Here in Great Britain, we pay our respects to the dead during this month. Halloween passed, and with it, Samhain. Bonfire Night passed, the celebration that Guy Fawkes failed in his mission to destroy the houses of parliament, which paradoxically has kind of immortalised old Guido.
Remembrance Sunday has passed and today, on the 11th November, a minute’s silence shall be given for those whose lives were lost in the Great War, the Second World War and any other that the Poppy has come to represent. I remember one man telling me he didn’t buy a poppy because none of his family fell in either war. Neither did mine, but I still buy one for those who did fall, the ones who didn’t make it, the ones who didn’t have a choice. I wear it for those who still go to war, and lose their lives. In this disposable, target driven world, it is more important to remember the dead more than ever.
My thoughts then turn to the Samhain ceremony with the Grove and I announced I wanted to honour my little Loki. I wasn’t prepared for the wound to open up again, or the tears streaming down my face as the rest of the ceremony continued.
I’ll never forget that morning earlier on this year:
I found her in the dark, a head yelling it’s head off in a Bush. “What are you doing there?” I called, beckoning her to come. She wouldn’t, she just sat there crying. I thought she got herself stuck (she was very fluffy) and lifted her out of the spiky bushes. It wasn’t until the streetlight hit I saw blood and the flesh of her right thigh torn clean off, her leg muscle glistened. I ran inside and put her in the bathtub.
Me and Artemis tried to sooth her as we contacted the emergency vet.
I remember telling the Taxi driver to “Just Drive!” when he balked about having an animal not in a carry case (she was wrapped in a towel).
It turned out the leg was the easy part. The vet asked if I knew what got her, were there any dogs in the area (no, I didn’t, it must have happened when I was in the shower and getting ready for work. The dogs where I live are used to the cats in the area and are all kept on leads, neither me nor Artemis even heard anything!)?
The hard part was the hole in her stomach caused by another animal. And here came the choice:
An operation could be performed, but due to Loki’s size (she was tiny for an adult cat) there was a slim chance of survival. If the operation didn’t kill her, most likely the infection from the bite would. Or I could have her put down. She was in a bad way.
The vet gave me the longest minutes of my life. The choice was made and I was with her until the end. She was still crying even under painkillers, I stroked her head behind her ears, telling her how brave she was and that I loved her. And that was it, she was gone…
Artemis was with me the whole time and told me I wasn’t going to work that day. She was right. I spent the day, when not crying my head off, cleaning up the bath, disposing of her things and talking with Pipes. Loki was Pipes’ idea and was supposed to be her cat. Turned out Loki was a Daddy’s Girl.
My already fragile heart which I had locked away had shattered. My gorgeous girl was gone.
I performed my first hex that day. Daylight had arrived and as I put her things in the wheelie-bin I found the trail of her fur and blood. I remember seeing the pool of red where she must have been attacked. I remember seeing the fur of something else…. I sniffed it and knew that scent well. I recognised it from the tails used for my morris dancing hat: Fox.
A hunter friend of a friend even confirmed it as I gave him the sample. I took my anger and pain and slammed it into the earth. Whether the creature died of a heart attack, I’ll never know.
Although I find it ironic that Fox was the most recent animal spirit to show up in an animal guide exercise.
Loki was a great companion and friend, even if she was a pain in the arse and liked waking me up an hour before my alarm or constantly being on the wrong side of the door. She slept on my bed in the old house and only sometimes in my present one. But when she was allowed, we’d perform the same ritual: I’d moisturise (eczema, my dears) and she’d clean herself. Then I’d lie on my back as she curled into my left arm.
I was glad we performed that for the last time on the night before the horror of that day.
I miss her very much and she touched everyone whoever met her.