What remains of your lost cat, long passed away? You may have kept her ashes. They are a dry, dead substance which awakens your memory of her in bright colours and sharp definition. The remains of our beloved cats that have died are in our memory.
How often do you sit in your armchair or lie in bed and harvest your memory, flicking through the video clips of your mind? How many memory movies do you have of her or him?
The first and most delightful is a short memory video of Missie running down from the back of the garden with Binnie following. I had just returned from work and was living in a detached house, alone, with quite a large garden. They heard me arrive and raced to greet me at the kitchen door. Missie’s athleticism meant she was well ahead of Binnie. Joy was written all over her body and behavior.
Before that I remember Missie as a kitten chasing around the house with her brother tearing up furniture. There are many more memories. As long as I live she lives in my memory. I worry that she will no longer exist in any form when I die.
The clearest memory I have of my late Binnie is holding her on my shoulder when she was at the end of her life. She was frail and bony. I felt very strongly that the end was near. The strong emotions harden memory.
You don’t need to look at a photograph of your cat or a video after she has died. You simply dip into your memory. Memory seems to bring not only still and moving images but also a greater connection with emotions that you had at the time. It isn’t only the physical presence of your cat that you memorise but the attached emotions.
There is a wider primal concept of memory based on the belief that the earth has a mind. When you visit some places you can sense the history. It is almost as if the memory of times past is locked into the fabric of the landscape. This is the concept proposed by John O’Donohue in his book, “Stone As The Tabernacle of Memory”.
If this is true my Missie has left traces of herself in that home I occupied for a short time and where she died.
I’ll finish on a John O’Donohue quote from the book:
“The soul is the home of memory, as you go through your life nothing is ever lost or forgotten; all the kindnesses and experiences of your life are gathered together in the Divine tabernacle of memory.…”