Monday, December 15, 2008


The family experienced a tragedy on Saturday. Our cat, Suki, died.

L and I were woken up on Friday morning by Bessie yelling. Suki, who sleeps in her room, had just sneezed blood all over her. It was clear the cat was having some difficulty breathing, otherwise she appeared okay. L and B went to work/school. Despite feeling a rough that day I managed to take Suki to the vets.

The vet thought it might be a fighting injury on her nose that was inflamed etc. I came home with a bunch of antibiotics hoping for the best.

That evening I retreated to the backroom for some peace and quiet, ending up falling asleep there. B went to a sleep over. L found Suki in the night a little distressed and took her to bed with her. Saturday morning I was woken up by L yelling. Suki was in great distress; unable to breath or use her limbs properly, so was L.

There followed a chaotic scene as we wondered what to do as our vet would not be open for another hour and a half. In the end we rushed to the nearest emergency vet. Within minutes we were told, by a very sleepy vet, that she had suffered a brain aneurysm. Her eyes no longer responded to light and she had loss the use of her limbs. We were advised to put her down.

The speed of it all was quite a shock. When B came back from her sleep over she let out a primal scream I'll never forget. The rest of the day was spent in almost permanent tears. 'It's not fair, its not fair, she was so young,' B kept saying.
I tried to explain fairness did not come into it.

A documentary I had watched the day before came to mind, about a catastrophe which took place 2,500 million years ago. The earth's crust exploded in the Russian Stepps causing such global warming that 95 percent of all life was wiped out. Ninety-five-percent. Where was the justice in that?

As ever, I am finding, everything comes back to Prometheus. In 'Prometheus Bound' by Aischylos, the only work devoted entirely to Prometheus to have come down to us from antiquity, the old god is portrayed as someone who is suffering unjustly.

'Oh holy Mother Earth, O air and sun, behold me. I am wronged,' he cries from his rock.

Professor Kerenyi explains, 'But though man suffers like the beasts, his special mode of existence requires him to suffer with a sense of injustice.'

Where this sense of fairness/injustice comes from is an interesting question. Is it a human construct or something that actually exists in the realm of the Gods and the universe?

Perhaps it was not fair for Suki to die so soon. I will miss her. She kept me company in the many hours I spend in bed. She may have been a bit simple but she was very loving. Life seems such a fragile thing.

Being a good little god myself, it is clear to me that in the book Heather will have to own a cat called Suki. It will be good to remember her that way. It will also bring in some of the themes discussed above.

God bless you Suki - wherever you are.


Chris Vacano said...


I'm so sorry for the loss of your dear friend! Pets are such an enriching part of our lives, and it can be so very hard when we have to say goodbye. About a year ago, H and I went through something similar with our pug, Polly. We both still have pangs of missing her (although we've since welcomed a new pug, George, into our lives)... particularly the goofy things that made her who she was.

Your idea to put Suki in the book is a wonderful tribute!

Your post got me thinking about a folk-story, of sorts, that I've heard retold in different contexts... it's probably most commonly known as the parable of the taoist farmer. Rather than retelling the whole thing here, here's a link:

Reading your thoughts about the un/fairness of life made me immediately think of this. We often can't get a good read on an event in isolation, without considering its ramifications. This is a perspective you may want to consider integrating into your book, somehow. I think at some level, Prometheus (the greek one) embodies this: he stole fire, which on the surface appeared good, but ultimately alienated himself and humanity from the gods. He was punished cruelly, thereby absorbing the brunt of the gods' wrath and protecting humanity. And so on. Maybe one of your characters tries to impart this lesson... or maybe you simply keep it in mind as you work through the ups and downs of your story arc.

My very best wishes to you and your family at this sad time.

Anonymous said...

I am also sorry to hear about the loss of Suki..I remember my old Siamese called Suki what a character...our lives are enriched for sure....

How is your treatment going ..?...I was sent this blog through Google alerts, I was also suffering with hepc tho 48 weeks treatment has rendered it undetectable...

If your ever wanting any support I belong to a Uk hepc forum called the Nomads
a busy active forum supporting those with HepC, on treatment and even those post treatment..We have medical professionals on board to answer any questions, although we do like to also push the social side of support and try and forget about the Virus for a while....
Your more than welcome to drop in or perhaps add the forum as a link on your blog..? many do need the online support...

Hope things pick up for you, remember the good life you gave suki...Sx

Rich said...

I am very grateful for your comments. I'm having a rough week, flu symptoms have returned. When my head is clearer I'll follow up the links.

Debi said...

Just caught this. So sad about Suki. Remember her jumping on my lap last time I was round and me shrieking and spilling my tea all over myself?

And more flu. Not fair indeed.

Hope you all manage to get some good times over the holidays. xxx