Memories from March 21, 1997 are simultaneously vivid and surrealistic. Time has perhaps fuzzed the edges a bit, but the impact of what I hesitate to call a near death experience has not lessened. It has colored nearly all my significant choices over the the last near-quarter century in both good and not so good ways. It’s made me who I am today. Until recently I felt that it changed me for the better, but I’m no longer confident of that. Yes, I chose paths I would not otherwise have taken, but I’ve come to realize that I rejected paths that may have been … better? Better for me? Less worse? There can be no way of knowing the road not taken, so ultimately it is a useless exercise to wonder. But this has been my day of reflection for 24 years now, and this is where reflection has led me. In the end, regardless, it’s always my face in the mirror.
In the past twenty-one years I’ve been owned by many good cats. They have lived good lives and then left me behind to explore the mystery we must all someday explore, regardless of species. Each loss compounds the previous losses exponentially. George, Jutta, Midnight, Selkie, Lyta Alexander; When I mourn the latest I mourn them all. It’s been a bad weekend, and I must acknowledge that soon Daisy will join this list. She’s the last of my medically challenged cats, the last to have lived with Selkie (the favorite child of the parent who knows there should be no favorites but cannot help herself). Currently the balance is perfect between giving her a chance to bounce back as she has a dozen times before and acknowledging that I’m being selfish and will hate myself for allowing suffering to progress. I should know which way the balance will tilt by end of today. It is an ironic way to be spending the 24th anniversary of my collapse. Then, others watched for a sign if I would live or die. Today it is my turn to again wait and watch. And hope.