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My Guru Has a Tail, Part 10: The Legacy

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

Any Guru who’s worthy of their exalted title leaves a legacy of wisdom behind when they pass over to the non-physical realm.

My Guru, our cat Lucy, was no exception to this rule.

As many of you know, the Guru passed into the non-physical realm a couple months ago. Since then, I have been both missing and appreciating her feisty little presence.

I have also been noticing all the ways in which she is still with me.

The list that follows is by no means exhaustive. But it is a start.

(I know that the Guru would appreciate the effort. Or at least, she would appreciate the fact that the list is all about her.)

So here goes:

THE 6 LEGACIES OF THE GURU 

1. A clawed-up post

The Guru wasn’t much of an athlete. Indeed, her most refined physical move was to throw herself on the ground and demand to be adored.

And yet she loved to climb this post.

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

Fittingly, when she had completed the two seconds of effort to make the climb, she would sit on top of this trellis for hours.

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

She loved to look out at her world and smell the air.

What was she smelling?

Flowers? Other cats? The ultimate serenity of all life?

Only the Guru knows for sure.

2. A chewed-up banister

I first encountered the Guru at an animal shelter. She was a year old at the time.

I know very little about her past, other than the fact that she seemed to have experienced some trauma during her first year. When overwhelmed or agitated, she had a tendency to lash out.

The weapon of choice?

Her teeth.

Soon after she arrived at my house, the Guru decided that this wooden banister would make an appropriate chew toy.

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

That’s right, wooden banister.

She would jump up on the railing next to the banister and chew away.

Yum!

I had no idea that cats enjoyed chewing wood. Or perhaps enjoyed is the wrong word.

The Guru seemed driven to mold the edge of the banister into a knawed-off tip.

What were her motives?

Was she purging herself of difficult memories? Was she channeling her aggression and rage onto a benign wooden structure that couldn’t fight back?

All I know is that, after about a year of serious banister-chomping, the Guru decided her work was done.

Instead of having it fixed, I decided to simply paint over her work.

Every artist deserves respect and adulation.

The Guru deserved no less.

3. Pool toys

As some of you know, the Guru had a penchant for petty theft.

The pool for our housing complex is right next to our house. At some point, the Guru decided that any kid who threw their pool toy over the fence and onto the lawn deserved to have their pool toy confiscated and stored at our house.

(I’m sure she would prefer the word confiscated to the much-nastier stolen. Confiscated makes her sound like a law enforcement official. Which I know is how she saw herself. When she wasn’t basking in her enlightened Guru status.)

Over the years, we amassed quite a collection.

A gorgeous “Splash-N-Swim” ball:

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

A hot-pink version of the same:

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

A seriously-chewed “Splash Bomb”:

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

An extremely frightening shark:

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

And, last but not least, the famous pink football:

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

(For more on the pink football, go here.)

Every time the Guru would bring home one of these toys, I would beam with pride.

Yes, the toys were stolen from unsuspecting children. Yes, it was oh-so-wrong.

And yet I couldn’t help but applaud the Guru’s effort to keep the lawn free of clutter.

That, and she seemed so proud and righteous about her little pool toys.

I couldn’t bear to confiscate them.

4. Lots of pictures

When it became clear that the Guru had a vast well of wisdom that needed to be shared with the world, I began this series.

In order to illustrate the Guru’s enlightened views, I naturally needed to take tons of pictures of her.

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

The Guru tolerated my efforts with the utmost disdain and contempt grace and understanding.

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

For this, I am grateful.

I rarely take pictures of anything if there’s not a compelling reason to do so. If it wasn’t for this blog, I wouldn’t have nearly as many pictures of her Guru-ness.

Maybe that’s why she psychically transmitted the idea of writing this series. So I’d have lots of photos of her when she left this plane, and I can contemplate them to glean spiritual sustenance.

Either that, or she secretly thought of herself as a runway model.

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

5. A Deeper Relationship with My Intuition

A various times during my tenure as the Guru’s keeper, I had to make some challenging decisions.

This was especially true later in her life, when she developed some physical challenges and we needed to restrict her territory in order for her to heal.

Every time we needed to make a decision on behalf of the Guru, I was forced to rely on my intuition to guide me to the correct answer.

On one of my last trips to the vet with the Guru, the doctor asked if I wanted to run a series of ridiculously expensive very important tests.

photo: Steve Jurvetson on flickr

photo: Steve Jurvetson on flickr

I said Yes, even though I knew the tests weren’t necessary and they wouldn’t help solve the problem. Even after I left the vet that day, I wondered why I had consented to the tests.

And yet, after the Guru died, those tests provided great peace of mind. They showed us that, even though the Guru died of a heart problem, it had not been detected by the ridiculously expensive very important tests.

In other words, there was nothing we could have done to save her or prolong her life.

After she was gone, this knowledge brought me great peace.

Was it the Guru who whispered in my ear to tell me to consent to the ridiculously expensive very important tests? Did she want me to have peace of mind after she passed? Or did she simply like the flash of my credit card?

I guess I’ll have to consult my intuition for the answer.

6. Love

As anyone who has ever loved a pet knows, it’s hard when our animal friends choose to leave the physical plane to romp in Pet Paradise.

After the Guru died, I was extremely sad.

At one point, I was thinking about her life and worrying that maybe I hadn’t done a good enough job of caring for her.

And then, in the middle of my fret fest, I heard a voice. It said:

We had a great time together while I was here. That’s all that matters.

In that moment, I could feel the presence of the Guru. And I could feel this truth:

The love we share – with our animal friends, with our human friends – is all that matters.

Yes, I love the chewed-up banister and the pool toys, but my favorite of all the Guru’s legacies is the love she left behind. The love that’s still alive in me.

It’s the best present she ever brought me.

photo: melissa phillippe

photo: melissa phillippe

What legacy have your loved ones left you? Share your comments below!

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4 Responses to My Guru Has a Tail, Part 10: The Legacy

  1. Antonia February 3, 2015 at 6:20 am #

    Thank you, Z…I’ve been waiting for this lovely post ever since you said you’d speak later after Lucy passed. I loved your cat, and I never even met her. I loved your relationship with her … all the good and crazy things she did…the two of you did. She was/is the “everyman” of cats. I guess that’s why I’m crying here as I post these words. I think of Kali … of my beloved cat, and know the pain her physical disappearance would create. I am grateful that Lucy’s presence is alive and well in your home, in Melissa’s home.

    I know as you think of fond memories of your time with Lucy you’ll share with us.

    Here’s to Lucy … and all our wonderful pets. We learn so much from them and they make us laugh our loud…and cry!

    xo
    Antonia

    • Z Egloff February 3, 2015 at 9:52 am #

      HI Antonia,

      I feel the same way about Kali – although I’ve never met her, I feel as though I know her. They teach us so much, don’t they? And best of all – at least, for me – is the love they bring into our lives. What a blessing!

      Give Kali a pat for me! :)

      XOZ

  2. Martha M February 3, 2015 at 10:40 am #

    Oh, sweet Lordy, Z! What a beautiful zany Z tribute to Guru kitty. Wiping tears away so I can type… Thank you for sharing the healing side of grief.

    • Z Egloff February 3, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

      Hi Martha,

      Yes, there are definitely many sides to grief. I’m grateful that the spirit of my Guru is guiding me through it. :)

      XOZ

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