Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rat Mortality

First and foremost, thank you to all of you for your kindness. I was truly touched by all of your sympathy. Musashi was a sweet little rat and I miss him. Ever since I got my rats, I knew they were sick, so I prepared myself for losing them. That made it a little bit easier, but what really helped was having all of you.

One thing that struck me was that, even when I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that I would never get to play with Musashi again, I had to deal with the real fact of disposing of his body. He died in a corner of the cage, and I had to work his body out of there. It had stiffened in death, so this wasn't easy. Even when the intellectual part of my brain was trying to come to terms with the reality of his death, the practical part of my brain was determining the best angle of extraction.

Mostly I was reminded of the line in Hamlet: "and now, how abhorred
in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it."

The thing in the cage was merely the body Musashi had inhabited for a year and a half. Musashi was gone.

Thanks again to all of you. I'm really doing well. My life is going extremely well, and I am good at moving on, for better or for worse. I'll always remember Musashi, and though I am sure the memories will fade with time, I will know that I enjoyed having him and was glad for that, even after.

1 comment:

Elizabeth E. Grey said...

when my grandfather died, he died at my grandparents home. my mom and i were there for his last moments, and then when he finally passed, we had to call the coroner to come out. this was just past midnight on christmas eve/morning. so the coroner comes out, does his official stuff and his condolence stuff, and so on. and then they had to load the body onto a stretcher to remove it. they covered it with a sheet, and removed his jewelry, but they had forgotten to strap his arms down, and as they bounced the stretcher over a step into the house, one of his arms came loose and just swung out from under the sheet. it was the strangest thing to see, because it so clearly moved like an inanimate object, even though it was clearly part of a human. it was utterly bizarre.
i remember the way my mouse felt when she died, but mostly i remember that she was cold. i think my mom did most of the handling. but seeing the physical process of my grandfather's death was both extremely fascinating and utterly horrifying.
whatever it is that animates us, whether it is a soul, a mind, a spirit, or simply chemical reactions, when we die it is truly gone. whether it goes somewhere else or whether it disappears, i don't know. but it does not remain with our physical selves, that much is obvious.
if there is an afterlife, i have to believe that animals go there too. everything i can do that makes me think i might have a soul, animals can do. love, hurt, dream, fear. if musashi is somewhere else, i'm sure he is well. if he's not, i think it doesn't matter, because he lived as good a life as a sweet little rat could hope for.