In times of loss, I have always gone silent. To me, silence has always been a response but it is only in these later years that I learned to sit silence as a response to loss.
Certainly, silence has been my only response on this blog for well over three months. Almost daily, I posted on Aim for Even. There was the interruption from hurricane Hermine, and there was the first of two hip replacement surgeries.
The surgery went extraordinarily well but the patient lost a way of life, totally unexpected. Loss is often evident to everyone around us before we meet it face-to-face.
And so it was for me with feline EmmaRose. She appeared frequently on this blog, and while she lives still, she lives elsewhere.
My hospital stay revealed that I was no longer able to care for EmmaRose even beyond my recovery from hip replacement surgery. More and more, autoimmune disease dictates what is possible for me. In this case, accompanying anemia keeps my energy level quite low.
This partnership of autoimmune disease and anemia has been affecting my life for some time—quite seriously—yet I chose not to hear what my rheumatologist was telling me. Neither did I sit silence for counsel. Rather, I ignored or reinterpreted every medical pronouncement, an old behavior of mine.
Only in losing EmmaRose did I sit silence. I knew the right thing to do and did it but the right thing is always so hard to do.
Is that because I ignored my intuition, my “gut,” until I could no longer deny it? Or is it because doing the right thing always asks something of me that I don’t want to do.
Good questions, and I will ask them all my life. The answers are time sensitive but the questions are eternal. They allow me to see me as I am; always, it is revealing.
I sit silence, all eyes and ears.
And if I am fortunate, a bit of magic shows itself. I have never doubted the presence of magic. It stays hidden in plain sight, its last protection. As fast as this world whirrs, magic is missed.
So often, we chase what we will never catch. Where is the magic in that? As a believer, I tell you that once you have walked through a magic portal, you will never forget the experience.
Some years ago, I discovered an animal sanctuary, deep in the Florida forest. It is not a rescue or a Humane Society but a farm for medically needy animals to live out their lives in a family setting.
If it sounds idyllic, it isn’t, and to me, that’s what makes it perfect. Not too long ago, I was an administrative volunteer for this sanctuary because its mission is like no other. There are no paid staff and there are two veterinarians on site. And yes, it exists entirely on donations.
Magic always wends its way.
So, EmmaRose, now medically needy herself, returned to where she once lived. Daily, a little girl sings to “her best kitty ever,” as a family helps EmmaRose adjust, again, to life on the farm. At the very least, the scent is familiar as is the love.
And I cry but my tears are more for the joy of the years we knew than for the years we will not know. Love always overflows loss.
No matter how dark the moment, there is always a sliver of light. If I sit silence, the world cracks open just a bit.
I no longer focus on the future, what I may or may not experience. The only life I know is the current moment. It has my complete attention. Even without death, some lives leave us. We never know when we must let go, when we must change.
Sitting silence is immersing myself in the experience of being alive, raw and unfiltered, whether it’s the loss of health or doing the right thing for EmmaRose.
I know that each loss reveals its worth in its own time. And then there is the magic. If I sit silence, I will not miss it. I will not go whirring by.