Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Friday Ramble - Friend


The week's word is friend, and this is a difficult post to write.

Believe it or not, the word friend is about love and peace rather than simple companionship. The Latin word for friend is amicus, and it shares its origins with the verb amo/amare, "to love". The Old English word for friend, frēond, comes from the verb frēon, "to love", and the Germanic root fri means "to love someone" or entertain real affection for someone. Notions of friendship, caring and peace are closely interwoven, and another Germanic word arising from the same root, frithu, means just that - peace. From frithu comes the name of the Teutonic goddess Frigg, goddess of love and thence the name of the sixth day of the week Friday. From frithu also comes the name of Siegfried (meaning "victorious peace"), the dragon-slaying hero of the Volsunga sagas and a central figure in Richard Wagner's magnificent opera cycle, Nibelungenlied, most notably the Siegfried and Gotterdammerung operas.

Ideas of love, friendship, community and peace were central to the beliefs of my father's family who were Quakers or Friends, members of The Religious Society of Friends founded by George Fox. As a young child, I always felt at home whenever I was spending time with Dad's family, and to them I owe my early acquaintance with silence and stillness and connection - that early acquaintance saved my sanity, and it probably saved my life too.

I've probably been quieter here than usual in the last few months and visiting all of you less than I usually do, but love and friendship have been much in my mind, particularly when I am out rambling in early morning with my beautiful darling Cassie. Little Brown Girl is thirteen years of age now, and she has been the dearest of companions since she came to me as a rescue several years ago - she is the living and breathing essence of grace, courage and wisdom, and she is the most unconditionally loving and enlightened being I have ever known.

There have been intermittent signs of ill health for some time, and so, there have been many trips to the veterinarian in the last few months and many tests. Last Friday's tests confirmed the awful unavoidable truth that Cassie's liver is failing, and she probably won't be with me for very much longer. After looking at the test results and arranging palliative medications, I returned home and cried for hours, and I am crying again as I write this out. Cassie is my dearest companion, and I can't imagine life without her. I have to face it though, and so, I have posted the sad news here today. I sit looking at the words on this screen with tears running down my face and trying to accept their painful truth. It hurts, it really hurts, and that too is an integral part of friendship and caring.

Around the pond we go together almost every morning, and our last summer together is something precious beyond words - it is being spun from gold, pure shining priceless gold.

19 comments:

Jeanne said...

*hugs* to you.

It's always hard when you have to accept the mortality of a much loved animal friend. You're never sure if they know what's happening and you feel like such a b*stard, whatever you decide to do. Our we cat Puff died of old age last December. He was 20, and fortunately had never known a sick day in his long life - he was just getting old. Over the last few days, he just slowed down, eating less and sleeping more. We were all around him when he passed to Rainbow Bridge, knowing we will see him there again. His earthly remains now grow a cheery tree.
Be strong, for if we can make the passing of our friend easier, it is the greatest gift we can give and often not one we can afford to give to our more human friends.
Love to you and Cassie and wishes for a long Summer,

Jeanne xxx /|\

PS - we now share our lives with our own Roxie - a young Border Colie Cross rescue dog, who brings us joy we thought we'd never feel again.

Wren said...

Oh, Cate, I'm so sorry about Cassie. I'm sure you'll hear from many people who understand your pain. My own kitty has failing kidneys, and each day I see her slip a little more away from me. Enjoy, nay, revel in, the time you and Cassie have together.

Tess said...

I'm so sorry to hear this and echo what jeanne and Wren have said. I love your own words about this last summer of companionship being spun from shining gold.
Cassie will always be so dear to you.

Wendi said...

I'm so sorry about Cassie's ill health. I totally understand how much a part of your life she is, and how sad it will be to say goodbye. I lost my dear cat, Jordan, after 19 years together, last Spring, and it was the hardest grieving I've ever done. Take care of yourself, and take care of Cassie. Love and good thoughts to you both. :)

joanna said...

Ah, Cate. So much love to you and Cassie. Holding you in my thoughts and prayers.

sorrow11 said...

just a long caring hug...
for you and your friend.

Ernestine said...

Cate, my heart aches for you and I have tears running down my cheeks.
For I once had a companion like yours.
Sam arrived at a friends home one day. We could not find his home.
I was asked if I would take him to my farm and I replied "no way".
But when I saw him and the way he looked at me I knew he was mine.
The way my loss of him came about is a long and painful story.
Most people just look at me when I state that I think this beautiful golden retriever loved me more then anyone in the world has loved me.
Love goes out to you over the miles.

Shelli said...

I'm crying with you. I have never even seen a picture of Cassie (or you), but your words always paint a beautiful picture of the two of you walking into the wilderness. And the image brings me peace. I'm so sorry.

Anonymous said...

Oh my Dear Cate,
I, as well, have tears rolling down and that tight knot in the pit of the stomach. This is sad for you my dear friend, I know how you enjoy your daily ritual walks with Cassie, I have only had the pleasure of meeting her once, and she is beautiful. My prayers are for her to be in a painless ending for the rest of her dear time with you and yours.
Lots of love and hugs to you and Cassie.
Louise

jzr said...

I'm so sorry to hear of the impending loss of your beloved companion. As I write this I have at my feet two small dogs that I love dearly and they feel the same towards me. It seems so unfair that they live such short lives but they bring so much love and pleasure that somehow it is worth it. I am with you in your sorrow and hope that you will find peace and healing in knowing she loves you too.

Shelley said...

Cate, I am holding you in the Light, in the way of Friends.

Mouse said...

It's so hard to have to say goodbye
Letting go, leaving and living without them
namaste

linda said...

I have no wise words...I cry with you...

linda sky

Anonymous said...

Cate, I know your painful realization too freaking well...
I will send you all reiki to help in whichever way is for the highest good for Cassie, and a virtual hug as well.

Lil xo

MLC said...

I am sorry -- dogs remind us of how short life is, it's their only fault really. But they don't fret over their mortality - they spend each life in the present moment living to the fullest. Think about all the beautiful moments in the sun you gave to your friend, and will keep giving.

Janet

Dawn said...

Oh Cate, I am so sorry. Cassie has been blessed with your love and you with hers.
I just lost two old dogs in the span of a month. they lived long lives one 14, one 15 years.
please consider another adult dog that needs a home in your future. I did and life is much more better.
Peace

Anonymous said...

It's hurting us too.

akash

Visual-Voice said...

much metta is being sent your way. i lost my beloved cat, mrs. watson, to liver failure 2 summers ago, and know too well how difficult saying goodbye to such a beloved being can be. You are not alone.

Livia Indica said...

So sorry to hear about your four-legged friend. There are no words to make it better. Just try to hang in there.