Halloween is more than costumes and candy. Wiccans view Samhain (Halloween) as the end of the witch’s year, and a new year is always a good time to start fresh and let go of the past. It’s also considered the date when the veil between this world and the next is the thinnest. In other cultures, Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1, and it’s a time for honoring family members no longer with us.
So this Halloween I will be saying goodbye to my beloved Josephine, a cat who has been with me for more than 15 years. She passed away in her sleep Friday night. Although she had been receiving treatment for a variety of age-related diseases, it was a shock for my husband and I to lose her so suddenly. Up until the end, she remained a happy, playful, sweet girl.
She loved a warm sunbeam, her catnip-stuffed mouse toys, and bites of pork from an order of pad Thai. Christmas was her favorite time of year – “helping” wrap presents and laying under the tree. I’ll never forget her meeting her younger sisters for the first time with an authoritative hiss and swat, always the head cat in our house! Everyone who met her loved her (even her be-swatted sisters), and she loved to greet new people, more than happy to apply cat hair to their legs, coats, or purses.
Today I thought I heard her singing - she had this special meow she used when she was playing with her favorite toys. It didn’t strike me at first that the sound was out of place, but then I remembered. I hope it wasn’t wishful “hearing.” I would like to think it was her way of letting me know she was okay before moving on.
It’s heartbreaking to say goodbye to her. But I see her in my mind in the Summerland, soaking up the sun with her older sister, Madison, and… well, to be honest, I’m not entirely comforted. I’ll probably go through a ton more tissues and I’ll mistake every black shadow or dark piece of clothing as her for quite some time. But I do know it’ll get easier eventually. I was lucky to have so much time with her and so many happy memories.
Love you, Jo.