Our requests were not granted.
Our prayers were answered.
Somehow this is all true.
We did not pray that Flossie would be released from this life. Or, more accurately, I did not pray that way. I am not yet mature enough — and it’s not looking good that I will be, ever, in this lifetime — to pray detachedly for the good of the other, whatever that looks like.
I prayed for Flossie to recover. I prayed for Flossie to live, to stay here, with us, on this plane. I prayed for Flossie to have more time by our side, for time to be on her side.
I don’t presume to know how prayer “works,” much less if it’s fair to speak of prayer “working” at all.
I only know — and I know to my marrow — that somehow our imperfect prayers, even my selfish ones, were somehow answered, more mercifully than we could have meant them. I know that Flossie is somehow in the presence of God. I suspect she, and all cats and other non-human creatures, have a more immediate access to that Presence even before they leave this earth.
I know that some of you reading this don’t think much of prayer. You’re the rational types, seated on the “thoughts” side of the “thoughts and prayers” seesaw. I know that’s OK too. When I hear that you’re “thinking a good thought for” a cat, I tend to believe your thoughts are smelted into prayers, that they reach the divine, that love rather than words are what make such thoughts and prayers holy. None of us knows quite what we’re doing here, so we’d best be merciful with each other as we fumble our way towards grace.
I know love is trembling today. I know this loss hit me harder than I expected. I know that we will remember Flossie until our own final breaths.
I know that we did right by Flossie, answering love’s hardest demands. At 10:00, Floss was fidgety and fixing to escape her oxygen cage to let us pet her. At 11:00, her tiny pink bologna tongue was poking out, her eyes were tired, and all she wanted was to lay still. I know we did right, the terrible right that releases a body from pain and releases a flood of relief and tears and ache that endures.
I know that love is always, always, always answered. We will not hold Flossie again in this life. But we can hold fast to a love that will not let us, or Flossie, or any living being, go.
Keep praying. Keep thinking. Keep loving in whatever way you do, for in so doing you are closest to all who have gone before and all who have yet to come in this litany of love and loss and life beyond death.
Until we meet again, Flossie, I thank you, oh how I thank you.
Thanks to beloved volunteer L.H. for the beautiful photo of Flossie at right.