They say the eyes are the seat of the soul. I think it’s true. When you look deep into someone’s eyes you can see if their soul has been damaged. You can tell if there’s something a little bit off about a person by looking into their eyes. Animals are no different but generally speaking, an animal’s eyes show you their vitality, their spunk, and their determination. It’s all there if you just look.
Age is a bitch and as you age things start to go. Carmy, our 19-year-old cat, had recently started to have some things beginning to fail, but we had no idea her kidneys were one of them. At 19, she was considered a geriatric cat for quite a while but the only way you would know it was because she could no longer jump. In fact, Carm hadn’t been able to jump for probably six or seven years.
When her jumping ability first went, Alicia would bring her to bed and she would nestle herself into Alicia’s hair and her pillow and there she would snore until sunrise. At some point over the last two years, she no longer wanted to stay in bed. She would find her way back down to the floor and find herself a nice comfortable place to sleep. usually the bathroom rug. God, she loved that bathroom rug.
As the days passed and we lived our lives, Carmy grew older. Sometimes missing the side of the litter box altogether and peeing on the floor from the inside of the box. She was so good, she always got herself into that box. Who can be mad when she made the effort to get there? She was never senile, she always knew exactly what was going on. She was the President of the food comity. When the cats needed to be fed, she was the first to let you know. She would waltz right into my office and stand beside my desk and meow giving me a look like, it’s time for us to eat. You just knew that’s what she wanted. She always had a way of letting you know exactly what she wanted.
One day, Alicia and I turned around and Carmy was nearly 19. We always thought she was a bit younger but we found digital pics in Alicia’s files and sure enough, the date stamp said she was an old lady. Carmy had recovered several times from different ailments over the years, so when she was having a hard time walking and lost some weight we assumed it was arthritis. We took her to the vet to confirm and he gave us the news, “I’m not going to be the hero today, I’m sorry.” She had lost two pounds in a month and she just wasn’t her same sassy self. We forewent the blood work for the doctor’s expertise. It was kidney failure and he just could not tell us how long she had left. I knew in my heart it wouldn’t long, two pounds in one month was not sustainable. Alicia and I came to accept the inevitable had finally come to visit us.
We took her to the vet on Tuesday and by Labor Day Monday, eating was no longer something she wanted to partake in. We had been syringe feeding her for a week and she was fine with it but come Labor Day afternoon, she was done. We knew. We knew in our hearts what was going to take place. We offered her food and water and appealed to her recently acquired taste for watermelon juice, but nothing tempted her. At that point, we knew it was time to get her to the vet and help her ease into the next chapter of her soul’s journey.
By nightfall, we had placed her in the bedroom closet which she had escaped to from time to time over the past week and put her carrier close by. At some point, she made it halfway into her carrier. Trying to make her more comfortable we laid her on a towel on our bedroom floor, praying she would either go peacefully or let us help her into the light.
At 5:45 am I woke with a start. I heard what I knew had to be Carmy and Alicia calling my name. I jumped out of bed to find our beautiful Carmy beginning to make her way to the other side of the rainbow bridge. Alicia had gotten up to check on her; she cleaned her nose, picked her up and looked into her eyes, and held her close … just then, Carmy began to let go. As Alicia placed her back on the towel and I made it to the bottom of the bed we watched for the first time, a living, beautiful being let go of life. As she let go her legs began to move as though she were running, running to something, and then she was gone.
I looked into her eyes and it was like someone had turned off the lights. Her eyes said all I needed to know, they were lifeless, and her spirit, her soul had moved on. The eyes really are the seat of the soul, and when the soul leaves, the light in the eyes leaves. Yes, the pupils dilate at death but this is different and if you’d ever seen it, you’d know. We sat there in disbelief at what we had witnessed and prayed that her journey was swift and she was in the loving light of whatever comes next.
The past couple of days have been pretty rough. Alicia and I have really had a hard time dealing with losing her. This morning I woke up early and went for a jog. As I walked back up my road I said a little prayer, “God, I don’t know where she is but I pray that she is happy.” A few seconds later a flock of green parrots caught my attention as they flew across the sky, squawking and flapping their way along, and as I followed their path my eyes fell upon a rainbow that I hadn’t noticed. That was all I needed to see, she is happy, at peace, and in the loving care of a greater power. Now if we could just get used to not having her here, that would be great.
By Shelly Allen (on behalf of Carmy’s true Mom, Alicia)
If you want to know animals affect us deeply, click here to take a look at this article next…