Here’s an excerpt from my memoir-in-progress, Driving with Cats. This excerpt is about my 20-year-old orange cat Jamie:

Jamie keeps Chris and me in his sight. He wants to be with us, and he wants us to be with him. We do the best we can, and honor Jamie’s wishes. Jamie is polishing us, refining us. Love, sadness, heartache surround the house in a huge golden light. Love overrides it all. Sadness with love is a sweet kind of sadness. I am learning I am better than I realized. Chris is learning about the depth of his love. His heart is cracking open.

I had a good friend, an artist, who died several years ago. She had cancer and chose to pass at home with minimum medical intervention. My friend, and her hospice worker, referred to this period of time as the long stretch. It was then I realized death is a process, not a concrete occurrence that happens all at once.

Death is a stretching. A twine exists between you and the other being. It seems it could stretch to infinity. Perhaps the quality of the twine simply changes, when the being passes on from this world. I’d like to think the twine never breaks.

Jamie is dying. Jamie is getting ready to say goodbye. The twine is stretching.