Dearest Soul Sisters and Brothers
My heart is broken and honestly, right now in this moment, I feel as if I am drowning in my sorrow.
We knew Barley was 'getting old', she had a cough and was definitely slowing down but this sudden illness, heart failure, was a shock. She died in our arms of a heart heart attack on Sunday evening.
We are so glad she is now at peace; but miss her in every moment.
Death and grief are not new to me but this feels so much heavier. Whilst I know I need to allow my grief to unfold, there is too a piece about pain and suffering I need to unravel; not my pain and suffering but that which is experienced so often in the last days or hours of life.
I have witnessed three people and two animals die. My grandfather when I was 16 years old. My mother in 2013 and my father in 2016. Our family cat Dylan in 2011 and now our beloved Barley. Each took a time that felt long, protracted, endless actually, although of course, ultimately it wasn't.
My cat had a painful death, so did Barley and I had sworn that I would not let Barley suffer in the way Dylan did. What I have learnt is, that death is as uncontrolable and as unpredictable as life. I wanted her to die peacefuly in her sleep, no pain. I wanted the vet to come out and put her to sleep at home, but it was the weekend. The emergency vets don't do home visits, because of Covid, they told us. They were in Carmarthen, Barley couldn't walk, we couldn't, didn't want to lift her, put her in the car for half an hour to take her to a strange place and possibly not be allowed to be with her.
We chose to stay at home and hold space for her, to comfort her as best we could.
Was this the 'wrong' choice, given that her last hours were terrible and her last minutes unspeakable?
Was it the 'right' choice because she was held with love, died with us, at home?
These are the questions I am asking myself because I think there is a deeper exploration about what has been modelled to me about Death, what I have taken on as a Truth that in reality does not serve me or perhaps is simply not my Truth.
I looked through some recent photo's of Barley just before sitting to write and explore my feelings with you. I was able to smile and laugh, to connect to her beautiful Soul, her pure joy and love.
She is buried now, down by the bank overlooking the stream. Each morning, she and I would go down there and meditate together. She taught me to be still, to take time to feel the sun or the breeze, to smell the air. She would push her nose into the Earth, roll onto to her back and luxuriate in her sheer delight in being alive.
She was a wise and wonderful friend.
I miss her.