It isn't just about me and my sense of loss, because little Chimpy was here not just for me, but for himself as well and most certainly for others in his life. People ask me how my other two cats are reacting and I realize now that I made a mistake when I brought Chimpy home to be buried. Overwhelmed by my sorrow and my tears, I did not give Bella and Rosie the opportunity to say goodbye. They might not have understood the ceremony of a funeral, but they most certainly would have an understanding of death and must have been aware that their friend was not well. I wish that I had allowed them to see Chimpy's body in order for them to have a bit of closure. Our serene Bella has taken to sitting in front of the patio door as if looking and waiting for Chimpy to come home. Rosie will stand in the middle of a room and cry, seemingly for no reason. I cannot say for sure they are mourning the loss of Chimp, but why not? I might be thought of by some as being anthropomorphic, but I beg to differ. On page 109 in his book, "When Elephants Weep:The Emotional Lives of Animals," Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson has this to say about other species and grief:
"In the end, it hardly matters whether stags, beavers, seals, or elephants weep. Tears are not grief, but tokens of grief. The evidence of grief from other animals is strong. It is hard to doubt that Darwin's sobbing elephants were unhappy, even if their tears sprang from mechanical causes. A seal surely feels sad when its pup is killed, whether it is dry-eyed or not ... humans cannot know that the world of sorrow is beyond the emotional capacities of any animal. Sadness, nostalgia, disappointment, are feelings we know from direct experience; animals we know intimately hint at their parallel feeling in this dark world."
Grammie Annie's vegan view
With my somewhat enlightened eyes and heart, I will certainly not repeat the mistake of underestimating the emotional lives of the furry beings in my life and of all beings for that matter.
I have apologized to both Rosie and Bella for my insensitivity and mention Chimpy to them from time to time.
If, and hopefully when, we adopt another furry companion, I will show more respect for the family he or she is leaving behind - mother, siblings, cage mates, guardians. We took Chimpy away from his mother and Bella away from her sister without a second glance and I will forever regret that.
I am grateful for the enlightenment that comes my way from time to time in whatever form it comes. This time it was three little kitties who taught me something invaluable about the emotional lives of all species.