… but most certainly never forgotten.
Despite the lovely weather today in our neck of the woods – sunshine at last and quite warm – our friend and housemate of nearly 63 years (12+ years in our time) left us this morning.
Benjamin, or just plain Ben – a Blue Burmese of considerable self-importance – had been wasting away for the last few months, victim of an intestinal tumour that finally reduced him from the dimensions of a Medieval war horse to a skeleton. His head and long tail seemed to be unaffected by the weight loss of the rest of his body, which made the situation even more difficult to come to terms with.
Despite this, he remained bright eyed and talkative and it was only in the last week that we became concerned for his quality of life. Sadly, by first thing this morning his hind legs had become very wobbly and the look in his eyes – not to give it too much of a poetic slant – hinted at the fact that he probably thought it was very nearly time to call it a day.
So now we have Baxter, who was with Ben at the end, and happy memories of a very loyal friend.
Perhaps this emphasises the true value of our own existence – our memories. Hopefully, for the majority of people, largely very pleasant to recall and something that can never be taken from us – unlike the contents of an external hard drive computer disc, but that’s another story! Who’s to say that Altzheimer’s wipes our internal memory bank? Suffers might not be able to recall verbally, but the memories might well still be there, for internal use only. In the last month it’s been time to remember the death of my mother and the birth of my godson (on the same day), the passing of my cousin André in South Africa and, of course, Ben this morning.
Of course, there is another side to all of this. I remember how my father suffered during his final illness and “endured” existence whilst the medical profession did what it could to “manage” his condition, when there was absolutely no hope of an improvement, let alone a recovery. Let me leave you with this thought: Ben went peacefully into his final sleep with the dignity that he had not yet lost; for the rest of us perhaps things need to be reviewed in the medical world of the 21st century.
But Life and existence within Nature is unstoppable – barring extinction for whatever reason – so we face the future remembering the more pleasant and happier moments of our past. Although it has to be pondered that, perhaps, the Dignitas Clinic in Switzerland is on to something …