My sweet, beloved cat Merlin crossed over to the spiritual realm yesterday.
Merlin had only shown signs of being sick over the past few weeks. He was about 13. He had slowed down somewhat in the past year or so. But, all in all, he was his big, handsome, adorable self. And then two days ago, an ultrasound showed cancer in several organs. We took him home that night. Yesterday, he was very clear in communicating that he was ready to leave his body and our vet came to our home to assist him. Merlin passed easily and peacefully, with dignity, and in a ceremonial way that was honoring of him.
Merlin was a Buddah; a Zen kitty; a Yogi master; calm, peaceful, serene. He adored being a cat; he loved being in his body and he was a skilled and avid hunter. Merlin would sometimes position his body in the most unusual cat-yoga positions and ‘meditate’. He was gentle, kind, patient and loving to everyone. On the rare occassion when someone who was not a ‘cat person’ would visit, they fell in love with Merlin. Everyone loved Merlin. He was the embodiment of grace and compassion; a true teacher in every sense of the word. I have many stories and teachings from Merlin that I will write about in the coming weeks and months to share his medicine and wisdom with you.
For today, I share some of my favorite photos of Merlin and my gratitude for the opportunity to have been blessed to live with such an enlightened being for 12 years. Amidst my tears and sadness are moments of tremendous joy. Merlin had a great life, he is no longer in pain, and his spirit is free now. I miss his physical form and I also rejoice in knowing that we are connected for eternity.
For decades I have celebrated Winter Solstice as the day of the return of the light. Merlin passing on Solstice Eve is a reminder to honor the richness and fullness of the dark; this too is sacred and powerful.
Many of you already know that I have lost three beloved animal companions in the past year and a half. My loyal and loving dog Syra with her velvet ears crossed over in April 2010, my shaman black panther kitty Sig crossed in August 2010, and now my Buddah-belly Merlin. This is the first time in many, many decades that I do not have an animal companion in my life, on the physical plane. I can’t imagine my life without animals. I know that I will have animal companions again very soon. In this moment, however, the void feels overwhelming at times. I am doing my best to trust that this is an opportunity to be in the void and still feel connected to the Divine. I will live today one heartbeat at a time and know and trust that the next animal companion for me is coming. I will do my best to keep my heart open and feel my grief as well.
This is not the way I planned to celebrate Winter Solstice this year. Yet, it is what it is. And so, I have the opportunity to let go of attachments today and trust that all is happening for the highest and best.
Every day is a day of thanks-giving. Every day is an opportunity to live in ceremony. With my heart both heavy with grief and full of joy at the same time, I am grateful.
I wish you all many blessings for a loving and joyous Winter Solstice and Holiday.