today is a good day to die

Before the Battle of Little Bighorn, Lakota warrior Crazy Horse purportedly said, “today is a good day to die.”

Today was a good day for Sweet Sox to die, on Buddha Day, the day that honors The Awakened One’s birth, enlightenment, and death. It is a full moon and the weather could not have been any more beautiful.

It was interesting how my mind worked back to the first spirituality I began to study intensely all those years ago as a young seeker starting on my path.

After writing the last post Sox deteriorated rapidly last night. He could barely walk. I made him as comfortable as possible. He would not eat or drink. I tried to hand feed him and dribbled water into his mouth.

This morning I got up at at 5 AM and sat with him until my husband came home from his second office, a three hour drive away. I sat for four hours chanting OM MANI PADME HUM using my mala made from bodhi tree seeds and reading the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.

I took Sweet Sox outside so he could feel the grass one last time. He hobbled around and laid down every few feet, closing his eyes. I picked him up and walked around the Buddha head three times chanting OM MANI PADME HUM. What is never born can never die.

We went to the vet and it was done. He only weighed 5 pounds. She told me his intestines felt thick and hard, filled with tumors. Just as with Jack the Yogi Cat, I stroked him and chanted OM MANI PADME HUM, asking all the Enlightened Ones to protect him on his journey. Just as with Jackie, all the strain left his face and he looked like a kitten again. The vet and the vet tech cried along with us.

I hope for his fortunate rebirth into a higher realm.

From the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying:

“…we catch glimpses of the vast implications behind the truth of impermanence….Inspired and exhilarated by this emergence into a new dimension of freedom, we come to uncover a depth of peace, joy, and confidence in ourselves that fills us with wonder, and breeds in us gradually a certainty that there is in us ‘something’ that nothing destroys, that nothing alters, and that cannot die. Milarepa wrote:

In horror of death, I took to the mountains –
Again and again I meditated on the uncertainty of the hour of death,
Capturing the fortress of the deathless unending nature of mind.
Now all fear of death is over and done.

Gradually then we become aware in ourselves of the calm and sky-like presence of what Milarepa calls the deathless and unending nature of mind. And as this new awareness begins to become vivid and almost unbroken, there occurs what the Upanishads call ‘a turning about in the seat of consciousness,’ a personal, utterly non-conceptual revelation of that we are, why we are here, and how we should act, which amounts in the end to nothing less than a new life, a new birth, almost, you could say, a resurrection.”

Today was a good day to die.

15 thoughts on “today is a good day to die

  1. Oh Linda, this post made me cry. What lucky kitties Jack and Sox were, to have found a good yogi home. It's clear how much you love your animal companions, and your compassion in making Sox's transition as pleasant as you could for him is just beautiful.

    I really believe that animals enjoy chanting. My kitty Miss Cleo always comes to sit near me whenever I chant and a friend of mine's little dog loves it also. I'm sure it was very soothing for Sox. May his next incarnation be a great one!

    And I am so sorry for your loss. xo

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  2. For weeks on end, when Jobie was deteriorating so slowly, I would sit with him and do rosary after rosary.

    Regardless of the tradition, it helps us, doesn't it, to stay focused ON THEM. This is their passing…

    I am so sorry, Linda.

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  3. Linda,

    Thanks for sharing this post – it was beautifuly heart-wrenching, but I remind myself that his soul must have found his way to you for a reason.

    I'm very sorry for your loss.

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  4. Crying, too!

    Life is death and death is life. It's all part of the great wheel.

    But that doesn't make it hurt any less to lose someone we love.

    I love the image of your sweet cat's face becoming light and free again at the moment of passing from this place to the next one. Yes, I believe every soul continues and it's beautiful to see a physical evidence of that purity of soul that goes on.

    May Sox live a thousand happy lives on his journey homeward.

    :*(

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  5. Sorry about your loss, Linda and svasti is right – they were definitely lucky to have found a home with you. It sounds like you had a beautiful relationship with Sox ❤

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  6. Hey dear, i'm sorry for your loss.
    It was good that you could be with him in his last moments, and not here in Brazil.

    Buddhism helps us understand these moments.
    I'm deeply in love with this way of life.
    Thank's for being an inspiration for me.

    Be in Peace.
    F

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  7. Dear Linda, This is such a loving honoring to your Sweet Sox. Your recognition of it as a beautiful day to die has truly made it so. These magnificent four legged teachers are such a privilege and blessing to have in our lives, aren't they?
    Thank you for coming by to visit my blog, via Svasti. It's good to meet you, and I wish you much peace as you go through your loss, Karin

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  8. Angela

    I'm sorry for your loss Linda – Sox sounds quite a cat. I don't know how he got on with your dog? But for some reason, as I was reading your post, it made me think of Billy Collin's wonderful poem Dharma about a dog and a cat and living life unencumbered (see here: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/7844/)
    Sending much metta to you and your animal companions
    Angela

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  9. thank you for sharing such a precious time so profoundly… we have two elder sister cats… your words resonated so deeply within my being… sox was very lucky to receive your love and compassion in the way that you expressed it… i am crying, too… XO

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  10. dear Linda, thank you for guiding me to your journey with Sweet Sox. such an experience of unconditional love our furry companions provide – and the honor of being with them during that trip over the rainbow. your chanting sounds so peaceful, calming and wise.

    It's been amazing – Zana has really rallied since i posted. She's been eating and drinking on her own again, following my husband and i around… i think everyone's good thoughts and prayers have reenergized and strengthened the sweet old girl, but i know it's just a matter of time. i feel we are fortunate – our vet will come to our home, so i have her cell phone number for when the time comes. i'm sure zana will make that clear to us, as your sweet sox did.
    here's to the happiest memories of our friends passed. xxoo

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