It's a strange thing to hold in your arms a cat that has been with you for 11 or 12 years, while someone injects them with a lethal drug which you know will kill them in the next minute or two. To feel the tension in their body, as they know something is being done to them, and tell them calmly it will be ok. To urge them to relax and feel them slowly slump down. Their eyes looking at you for comfort. To place your hand on their chest and feel the breaths get slower and slower as they lay down, and then one final breath before nothing. I faced this this week in the way that all responsible pet carers do. I say pet carers, as I don't believe you ever own an animal, you are just lucky enough to have it your life, give it love, shelter and care and in return receive the blessings they bring. It was and always is a huge moment of conflict for me, to hold an animal that relies on me for protection, as someone takes their life. Yet, in the case of an animal like Grasshopper who had cancer, had stopped eating and was literally wasting away, it really was the lesser of two evils. He could not understand what was going on, instinctively came to me for protection to help him, and in the end I did the only thing could do to help him, and that was not not let him suffer.
None of this, of course makes it any easier to do nor reflect on afterwards. I think watching something die must be one of the worst experiences you can ever have, and yet it is only by facing this, that we get the reality check of what it means to be alive and how special this is. It is only through loving and losing, that we know how truly lucky we are to feel, breathe and be.
I am trying to look on Grasshoppers passing as the beginning of a period of remembrance and a reminder to appreciate what it means to be alive.