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Procrastinating Death
by Andrew Tuttle
04/17/12
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Another cat.

It seems as though we canít get through one year with losing a pet. This time it was my momís cat. It never gets any easier though. The brother of this cat, Freddie, died in October 2009. Both were given to my parents by my wife when they were kittens Ė hence the attachment. We kept the third brother, Oliver, who took off for greener pastures in 2005. All three are together now since the runaway would, if he survived, be 15 now.

Hannibal died at 1:43 p.m. April 17th. Last year my wife and I personally lost two cats, the year before a dog. Now we have two eight-month old kittens and three 14 year old cats. With all this death happening I wonder every day how much longer I have with the three older ones.

My parents are now experiencing the empty house syndrome after losing their sole pet. I know the feeling well. They are simply not there. Not in the closet. Not under the bed. Not at the food bowl. Nowhere.

It does help to believe your pets are waiting for you just like human loved ones. The Bible says little about the destination of animals a fact that so distraught me that I went and talked with a pastor after my childhood dog Max died. I could not fathom that a dog, a cat or any animal that gives so much love and companionship is not heaven bound. Animals are after all sinless; it was man who screwed it all up. I got the answer I was looking for and it wasnít simply a salve.

Dealing with pet deaths is different when youíre older. Itís so present. The ability to capture the moment so to speak is almost nonexistent as a child. Moments merely pass as a youngster but as an adult, moments can take a life of their own.

The decision on Hannibal likely would have come yesterday but it was my momís birthday. Regardless we kept hoping for some sign of recovery, from the diagnosed kidney disease, all with the intention of procrastinating death. This morning however it was decided that waiting until 5:30 this afternoon was not in the best interest of Hannibal.

Iíve never handled my petís deaths well. February last year when my cat Sweetcheeks died in front of me I was able to empathize with atheists but also concluded that atheists are merely God-haters. They donít really not believe in God they just vocalize their unbelief to get back at God for whatever pain ails them. Then I questioned whether God really answers prayer after the death of Tigger in May.

After our dog Sassy died in 2009 it was so odd to not have her at home I remarked to my wife that I wanted to be where Sassy was. It was similar to when a loved one leaves for an extended time to a faraway place and even though you canít just drop everything and go, the only way to comfort your loss is to imagine being where they are.

Thus, it occurred to me that perhaps loving and losing pets is Godís way of preparing us for our loved oneís deaths and even our own death. Other than my grandparents, I have not lost anyone close to me and I cannot fathom the possibility. Itís unacceptable to me. But so was losing every one of my pets.

I also know (from what I hear as I cannot attest to this) that at some point in life itís no longer desirable to procrastinate death. Reflecting forwards thereby looking back on all the pets that have gone before me and then at some point in life knowing friends and family have all gone, I can see now why older people are ready to go. Itís as if everyone in their lives have taken that long far away trip but thereís only one way to join them. And they are ready to pack their bags and get on that flight.

But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me. ~ 2 Samuel 12:23


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