"Do not go gentle into that good night...," wrote Dylan Thomas. Time after time I have been astounded and impressed by the power of the life force within even the smallest animals and birds. An old hen will get a certain look and I know her time has come, but it might take days before she'll "give up the ghost." The young wether, Nineteen, and I stayed by the old doe Lucy as she rallied again and again until she lay down one last time.
Pearl, my don't-pet-me cat, blossomed and came into her own after Frank left us and, with Bessie, formed the third of our new trio. Where Bess and I went, Pearl followed or ran ahead, doing her famous "catfish flop." Pearl of the broken squeaker, she who rarely spoke, became vocal and a regular Chatty Cathy. She slid immediately into the empty spot left by Frank as Bessie's best friend, sharing a chair or sunny spot on the floor and cuddling up to the dog. Frank, handsome with his blue eyes and forceful personality, had overshadowed his petite, shy, tabby sister. About a month ago Pearl began to decline, evident in small ways at first, but steadily weakening, showing no evidence of pain. She seems to take comfort from sitting in my lap and so for the past week I've accomplished little because I've sat with Pearl for hours during the day, and carry her to be next to me on the bed at night. I've also taken comfort from being with my little friend as she goes on her next journey. Surely she cannot live one more day, and yet she lingers in the grip of that powerful life force. Bessie and I will miss Pearl terribly, but I wish she could just close her eyes now and "go gentle into that good night."