A few weeks back, I announced our cat Breeze had transitioned into her energy body. It was somber, solemn time for our family. But no one has been affected as much as Eddy. She was Breeze’s daughter and they never spent a day without the other. Ever.
The photo here is one I took the first day they settled into our shop. Eddy was just 6 weeks old and still nursing. To say she loved her mom is an understatement. Everyday of her fifteen years, she was either sleeping with her, grooming her or being groomed by Breeze. So the sad truth that Breeze is no longer in our home has been tough on Eddy. She sleeps a lot and has little interest in interacting with us. For many days, she didn’t eat very much. To watch her is heartbreaking because as hard as we try, it’s just not the same for her, without her soul mate.
I’ve known that animals grieve, but I think there’s a difference between grieving for a member of the pack, and soul mate grieving. Animals live in the moment. And I know she can hear her mama. I know she can see her when she comes to visit. But since she lives in the moment, unlike most humans, I thought she might have a short grieving period and then she’d return to life as she knows it. And I couldn’t have been more wrong. Her pain is visible and there’s simply nothing we can do for her. I’ve tried to greet each day with a cheerful attitude and lots of attention for Eddy. But she’s not interested and acts as if she’s simply waiting for the next part of her day.
At first, she barely partook in her favorite activity: eating. Everyday at 4:00 the girls would roust me from what I was doing in order to have their dinner. We’d had a strict feeding time of 6:00, when they’d be given their treat for the evening. But cats have a way of working you back to when THEY want to eat. (I’m sure I’m not the only one who has experienced this) Eddy would cheerfully meow the longest even though she knew I was preparing their food. She’d also tell me she was simply starving! Unusual for a cat that weighs nearly 16 pounds. And to look at her, you can see she’s well fed. One time in our shop, a customer flat out called her fat. To which she replied “I’m not fat, I’m Eddy!” Animals do understand everything that’s said to them. We need to remember and be careful about that.
Now I sometimes have to drag her out of her quilt nest as late as 9:00 to make sure she has her dinner. She’s slowly starting to request food again, but it’s not in the same exuberant way. You can see the pain in her eyes. I’ve never seen anyone, human or animal struggling as much as she is right now.
I’ve had clients who’ve lost one animal due to age. And if there is another animal who was close to the one who has gone to spirit, it’s not uncommon for the second animal to follow right behind them into the heavens. And I’ve always thought that if Eddy or Breeze walked through the veil, the other would soon follow. It’s more common than we know. Human couples that have been married for many decades have been known to do this too. What is this strange pact we make with one another?
Shortly after Breeze crossed, she popped in one day while I was swimming. She told me I must get another young kitty for Eddy. She said she needed a kitty companion in order to pick up her spirits. So, (this being the last thing I thought I would ever do) we adopted a kitten. Eddy dislikes him intensely. He’s young, he’s a bit on the wild side, and most importantly: he’s not Breeze. There is a slight possibility that the new kitty will make a deal with Breeze and she’ll return and take this body. She would never be a clone of Breeze, but he’d be more familiar to Eddy and she might enjoy her life again. At first, I thought this was exactly what would happen. But now I have pretty severe doubts. After a couple of weeks, Eddy is tolerating him, but he’s not her mom. Not her friend. Not her soul mate. She doesn’t treat him at all like he ever will be. So, as I write this, Eddy is in one room and New Guy is sitting with me.
However, there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that animals grieve. And it’s heart wrenching to watch. The only time Eddy is happy (or her new form of it) is at night when she’s under the covers with me, snuggled in, and talking about Breeze. I found that this brings her the most joy. Telling stories, just the two of us, about her mom. Her best friend. Her other half. We’ve been doing this every night lately. Will Eddy come out of her grief? I don’t know the answer to this. I hope so. But she’s also elderly and you can see the life starting to slip from her eyes. I don’t feel great about the outcome of this at all.
I’ve always known, deep down, that when one of my girls went the other would too. There’s nothing I can do about the outcome either. They may have made a deal before they ever arrived on my doorstep. Before they ever found their bodies. But I gotta say, this sucks. My girls have been such a huge part of my life. Losing one was hard enough. Losing the other is unthinkable.
But if this means that Eddy follows Breeze on her path across the rainbow bridge, I will honor their agreement to always be together.
I simply want Eddy to be happy.