Friday, March 16, 2007

Saana Bella: The gift of love

She and her sister, Marcelle (nee Marcel) arrived in a small purse carried by Sarah B. Together they weighed twelve ounces and both could fit in my small hand at nine days old.
Quickly they grew out of the cardboard box, even more rapidly they, especially Saana, climbed out of the playpen scored from Freecycle. We worried about Atticus's response to the kittens as he has always wanted to be an only child but within hours of a feisty hissing from Saana he was smitten
. First with her but then he took Marcelle under his wing as well.


We swore we were not keeping these babies, denying how in love with them we were. Quickly we forgot the bottle feedings and daily wash load of poopy towels. Atticus made it clear that he believed we got these little beings for him as he watched over them, bathed them and napped draping his gray body around them.


Saana never let TGF dress or undress in peace for every time she bent over Saana jumped on her back leaving her hunched over trying to coax a kitten off her back. She made Wyatt share his snacks by taking the dried chicken strip pieces out of his mouth.

A stuffed miniature dingo came with a kid's meal from one of the fast food places and Saana carried it around in her mouth alternatively like a kitten or her kill, trilling as she roamed the house with it.

Saana reached up on your legs to ask to picked up just as a toddler raises her hands and say "uppie". Impossible to refuse her sweet, pleading eyes. She had taken to asking for morning cuddles with me, going under the covers, resting her head under my chin. With her two front paws she would grab fingers when she wanted to be stroked.

Saana was fearless of everything, life was a banquet of adventure and she wanted to sample all that there was out there. It is hard to be angry at her spirit, even if it was that gusto that caused her death. She was the only one of the cats that had no fear of anything, including cars.

This morning TGF noted that Saana was not around when we went to bed. She had disappeared before and upon her arrival back at home received a stern talking to but it had little long term impact as her absence this morning proved.

"I think I saw Saana under the car." The tone in TGF's voice told me everything but I held onto a whisper of hope. We went out the front door, before crossing the threshold she looked at my feet which were clad in socks and said "You're going like that?" Across the street, under the Purple Beast I saw something and my heart stopped. At the first break in traffic I ran across still hoping against hope that she was saving her energy.

Down on my knees I reached underneath. TGF saw the truth as I reached to touch her fur and returned to the house for a cloth. Sobbing I reached for my girl and held her, there in my shoeless state on the asphalt. TGF came back, draping the pillowcase over her; she carried her back across the street to lay her on the ground below the house steps. She went into the house and I sat on the steps. Gently I lifted my baby into my arms and stroked her fur, tickled at her belly. Her body was stiff but her ears were still soft and malleable, her tail sprung back awkwardly when moved. I talked to her, wondering if we had found her earlier if she would have lived, with the next breath hoping she didn't suffer and that her end came quickly without pain.

When I ran across the street and scooped her up I flashed on an event that happened more than 15 years prior. I was working at a veterinary hospital. Late one night while I was at the front desk a couple ran in - the man was carrying his dog, sobbing uncontrollably. His dog had been hit by a car. Grief enveloped the space and I felt like I could not get enough air in my lungs. I swore while standing there taking information, comforting that I would never let an animal in that deep again. At the time Sybil, my beautiful Turkish Van girl gripped my heart and I swore she would be the last to hold me that tight. For better or worse I have kept my beloved animals at a distance. Few have gotten really deep and I have not expressed deep grieving over their deaths. Scully came the closest and I miss him always.

Until a year ago I had never seen the body of any of my animals when they passed. Living in western Massachusetts they all went off to die, or were taken by a coyote but I never saw it. Never buried an animal. In June 2005, we woke to find one of our foster kittens, Larissa, had died. Tiny, limp body with the softest fur. Robin, another foster, never woke from her spay but I never saw her. Late October, for the first time I had to put an animal down, my beloved Elliott - who had grabbed my heart in that way I swore against. Somehow my heart has become unguarded. I do think it's connected to my relationship with TGF - there is an unguarded quality with her and now it's extending outward. My love for Saana ran through my blood, touching all my cells. It is the same for all the animals, though they each have a special place they tug.

I am not angry about her death but the loss feels uncontainable and inescapable right now. I know that she was enjoying life completely right up until she was hit, that she was in her element - exploring and being fascinated by the world. I do want to know how to tell the universe that I get it, that I cannot be shut off from deep feelings and that the lessons can stop now.

11 comments:

Kelly said...

Oh, Dharma, I'm SO sorry for your loss. She sounds like a wonderful cat and she was adorable. I sometimes get scared and wonder when I look at my two kitties how I will deal with it when their time comes. I don't even want to think about it.

You and TGF and your whole brood are in my thoughts. Take good care.

Shelli said...

I'm So sorry for your loss.

oh my. She received SO much love on this earth from you...

dykewife said...

i'm so sorry for the death of your dear little friend. :( i always think of pets as teachers. mostly they teach love. that's always a really good lesson to reinforce.

Jbeeky said...

Sweetie, I am so sorry. She sounded like an amazing cat and I am real sorry you did not have more time with her. Sounds like you need wine.....

heather said...

my condolances for your sweet saana. i think that "uppie" thing is a surefire way into your heart - pearl does that, too, and it's so adorable i can never resist her. i'm glad you got to have saana for as long as her free spirit would allow - i know you gave her a cozy, loving home.

Brooklynne Michelle said...

Dharma, TGF, and your furry family,

I am soo sorry for your loss, Saana was such a lovely, adorable, cat that terrorized her way into my heart in the little time that I knew her.... I'm here for you all incase you need anything at all, just let me know

Brooklynne

Wendy said...

I am so sorry. They give us so much happiness, but oh it hurts so much when they leave us. After our silly Wallyball left us, I asked myself if it was worth it, and I really don't know, I just know I can't help myself. Some animals won't let us not let them in. Pushy loveable bastahds.

goblinbox said...

Oh damn. I'm so sorry. *hugs*

Bitter Betty said...

Oh, honey. I'm so sorry. It's so hard to lose these special souls. But it looks like you've discovered that once you accept the fact that great love comes with great loss, you can give your heart completely. And know that the return is worth it. Always worth it.

Rae said...

i am so sorry.......
rae

Hannah said...

Oh, that is so completely the suck.
*hugs*