My intuitive healer and friend Brauna came to my house yesterday after being out of town for a few weeks. She walked in, took one look at Clarence and said he was tired, he couldn’t do it anymore. She had been receiving messages about him for awhile. It’s not that I was in denial. Or maybe I was. Ignoring portentous signs is easier than reality. I was doing everything I thought would help and to save my grey, brave cub. Between the western vet and the holistic vet, I was giving Clarence medicine for constipation and anti-biotics for elevated white blood cells and Anemia. I had been giving Clarence ocean plasma for six days. In front of Brauna, he literally cried out when I gave him his final shot. No more. I put my head down on the counter and cried that the injection made him cry out. He cried, then she cried and I cried. These photos were taken of him last night and this morning, before he left us.
Yesterday Brauna drove us to the first vet to have an enema administered since it had been days for Clarence. We were told Clarence needed a scan because something else was wrong. She said to call Roger Valentine; the holistic vet. Across Topanga Canyon we went, this time with Clarence in my arms as Brauna drove. He was calm and moved very little. It was a relief to not be driving alone with Clarence as my emotions were heavy. Brauna was familiar with me crashing my car once before when I drive with upset. She wasn’t taking any chances. She understands my fragility.
Roger inserted a large needle into Clarence’s swollen belly. Nothing. Flipping him over, he cried out in pain. The unwanted fluid seeped out which would enable Roger to find out the problem immediately instead of having to wait for a scan. Roger was shocked at how much Clarence’s belly had protruded in a week. He had rarely seen it progress this quickly.
Clarence had a tumor, his liver was mottled and had grown in size. It’s no wonder he was so hungry, thirsty and having troubles going to the bathroom. My eyes filled with tears as I listened to him tell me it’s time to let him go. “A tumor”? I kept repeating in my mind. “I thought he’d have another year”. It wasn’t sinking in fast enough. “The fluid will come back tomorrow” Roger said. He rubbed a little marijuana paste on my jupiter finger to rub on Clarence’s gums so he would settle back home. He wasn’t sure Clarence would make the night. Brauna and I both knew he would.
Clarence had more turkey breast and cold filtered water back at home. We opened up two more cans of canned tuna and salmon. We stayed up with him for hours until it was time to try to sleep. It was a fitful night with no rest for either of us. All the useless thoughts going through my mind of if only I had known he had a tumor two weeks ago and how sorry I was that the last shot caused him to cry out. It’s as if Clarence went along for two weeks with all I was doing out of love and care. He knew I was trying to help him. He knew I wasn’t ready for him to leave me. When Brauna walked through our front door, he was relieved to see her and he cried “no more”.
She texted me in the middle of the night “Ask Michael Jackson to step back into the light when it’s time and sweep Clarence up in his arms”. She came back in the morning after we each had an hour of sleep. More tuna, salmon and unquenchable thirst. My boy cub wasn’t getting nutrition because the cancerous tumor was shutting down his functions.
In the front door at seven thirty in the morning before she went to work, Victoria brought him ahi tuna, which he tore to shreds. She lit a special candle with a painting of a horse, bull, sheep, lion bear and tiger to guide his way. She’s known him since the day he came home sixteen years, six months ago. Her goodbye to him was filled with anguish as my sister knocked at the front door with hugs, love and support.
I walked slowly down the hallway to my bedroom with Clarence in my arms as if walking slower would give me just a moment longer with him. Brauna was right beside me as I walked, taking on my suffering.
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace”. I began to pray in my bedroom with Clarence in my arms to which Brauna joined in. I have been saying St. Francis of Assisi’s prayer every night for years. I didn’t know she said it daily. Together we continued “where there is darkness, light” and “for it is in giving that we receive, for it is in dying, that we are born to eternal life”
Roger, Brauna and I were in my bedroom where we layed him in front of the fireplace on the pink towel I used to wrap him in for vet visits with the burning animal candle on the mantle. One injection into his leg to anesthesize him. His green eyes were wide open, his heart rate slowing down and I couldn’t contain my sadness and grief.
“Run with the wind my brave cub” I told him gently as I kissed him over and over on his face near his left ear. Brauna held the space for me, for him and for us. Her presence soothed me and Clarence felt that. He knows we love each other. I held onto Clarence, with my left hand, I held onto her foot with my right hand as she held him with her right hand and we were all connected. She’s done this transition work for so many people and cherished pets. Her compassion, empathy and assurance of him going to a place where he was no longer in pain helped me to allow him his transition. Roger okayed the final shot with me. “It’s the last shot Clarence ” I promised him with a whisper into his ear. As the final needle was placed in Clarence, I felt searing pain throughout every part of me. Clarence’s breath was even slower. Roger left the three of us in the space alone. When he returned Brauna, sitting on the floor, looked up at Roger and said “he still has a heart beat”. Once again Roger repeats “I have rarely seen this”. Clarence wasn’t fully letting go.”I’ll be okay, Clarence”. I assured him. “Let go”. I know he sensed my difficulty. He finally let go. I finally let go.
Brauna stayed and helped me remove his self-contained village, his litter box, food and medicines. Even The Lion King mat I bought for him over ten years ago was thrown out. His energy was everywhere in the house. “It is important to let the material reminders go” she gently reminded me.
Where I used to hear his familiar cry asking for running water in the bathroom or more au juice from the wet mushy canned tuna, there is not a peep. He loved Fatburger’s hamburger with cheese medium rare and sour cream.What I wouldn’t give to find a trail of cat litter that he used to leave behind only in the last year. I’ve never felt alone in this home when he was here. His presence was powerful. He held the space with love.
Clarence was a love machine. He never tired of the love I gave him and that he gave back. He shined it right back to me.The silence in my house is shattering but I am feeling a sense of relief knowing my grey, brave cub isn’t putting up a gutsy show anymore. My grief is in stages where it overwhelms me.
Brauna said “Clarence is helping me. I’m trying to be more human. I spent a lifetime trying to be spiritual.” I suffered from a childhood of lack of safety. There wasn’t a childhood of constant loving. She continued “This soul of Clarence 24/7 did nothing but love and accept you. He was a constant source of loving. To lose that right now, which is all we have is right now, is big.” Brauna reminded me we have to go through this because steps of grief are how you can climb in peaks of joy. Clarence said to me “I’m here to love you. Let’s have at it.” He was my greatest teacher. Clarence didn’t judge. He let me be who I am which is sometimes a bottomless pit of need and love.
I keep looking for him. I feel like he’s going to pop his head around the corner and ask for a Party Mix tuna treat. Brauna said he’s resting with the angels before he goes on his next adventure. Now I understand why I gave him the grey, brave cub endearment the day I met him sixteen years ago. We’ll never forget a moment of unbelievable clarity- “I’m done.”