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The Animal Communicator Blog

The Great Cycle of Life

As my sweet, wise canine partner, Belinda and I wend our way through the end stages of her life on Earth, I am reminded of the departure of our dearest friend, Sherman, orange tabby wonder cat. Sherman and Belinda loved each other deeply and curled up together often. With similar size, coloring, and loving energy, I called them the Butterscotch Twins.

Here is the wondrous story of Master Sherman’s last steps on Earth that I wrote for Species Link magazine Spring 2010 issue.

Walking His Cat
Sherman wound his body down completely on January 7, 2010 at 7:35 AM after almost 22 years as my orange tabby cat wizard companion.

Each step of his final passage was purposeful. Sherman coached me through the difficult parts of the dying process as his bodily organs failed to function. After a bout of vomiting and straining to defecate on January 3rd, he managed to eat his last meal on January 4th—a fresh, raw egg from young bantam hen, Gretchen. On January 5th, his throat constricted and he hung over his water bowl, crying and making ineffectual motions to drink. I felt helpless, but I channeled healing energy to help him release his throat pain and contraction. Then he relaxed and stopped trying to drink altogether.

Sherman meowed and moved restlessly in large circular patterns around the house and yard in his last days. When I witnessed his apparent struggle and plaintive meows, he told me appearances were deceiving. He explained that his meows were needed (he always was a vocal cat) to express whatever was happening with his body rather than letting sensations build up to become severe pain. He told me he was
“walking his cat” to gently let the life force energy release and the body ease down to death.

Sherman’s concept of “walking his cat” gave me a new perspective to view the last steps of his elder journey with more compassionate detachment. Sherman was always present throughout his life as a loving, aware being. At this concluding junction, I was deeply impressed with Sherman’s tender consideration for his body’s feelings. After resting and as he walked, he would often comfort his cat body by meowing. He was also comforting me.

Garden Walkabout
On January 5th, Sherman walked slowly around to the plants in the garden, pausing to smell the aromatic rosemary and Salvia. He thanked the plants for their beautiful scents that he so enjoyed and he expressed his appreciation to the whole garden for being a wonderful place that contained and loved him.
Orange tabby cat, Sherman, in garden flowers

I was recovering from bi-lateral hip replacement surgery undergone four weeks previous on December 9th, and I was not supposed to risk hip prostheses dislocation by bending more than 90 degrees or twisting from the waist. Sadly, this prevented me from reaching down to pick up Sherman to stroke and kiss him. Sherman handled that. Despite his frailty, he jumped up on a garden bench to be near me, so we could spend time touching each other and enjoying the garden together.

The weather spirits gave us fair weather, enabling Sherman to enjoy walking around the garden during his final days. Had the heavy snow storms that arrived soon after his death come sooner, it would have prevented this final, intimate garden connection. On his last “walkabout” in the yard on January 6th, Sherman was very weak and staggered short distances before resting. He then managed to climb the three steps into the house and did not ask to go out again.

Sacred Union
On the night of January 6th (Epiphany: the arrival of the wise men to the manger in Bethlehem), Sherman circled around the living room with great difficulty between fitful rests. My stage of recovery from surgery at the time did not permit me to sit long without great discomfort. The couch was too low for me to get up and down without pain. I was not able to get down on the floor either, so I sat next to Sherman on a chair as long as I could until my hips cried out for me to lie down and put my legs up. Sherman understood. I seesawed between the living room to see him and back to my bed to ease the pain. Around 3 AM, Sherman tried to get to the bedroom to be with me and only made it halfway.

With Sherman wanting to be close to me, I urgently wished I could bend down to pick him up and hold him. He even managed to flop his body onto my foot as I stood near him when sitting got too painful for me. I tried to figure out another way to pick him up. I had been using a grabber tool or a broom and long-handled dustpan to pick up and lower objects that I could not bend to reach, such as cat and dog food bowls. However, I felt it would be too undignified and uncomfortable for Sherman if I swept his frail, bony body into a dustpan to pick him up.

At 5 AM, when Sherman called out even more to be on my lap, I finally thought of a solution. If I could move the outdoor reclining chair from the front porch to the living room, I could then place it next to Sherman, recline on it, and hopefully be able to reach over and scoop him up without twisting too dangerously. My idea worked. What a relief for both of us!

As I cradled Sherman wrapped in a blanket on my lap, he ceased struggling. I lay back in the recliner with Sherman on my chest and belly. He was grateful to share my body’s warmth and the rise and fall of my breath. His meows softened, and his movements became gentler. We rested together and merged further in the holy process of easing his body into death. I cried deeply and my heart opened in sadness and relief in this profound closeness to beloved Master Sherman. Sherman was undisturbed by my crying and encouraged me to continue opening my heart to its depths. I fell asleep in this sacred union as Sherman touched the caverns of my open heart.

A Small Sliver
Sherman’s death process was different from any I had experienced. He was always a conscious master of remarkable power and presence. He lived most of his life outdoors, was filled with vitality, had a wonderful sense of humor, and could also be a mischievous scamp. Always there when I needed him, he emanated profound love. Visitors recognized his greatness. His love vibration became more melting, profound, and permeating in his last few years. As his body became bony and frail in his last few months, his presence was completely precious and deeply touching.

Sherman’s great space or aura surrounded the planet.
He didn’t live in his body but simply animated his body as a small sliver in the great circle of light of his being. Unlike many other animals (including humans) whom I have witnessed lifting out of their physical forms upon dying to expand into a greater space of peace, joy, and freedom, Sherman never was “condensed” into physical form or focused so narrowly into his body that he had to “leave” it to die. Instead, as he explained, he had to kindly, gently wind his body down. His body would simply cease to live when it was the right time for Sherman to no longer animate it.

He advised me that a strong body had to be taken slowly to death or it could be traumatic for the body and the beings around it. That’s why he did great circular walkabouts and called aloud around the house and garden, releasing his physical energy until the body functions slowed and his shrunken cat form gently stopped breathing.

I’m not sure when Sherman “officially” died. There was no last sigh, breath, or convulsion of departure. I touched his chest occasionally to feel if he was breathing. Sherman would then move a bit to show me he was still alive.

I got up to stretch my aching hips and feed our patient dogs at about 7:30 AM. When I rested Sherman’s swaddled form on the recliner, he emitted a few jagged breaths and then returned to a quiet state. I wavered about leaving him but needed to move around and also felt a pull to take care of our two patient dogs, Belinda and Rajah. Feeding them didn’t take long and I was only a short distance away in the kitchen. When I returned, Sherman’s body was completely still.

Saffron River
Sherman then instructed me to lie in the recliner, lift his blanket-wrapped body onto my chest with his head next to my heart, and he would begin an energy transmission. His body felt so full, grounded, warm, and round, despite being shrunken in death. I kissed his furry head and face and held him close.

Then, a vision appeared before me—a mystical river of the purest yellow-orange light with the brilliance of saffron but more vibrant than any earth color I had ever seen. I watched the river flow from the mountains and forest and travel through my dining room window. It then filled the caverns of my heart, purifying all the dark spaces that needed healing and pulsing through my veins with golden lava-like liquid light. Touched with the fullness of the gift and the poignancy of the moment, my grateful tears opened me further. I felt a new life opening—a grand space of joy and ease in living—a light space of magical possibility.

My former cats, who lived with and had died before Sherman (Chico San, Yohinta, and Heyoka) arrived to rejoice with Sherman and guard and guide us all through the shift. For hours I held Sherman’s form and received holy blessings. I had never been moved before to hold a dead animal for so long. Others of my animal friends had lain in state after death, but it was clearly right to honor them without holding them. This death was unique. There was no transfer of soul to a new state—no awakening into a higher or more expanded form. Sherman consciously lived and died as the wondrous soul that he always was. Friends e-mailed me that they had experiences of visitations from Sherman in golden light form and visions of his cat form during the final hours when he was journeying toward death.

Sherman gave directions about where his body should be buried in our garden: near the roots of a young Giant Sequoia tree. That afternoon, our friend, Nancy Windheart, helped to dig his grave and we honored his life in a funeral ceremony as we gave his lovely form wrapped in a soft shawl back to Mother Earth.

Conscious Timing
Sherman had been ill before I left December 6th to have hip surgery in Belgium. I was concerned that he would be sick or die while I was gone. I asked him to do his best to have his body function well with no worries for the house-sitters till I returned December 23rd. The house-sitters happily reported that Sherman ate and eliminated very well and went outside daily for sunshine and connection to the earth. A few days after I returned, Sherman became ill again. I knew he had rallied his energy to hold on while I was gone. Now that I was on the mend and ready for a new life, he had to let go.

For almost 22 years Master Sherman had served in golden cat form to help me and our work together. During advanced courses at our home, students from all over the world had met Sherman and felt his magic. He often wove a great circle of light around us by walking around the perimeter of our property as students practiced their communication exercises with domestic and wild animals indoors and outside. Sometimes he would appear in person to help individual students polish their animal communication skills. I used to call him “laser-beam” Sherman for his ability to help students through their greatest learning challenges. At the end of many courses, he would reappear to sashay and purr among the assembled human legs as students sang the affectionate songs dedicated to Sherman with words like: “Shairman the Chairman – oni Macaroni” and “Marconi cat – he’s where it’s at.”

I wondered whether I would have another cat for awhile. As Sherman’s body was dying, he clearly communicated that I would definitely have another orange tabby cat and very soon. The new cat would be young, lively, and with short hair (unlike Sherman’s long hair) and was a part of our soul group. Sherman made it clear that it was important that I have a cat in physical form to accompany me on my Earth journey. Of course, he would be with me always as friend and Master Spirit Guide. When I wrote this shortly after his departure, I was content to feel my golden light friend Sherman in my heart and all around, and watch him at that moment playing with his former cat friends in the air above my garden.

New life would unfold naturally. The sentiment enfolding me was enormous gratitude to Sherman and all my former cats for being with me for so many years through big life changes and masterfully helping so many beings to remember who they are through the grace of their feline presence.
Sherman (cat) and Belinda (dog) sleeping together

As Belinda, the best dog friend Sherman ever had, now makes her way on the journey that Sherman and all of us take to give our bodies back to Mother Earth, I feel the poignancy, tenderness, and preciousness of our life together. Belinda and I are so much a part of each other that there is nowhere for her to go but deeper into the great cavern of the mutual heart of our being where we are always together.

My books,
Animals in Spirit and When Animals Speak, can help you with the passage of your animal friends by staying in communication with them in the dying process and after death.

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