Muffin and the Death Dream
My death dream centers around my family cat Muffin who passed more than a decade ago. Not sure why she is the spirit chosen to remind me of finality but she is. I get to visit with her once a month and sometimes more.
She lived till 16 which is very old for a cat.
Muffin lived through 3 dogs – the largest of which was a Bernese Mountain Dog named Ben who was gentle except when he was defending Muffin, his surrogate mother. Ben was a beautiful and kind dog, the runt. He would pass years later on a Xmas eve in CT but that is another story.
We got Ben just after the hard discussion to give away Muffins litter of six. There were four short hair tabbies like her, one black and one fuzzy kitten. I’ll never forget those kittens rolling down the steps finding their nor the sounds Muffin had made having them. I thought she was dying then but she was just getting started. Anyway, Muffin assumed stewardship of Ben in her litters absence. It was seamless and beautiful and the image of the cat licking the dogs nose will forever be with me.
As for Muffins litter, We never knew the father – that’s the way it goes in the cat world.
Muffin was a unrepentant hunter and she was good. Her trophies were diverse and would be layered out on various stands on our deck sometimes with organs deftly removed with the hands of a surgeon.
The woods behind our house in Columbia MD were deep and in addition to being my playground they were Muffin’s hunting ground. It’s all cloverleaf and highway now and that great forest exists only in my mind.It makes me sad but then I remember that I have it there – all I have to do is close my eyes and I’m there. Lots of great adventures in that house but again another story.
Muffin loved to be scratched. When she visits me in my death dream, I always scratch her. It is usually the one normal part of the setting.
She moved with us from Columbia to Westport and got woods once more.
She kept hunting even when she lost some teeth and some of her claws. Her voice got thin and she would sit most of the day in a shaded room or on the arm of a couch staring outside. Maybe she had memories of that vast world, where she was queen. Where she was a masterful daytime lounger and surely had evaded the frantic paws and eyes of possums and raccoon in the wee hours when the human din was at its lowest. Maybe she had those memories.
Then one morning she walked outside and died in a patch of sunny grass. I was a collage and my mother called me to tell me about Muffin. We were both sad but my mom had been closest with the great cat. Mom always went deep with the animals. Maybe the news that they, my parents, are once again going to get a pet and take a journey far deeper than a commercial could ever imply. Maybe that’s what gave me the strongest death dream yet in the early hours of today. The once that clarified what they were all about.
The death dream is always obscure. We’re unloading a storage unit in a mall trying to beat rush hour in London before the casino closes. That’s weird – and of course I’ve got a big bet to place but other than that, which is true, none of it makes any sense except for the cat. She is there in the room observing us giving us that knowing look that speaks of how fleeting our stresses are. She is there to remind me that she is not gone she is just here now instead in my waking world.
The death dream was so powerful this morning that when I woke from it, my face ran with tears.
Muffin comes to remind me not only of death but of life as well. She freezes my parents at different moments in time for me. She brings me back to a time of wonder and possibility and of learning. I can still see her waiting by the screened door mewing to get in. I see the yard behind her and the fence that my father built. Where he would mow the lawn and be stung by so many bees that he eventually developed an allergy. I’m sure like the woods – the fence and most of the bees are gone now. Muffin frames those moments and bookends phrases of my life from the Columbia explorer to the Westport troublemaker. On mornings like this, she reminds me to live and these tears flowing for the duration of this writing are proof that for the love of a cat and all she taught me and how she visits me today, with dreams of wracking compassion that I am alive.
We have our own cats now – Wolf and Captain.
Posted on April 7, 2014, in Artist Communities, Modern Philosophy, Sustainability and tagged animal love, animal stories, dreaming, lessons on life, life lessons, philosophy, Spirit creature. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.