Fiona writes: It’s been a hard few days since our cat Silver was killed by a car on the road outside our house. I’ve been interested in the grief process as it unfolds, and listening out for the messages it might be bringing me.
Something that has struck me very strongly is that the most painful loss is not what I GOT from Silver, but what I was able to GIVE AND SEE APPRECIATED.
I don’t miss her warmth or the softness of her fur or anything she was able to offer me.
I miss her squinty-eye cat smile whenever I smiled at her. I miss watching her roll and roll in the sun in obvious ecstasy. I miss her deep purr as I scratched behind her ear and rubbed her belly. I feel the awful gaps the most when I know that I can’t give her any more pleasure, ever.
These thoughts remind me of the premise in David Brazier’s book, “Love and its Disappointment“:
“…the proposal is that a, perhaps the, basic drive in human beings is the urge to love, and therefore to esteem, others inasmuch as they become significant to one. [...] Insofar as there is failure, the other may be perceived as unlovable.”
GIVING love is more important to us than receiving it. We want to FEEL OUR LOVE RECEIVED.
“What is most lovable in a person is their own lovingness.”
What was most lovable about Silver was her ability to receive my love and beam it back at me. Once installed on a lap, she’d stay there all day if you’d have her. If (after some time) you stopped stroking her, she’d look up at you with her eyes full of love and entreat you to keep on going. She was full to the brim of lovingness.
“If we come to esteem all the little things of daily life, we shall have a vibrant loving life.”
I can’t give Silver any more pleasure, but I can continue trying to esteem all the little things in my daily life. Fatty is still here (and as greedy-for-love as ever). This blue and white china mug, carefully holding my earl grey. Those blowsy pink-and-orange roses in all their glory. You and your kindnesses, readers.
Our love will be disappointed. People die. People fail to receive our love in a million different ways.
This can’t stop us loving them.
PS Registration for our month-long e-courses The Art of Paying Attention and Writing as Spiritual Practice opens today and closes when we have 12 participants on each course or on Friday the 1st of Sep 5pm GMT, whichever happens first. If you’re considering taking a course let us know if you’d like to speak to a current participant or if you’d like to talk through your questions with us.
PPS The photo is of a heart-shaped pattern of hand-dried rose petals that our friend Caroline left on our bed for us in France when we’d just got together. Caroline dreamed of Silver last night. She was doing a happy dance, John Travolta-style, with her little paw in the air, triumphant that she wasn’t really dead after all. Caroline wondered if it might be a message for us. I love the idea of her dancing a funky dance, somewhere.
PPPS My current course participants (on WOA) are writing love letters this week – to their sisters, their dogs, their kitchens. This is my love letter to you.