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Author Topic: We now to peace and darkness
ak
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Speaking for Brando, April 2, 1992 August 26, 2003

When he was only a week old, he was already the biggest and boldest of his litter of four siblings. At four weeks he lay in my hand while I stroked him and spoke to him softly, telling him the life story of the wonderful Brando, most special and favored of all kittens. He listened and I believe he understood. Certainly he always knew himself to be favored and blessed above the ordinary cat.

Son of the valiant Mouse and the formidible tom Rasilon, he was taught young by his mother to be shy of the big folk, of the humans, with their loud voices and clumsy feet. Yet he understood many things better than did his wildish dam, knew that his destiny lay somehow with these large strange people. He never feared them, but always felt instead that he belonged with them, and was one of them.

He was the brave one, who would greet strangers and not run away even from the prodding and impertinent Dr. George. He set things to rights in his domain. If more food was needed he did not hesitate to tell me, who was after all his human, and to insist that everything be as it should. If I slept too late on weekends, he would wake me, refusing to take no, even if he had to extend a paw and delicately touch my nose or lip with a single needle sharp claw. He would never injure me, though, or not on purpose. He knew how to treat his human, that she responded best to liberal affection tempered with only the lightest of disciplinary touches.

He never was let outside very often, but would occasionally dash out between someone's feet, if they perhaps lingered too long in the doorway, and on these occasions he liked to run around the house, meowing that he would be fine, just fine, to let him be. He would then listen with impatience to my lecture telling all the reasons why we were indoor cats, yet eventually he understood, as he always did, everything I said to him, and knew it was truly important and real, those things I was saying about coyotes and cars, and so he let himself be caught and held and petted and brought back inside.

He preferred the comfort of the indoors, to tell the truth. He liked a nicely air conditioned room in the summertime, and enjoyed lying on the cool tiles of the bathroom floor, within easy reach of his litter box and his fancy feast, his comfortable chairs, and in sight of the sliding glass door beyond which the birds and squirrels and chipmunks scratched all day at their feeders. He would watch them for hours, endlessly fascinated, and only occasionally lose his head in the thrill of the hunt, and forget the invisible barrier between them until he dashed forward for that final devastating pounce and felt the startling knock, shook his head, and then came back to himself and remembered.

He was proud and content to accept little affection, only really showing his deep attachment to me when he was hungry, or if he happened to feel ill. He DID feel ill, as it turned out, quite a lot, from the time he was around six years old. His fur which had never been as glossy as his sister's, became dull and choppy. His appetite was voracious but he began losing weight. Dr. George eventually told us he was diabetic, and he stayed on pills for a year, then insulin shots ever after.

When he was eight he quit eating once and got into desperate circumstances, into ketotic acidosis. His liver, intestines, and pancreas all tended to become inflamed, making him nauseated and putting him off his food. Not able to take his blood sugar every few hours as a human would, we had no way to regulate his insulin dose correctly. So on that occasion he quit eating altogether and prepared to die. I didn't let him do that then. I force fed him every two hours from early morning to late evening for four long days. Sometime during those hours and hours of being held and coaxed and kissed and fed and wiped, he came back to himself and realized that I really loved him, that I wasn't yet ready to let him go. He knew then that he loved me too and wanted to stay with me for another while. Finally one morning he walked in and asked for something to eat. I cheered and fed him his favorite food then, and held him and cuddled him and stroked him over and over. That's when we knew we had made it through. His liver regenerated, after that, and began to work again at total efficiency. Dr. George said they don't do that. His intestines again grew sound. He was my miracle baby.

He who was so fearless welcomed newcomers into our home. Drive By, first, then Heidi, both of whom loved him and played with him and licked him and curled up with him to sleep. He was big and easy and gentle and so he became by them much beloved.

This summer he began to lose weight again, and to come to me often to tell me he felt poorly. All the tests we did showed no cause, yet he began a slow decline. A few weeks ago he quit coming upstairs to tell me he was hungry. I began taking food down to him morning and night, to where he lay on his workbench in the cool and the dark, sleeping. All the changes in his meds we tried made no matter. He kept losing weight getting weaker and sicker, his breathing became labored, his heartbeat weak and rapid. I fed him custard style yogurt from a spoon today until he would eat no more. That is what they eat in cat heaven, so he filled his belly full before he left me for there. Today Dr. George gave him a shot of narcotic to make him woozy and feel no pain. After that took effect he gave him another shot in his vein to stop his heart. I buried him a while ago in my backyard. His ghost joins that of Kitty and Sparkle, two other beloved cats who died here, and that of my dad.

To thee that from thy mansion
Through time and place to roam
Dost send abroad they children
And then dost call them home,

That men and tribes and nations
And all thy hand hath made
May shelter them from sunshine
In thine eternal shade,

We now to peace, and darkness,
And earth, and thee restore
Thy creature that thou madest
And wilt cast forth no more.

Brando died today. He was 11 years old. He was a wonderful cat. I will miss him sorely.

[ August 31, 2003, 04:56 PM: Message edited by: ak ]

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BannaOj
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(((ak)))
[Cry]
your eulogy brought tears to my eyes.

AJ

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ludosti
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(((ak))) That was beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes thinking of the dear creatures in my life who have left and those that I know will someday leave.

(((Brando)))God speed on your new journey!

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Christy
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Oh! How sad. Poor little baby, I can't even imagine. He was a very brave kitty and well loved.

I'm so sorry anne kate!

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Kayla
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[Frown]
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Dan_raven
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That was one lucky cat to have you as its human.

Brando, I did not know you, but now I will miss you.

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Jaiden
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(((((Anne Kate)))))

[Cry] [Frown] [Cry]

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Storm Saxon
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Brando sounds like a great cat. You were lucky to have each other.

((((ak))))

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kwsni
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((hugs sis))

Wow this hits close to home. My kitty is diabetic, too, we've been giving her shots for a couple months now.

Ni!

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Annie
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((((ak))))

((((Brando's little spirit))))

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Ralphie
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<--- unabashed cat lover.

[Cry]

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Yozhik
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Animals don't live long enough. They just don't.
:sad for AK:
:glad that our religion believes that animals go to heaven:

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dannyXcore
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(((((ak)))))
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amira tharani
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*hugs aka* I shall miss Brando.
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KEGE
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ak - my heartfelt condolences to you and the rest of Brando's family.
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Noemon
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((Anne Kate))

((Brando))

I'm so sorry Anne Kate. Brando couldn't have had a better human.

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Boon
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[Frown] [Cry]
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Ryuko
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(((((((((ak))))))))))

((((((((((((Brando)))))))))))

[Frown]

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KarlEd
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[Cry] [Frown]

<-- is a work and now desperately wants to go home and hug his cats.

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ak
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<<<<<<<<everyone>>>>>>>> Thank you.

I talked to Saudade last night to tell her that her brother died. She's always called my cats her siblings. She said he must have chosen yesterday to go because of Mars being closest. I remembered how the snake helped the little prince travel back to his asteroid, and maybe she's right. Maybe his little body is already gone from inside the grave. I'm so lucky to have all you guys. You are such a wonderful family to me. Thank you.

[ August 27, 2003, 09:32 AM: Message edited by: ak ]

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ginette
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(((Anne Kate)))
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twinky
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It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.

(((((ak))))

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AndrewR
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I never knew Brando, but I miss him all ready.

I'm glad you had the chance to love him.

(((ak))))

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Olivet
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I know the hole that the death of a beloved feline can leave, ak, and I hope that the love and wishes of your Hatrack family have helped ease your sorrow. [Frown] [Cry] [Group Hug]
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ak
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<<<twinky>>>
<<<ginette>>>
<<<Olivet>>>
<<<AndrewR>>>
<<<TAK>>>
<<<KarlEd>>>
<<<Abby>>>
<<<Boon>>>
<<<amira>>>
<<<KEGE>>>
<<<Noemon>>>
<<<dannyXcore>>>
<<<Yozh>>>
<<<Morgan>>>
<<<Stormy>>>
<<<kwsni>>>
<<<Dan Raven>>>
<<<kayla>>>
<<<Christy>>>
<<<lusti>>>
<<<Jaiden>>>
<<<AJ>>>
<<<Ralphie>>>

Thank you all so much. It means a whole lot that you understand. I love you guys!

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The Rabbit
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Anne Kate,

I am so sorry. I can't help but wonder to what extent Brando's illness was behind the questions you posed on suicide. I do believe that animals sometimes choose to die. Perhaps there are times when their biochemistry simply tells them that their bodies will not heal and it is time to stop competing with their brothers and sisters for life. Of course, their bodies can not comprehend modern medicine so perhaps in a modern world a cat will choose the wrong course.

I suppose that if there is no realistic chance of healing, suicide might be called a rational alternative. But rational does not always mean right.

[ August 27, 2003, 09:58 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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ak
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<<<Rabbit>>>

He didn't choose that, I don't think. Brando loved me a lot and trusted me to be able to make him better. He enjoyed the yogurt a bunch, and came and bumped his head on my face to tell me he loved me and that he was feeling really awful. He lay down and put his head in the palm of my hand and purred. He was thank goodness not feeling that way at all. But he was getting pulmonary edema and beginning to have to fight for breath. Dr. George said there was not any way to make his quality of life decent again, and that drowning is a terrible and terrifying way to die. That's why we went ahead and let him go.

It's almost harder on Dr. George to do this than it is me. He loves them so much and has such empathy for them. He has cat-telepathy and can feel just what they are feeling. So I let him make the call since I trust him totally. He feels the same way about his animals that I do about mine, that they are our children.

Brando did want to die that time a few years ago. He wanted me to leave him alone and not force him to eat and stuff. But not this time.

His death did contribute to my sorrow and anguish lately. That's how he came into the suicide thread. You can't watch your child die without second guessing everything you've ever done for them and with them, without wondering if you loved them enough, and took good enough care of them while they were with you.

[ August 31, 2003, 04:56 PM: Message edited by: ak ]

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Raia
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[Cry] [Cry] [Cry]

Aww, ak!!! (((((((((((((((((((((((((ak))))))))))))))))))))))))

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Ryuko
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Drowning would be a terrible way to die... OH AK... ;_; (cry)

(((((((some more hugs))))))

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ak
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<<<<<Raia>>>>>>
<<<<<Ryuko>>>>>

I miss him so much! I can't believe he doesn't need me to look after him and care for him now. I feel empty, in a way, and lost, because there's nothing anymore I have to do. He doesn't need his shots twice a day or his pills or his canned food. I don't need to coax him to eat or remind him how much he means to me anymore. He's just gone.

Wow, it seems like the more effort you spend taking care of someone, the more work it is for you, the stronger your attachment to them grows. If you want to love someone then render them continual loving service. That is how they come to be truly part of your heart forever. [Cry]

Do you ever wonder if you're strong enough to keep on loving people who go away?

[ August 28, 2003, 04:54 PM: Message edited by: ak ]

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rivka
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(((((ak)))))

In Hebrew, the root of the word love "ahava," is "hav" to give. The more you give to another, the more you love them. It says something special about you, that you gave so much, and that a lot of what you seem to miss is the giving to another.

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Ryuko
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Ak, I'm wondering that right now.

I only had my cat for two years, but we clicked... And when he was hit by a car, it killed me. I still miss him, even after four years.

"...some people say they have a feeling of something missing. You'll keep looking around for something, something you were looking for, but you can't find it, and you can't remember what it was..."

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ClaudiaTherese
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Anne Kate, what adifficult time this must be. And for months afterward, I think we're destined to think of our loved one, and then suddenly remember all over again.

((((ak))))

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advice for robots
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((ak))

I am sure that he came strutting up the path and that God knelt down at the doorstep and welcomed him home.

This brings tears to my eyes. I lost my cat Annabelle when I was 18 and she was 17. I'd known her all my life. That was a hard time. I hope to see her again.

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ludosti
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((((ak))))

I know this is a difficult ordeal to go through. Having someone we dearly love leave us can cause a lot of soul searching, emptiness, and pain. I guess the only thing that makes it bearable is that it lessens over time. The pain of having to put my beloved Maxx to sleep 2 years ago is still quite fresh when I think about the experience. But the pain is less now than it was then. I can think about the fun times I had with him and no longer bawl. I can laugh about the silly things we did. Eventually, the sweet will outway the bitter.

I guess that is why they say that love is painful - we emotionally invest ourselves when we love someone. The more we invest, the greater the possible pain. I think that we must be somehow subconsciously programmed to forget pain over time, otherwise we would never be able to love, having once lost.

[Group Hug]

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