death is real

Our last photo of Yeti with Ghost, just 3 hours before he died.

When you love, you feel pain. Again and again.

My cat died Thursday evening. I held his dead body, stared in horror at his glazed wide-open beautiful eyes, struggled to hold up his limp neck. It occurred to me that his is the only dead body I have held since my parakeet died in 1977 and my kitten died in 1987.

Death is an awful presence.

I’ve been sad all weekend. It gets worse when I cuddle with Ghost, and I wonder, is he sad? Does he miss his brother? His only species friend? My heart breaks all over again.

Today I hauled myself to an academic lecture at the Northwestern University MENA lecture series. Though not directly in my scholarly area, it turned out to be fascinating lecture about the history of medical practices, medical teaching, and practices of bodies/cadavers in colonial Egypt.

My mind didn’t wander once. But as Dr. Khaled Fahmy spoke about the dignity of dead bodies, the weight of Yeti’s body returned to my arms.

Death is not something you can prepare for. It is not theoretical. You can read about it, and pray about it, but it is far beyond all of those things. Death is real.

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