’t be in tune and harmony with the Universe as much as with your false self.
  • Never begin actions in life that are fueled by fear.
  • Stop dragging yourself into an endless pool of self-pity. (Deciding to indulge in self-pity? Make it short and put a limit on it.)
  • Stop taking on responsibility that doesn’t belong to you – in an attempt to feel needed or because you feel guilty or because old programming says you “should”.
  • Stop “should”ing on yourself and others. (It is gross, unhealthy and counter-productive.)
  • Never catalogue your hurts and losses over and over, holding on to them. (Though it is ok to share what you are dealing with at an appropriate time.) It is unhealthy to become attached to the loss itself or “bad/sad stories” about yourself that you tell yourself and/or others over and over.

    What Boris taught me (that I can put into words):

  • Lead with the presence of someone who can be loving and encouraging while also not afraid to correct obnoxious, irresponsible or reckless behavior.
  • When someone is leaving you to go beyond the veil, become playful as a kitten to remind them that you will meet again, and it will be as joyful as being young kittens in a litter together in a field of flowers.
  • Get a dog. Dogs are fun and silly and interesting.
  • Hold your loved ones hand or paw until they fall asleep, when they need comfort – even if they don’t know they need it.
  • Smile.
  • Play.
  • Sing.
  • Take life seriously. Vow yourself to a worthy job and stick with it until it is done.
  • Watch over a child. Protect them, even in their dreams.
  • Fall in love with a man who wants nothing from you but to clean your bathroom and massage your head. Make him your best friend without him realizing it.
  • Be King (or Queen) of your life. Be a just, valiant and passionate King or Queen without apology.
  • Be tidy in the bathroom.
  • Make interesting sounds that enchant and charm others.
  • Cuddle with your loved ones.
  • Stick to a schedule that makes sense to you. (If people you depend on are veering from it, confront them and let them know that it is late and you would like everyone to observe a decent bedtime.)

    Things Boris Did That Only He Could Do In A Way That Was Endearing:

  • When something is bothering you and you are mad as hell, let people know by yelling fiercely and shake your paw at them in utter disgust.
  • On Easter, go out in the yard, find a baby bunny, decapitate it and bring it in the house for dinner for the family.
  • When someone isn’t listening to your polite and basic requests, assume they are idiots and devise a plan to get their attention and communicate your needs more crudely, such as: knock things over that they care about and then run towards what you need. If that doesn’t work after repeated tries, pantomime what you need. Like, pretend you are eating or drinking air when you are hungry or thirsty. Or chew on their clothes, snapping it back at them with your teeth.
  • When you eat a bird, eat EVERYTHING, except the hip bone.
  • If you leave the yard without permission, go and sleep in a neighbor’s yard under their tomato plants. Go home when hungry.
  • Jump the fence, even if it is 10 feet high.
  • When someone leaves, sing until they come back and leave them a memento of your love, like your favorite stuffed animal lamb for them for when they return.
  • When a loved one is ill, in possible danger or sounds like they are in distress, go to them, and see if you can bring any help or comfort to them. Bring them your favorite stuffed animal lamb.
  • Discipline the dog with a rapid tapping on their forehead when they get too crazy.
  • If you don’t speak a certain language the exact same way as the people you are with, act out what you want to say, especially if the people are thick and stubborn. For example, if you want to say “keep me in your heart” or “I will always be in your heart” when you know you are terminally ill, but they don’t yet –  pull and paw at their shirts and act like you want to climb right inside their chest. After 10 times, they will understand.
  • King Boris and his beloved lamb. <3
    King Boris and his beloved lamb. ❤

    Boris would sing with this stuffed animal lamb in his mouth whenever someone left the house. When one of us would take the dog for a walk, Boris would get the lamb and walk around and “sing”/meowl with it. Then, he would leave it by the front door. If one of us was sick, he would bring the lamb up to us in bed. When his cat wife, Abigail, was dying of cancer last winter, he brought the lamb to her. When it was bedtime and everyone had gone to bed at the time he felt was correct for bedtime, he would take the lamb and sing through the house with it and then bring it to us and come to bed. We never knew, until yesterday, the power a little stuffed animal lamb could have and hold of the Sacred in our lives. ❤


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