This was written on the Middlesex News editorial page by someone whose beloved cat, Mittens, was killed by a car recently at Christmas time just as the family was sitting down to enjoy the beauty of the decorations and tree. Her story is at this link: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/opinion/x758547324/Berry-Prayers-of-thanks-for-a-good-cat-and-more.
It prompted my response which I placed on the Metro West News blog:
The Mortality of Mittens: THAT editorial is a profoundly beautiful, ever-so-sad and touching story which has my tears staining the keyboard as I type. We have two cats one (Sugar) who is 17 and the other (Sky) who is 5. Since we have no children, the cats are the two joys of our lives and foci of our attention. We see in them their intrinsic beauty and gentleness every day. They are a source of continual comfort and humor in an often humorless world which has seen fit to visit some tough times on us. It is a world which shows us its razors edge all too often and because of which I am all too often prone to gnash my teeth. The cats seem to obviate that.
We know the reality, as you do now, that death will soon pay an unwelcome visit to our 17 year old Sugar, a loyal, loving and beautiful friend with us for nearly all that time. My hands hesitate to even type those words.
How, though, can we experience the beauty of life if we do not accept its opposite? To me it is the conundrum of existence with which I always will, I know, grapple. Although I am a very secular person, I believe certain Biblical texts have profundity. The one I always love which many rabbis read at funerals is Psalm 90 verse 10: "The days of our lives are three score and ten; and if by reason of strength they be four score years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away".
This is true for all living things on earth no matter their biological life span. We all fly away. It seems to be the natural order of things. With life there is risk and uncertainty. The labor and sorrow is a fact, I think, we must endure to be able to experience the beauty and joy life has to offer as well. A lifespan is, we so often know too, not equal to all. It varies with time and circumstance. I hope, though, your grief is tempered by how much joy the animal you knew and loved brought to you. Perhaps, when you are ready, you can experience the love of yet another furry friend again who needs your love and attention in return. My thoughts and hope are with you!