Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Goodnight, Sweet Camille ...

Well, I'm back from something of a hiatus, and I'm sure there's much to catch up on in Blogsville! We spent a couple of weeks in Los Cabos, Mexico (will post more on the trip later), and returned home late this past Friday night. It was a rather grueling day of travel (a layover through Phoenix and delayed flight put us home past midnight), and upon arriving home we learned that our sweet little old kitty, Camille, had passed away.

My mother-in-law left a note for us, telling us what had happened. She had been house and pet-sitting for us, and on January 6th she came over to take care of the cats and discovered that Camille had fallen asleep and passed away. She said that Camille looked peaceful, so I'm really hoping that she truly did just go in her sleep, and that she didn't suffer. She was almost 19 years old - a remarkable age for a cat to reach - and she had grown increasingly frail. Her hearing and eyesight had greatly diminished in a very short time. Her ability to control elimination was compromised (and certainly not helped by two kittens in the house who for some reason seemed intent on tormenting her), so for a number of months she had been residing in what we called her "senior living apartment." This just meant that she had the spare bedroom/workout room all to herself, where she could be safely sequestered from the bratty youngsters and surrounded by all of the things that comforted her most.

My dear in-laws wrapped her in a gold blanket and laid her to rest in our back garden. As of this writing, I have not yet been able to bring myself to visit her final resting place ... it just hurts too much to think that her tiny body is lying still and lifeless in the earth. She came into my life at a time when I craved a little someone to love and nurture, just about the time when it became quite clear that I was never going to have children of the human variety. It may sound silly to say that she filled that void, but that's what happened. She seemed to reserve the majority of her affection just for me. It's like she just knew that I needed an unconditionally loving being to bond with, and that's exactly what she was.

On the night that I returned home from Mexico and learned she was gone, I had a dream. In it, Camille was very much alive and well -- she appeared not as the little old lady that she had become towards the end, but as she was when she was in her prime. I could see her and feel her and hear her, but I knew in the dream that she was, indeed, gone. I turned to Rocky and asked, "Don't you see her? She's right there!" -- but he did not. I phoned my parents and told them that I thought there was something very wrong with me, as I knew my cat was dead, yet I could still see her. She was somehow still very much present. And then, Camille looked at me with her emerald green eyes and somehow she relayed this message to me: "Please allow me to go." And when I relented whatever hold on her that I had, she floated up towards the ceiling. In the next dream scene, we were transported outdoors and it was dark, and she was floating up into the ink-black, starry sky -- up and up and up, until she faded from view. And when I could no longer see her, somehow, I immediately felt at peace. Even when I awoke from the dream, I basked in a sense of comfort and well-being.

I miss her, and I know with certainty that I will continue to miss her for a long time to come. But I like to think that the dream was a message from our creator -- the very one who created me, and you, and my sweet Camille. He imbued her with a unique personality and her own individual characteristics, and if He cared enough to do that -- if He cared enough to make her so very special and then give her to me to love, I know in my heart that He has provided a place for her beyond this realm. And I trust that I will meet her again, when the time is right.

Until then, goodnight, my sweet little cat. You were a treasure to me.