The presence of absence

The limits of being human are never quite so obvious as when our loved ones die. Their absence is so pervasive to the point of being its own entity.

A few days back, I sent my beloved kitty into the great beyond and still cry about it. My perspective remains intact: this was a very old cat who had stopped eating and lost the ability to drink water. She was not going to recover and could have lingered for weeks, yowling over her water dish managing only to take a lick or two. I was clinging to her life more than she was, and I still doubt whether I made the right decision to assist her on her way. I would much have preferred that she die of her own accord and, eventually, she would have, but after how much suffering, I don’t know.

Her absence is still very much in residence. Her ghost is here. I glimpse her image out of the corner of my eye as I pass a corner where she slept and on the stairs she would run down to greet me when I came home each day (yes, not your typical aloof cat). These empty spaces are full of her absence. They used to be full of her presence.

If our loving were so strong, I imagine that our connection would supersede death. But, the actual physical connection is severed. My connection with those in my life who have died is in the memories and recreating the feelings in those memories in a bittersweet dance. It is the irretrievable presence that most consumes my misery. It is one thing to be separated while knowing that the other still physically exists. We can retrieve another’s presence in our lives. It is another thing when death is the separator.

Those who have physically died have entered an energy state our human senses cannot always detect. Why this is so, I don’t know. But I believe there must be a life-sustaining reason for it. One of the laws of physics says that energy can neither be created nor destroyed – it only changes form. We don’t know that energy cannot be created. We only know that as humans we cannot create energy. It is the law of our human existence, not necessarily of our energy existence.

In the presence of absence, there are lessons to be learned. Absence itself is an energy that is teaching me to be present in each moment and be mindful of the memory that I am currently creating.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

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6 Responses to “The presence of absence”

  1. holessence Says:

    “It is the irretrievable presence that most consumes my misery.”

    My heart aches for you, Barbara.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      I have learned that we take another’s presence for granted. We expect and believe that they will always be present for us. I was not ready for Magic to die. I am not ready for anyone that I love to die. The only thing I can do is to stay with their presence as long as I can creating memories to sustain me in their absence.

  2. ButterfliesGalore-Kimberly Grady Says:

    Beautiful words and thoughts…straight from the heart my friend.

  3. sandiwhite Says:

    Learning to do with out the presence of a much beloved pet takes time and a certain courage. My little Sheltie, Butch, the best dog in the whole world, is resting under a big rock where my Grandfather’s peaches trees used to grow. Now they have all gone to their respective rewards and the love I felt for each has never diminished. They have only become more of a distilled essence through the years, Butch smarter, the peaches sweeter, and Granddaddy wiser and funnier. Magic will become more magical and you will always love her just as much as you do now.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      I know, Sandi, and thank you so much for understanding. It was 17 years ago that I first took Magic out of the box at the pet shop, but for me, it seems like only yesterday. Those memories are so very present for me. I like the idea that she will grow more magical as time passes.

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