Even since the Snap Judgment podcast “The Inpatients” came out, this blog has received hundreds—at first, thousands—of views. When I realized how many people were viewing soulbank, I started to worry. What can I write that will be meaningful for that many people? What can I say that might help someone? Is there anything I can do so that this site serves a higher purpose? I don’t want to be a pseudo celebrity that can boast on her gravestone that she appeared on “Ghost Adventures” a couple of times, and that she filmed a ‘sizzle reel’ that died in the studio offices.
No, it has to be something better, something transcendent, something amazing . . . and yet, all I can offer today is a post about Bingo. Bingo is my cat. Many would say ‘was’, since we had to say goodbye to him a week ago Saturday morning. Yes, I posted about it on Facebook and people were very kind and wrote many comforting things; yet nothing they wrote made any difference in the long run. They had no answers. None of us do. It is painful to live with that hole in our lives, this gaping wound that doesn’t heal.
Bingo was a force of pure love. I met him in Long Beach. I was walking or jogging along First Street when I saw this white and gray blur running towards me. What I noticed first was how he bounced when he ran, as if he were the happiest animal on the planet. I sat down to pet him. He climbed on my lap, started kneading and drooling, and as we bonded a homeless man on a bike rode by and said, “Looks like you and that cat are meant to be. You need to take him home.” And so I did. He loved me just like that for almost fourteen years.
We moved four times in those years. We lost Kenny and Coco. We gained Nod. Many things happened, some wonderful, some terrible. Through it all, Bingo loved me. He spent long nights outdoors when it was warm, and he loved to perch in high places to keep watch over the household. He didn’t say much, but he radiated affection and appreciation up until the very last day, when he knew that his time had come.
I don’t want to talk about the last ten days beyond saying that he had cancer everywhere, and he fell apart fast. He was able to spend one last night running around outside before his body gave up. It broke my heart into a million pieces to see how hard he tried to knead me and love me even though he was weak, disoriented and scared.
The day we said goodbye, I stayed with him while the barbiturates kicked in. I stroked his head and told him how much I loved him. I told him to go find Kenny and Coco, because they would be waiting. My husband Ty stayed while they injected him with something lethal. He held Bingo’s gaze until his eyes closed and his body went limp. I couldn’t be there for the last moments. I am disappointed in myself and hope that Bingo understands that it was just too much. While Bingo was giving up the last of his life in that room, I was outside talking to the Holy Spirit. I asked Him to please take my kitty, to please welcome him wherever he was going, wherever he is now.
But that’s the problem. I don’t know where he is now, and absolutely nobody knows. For the many people who would tell me that Bingo is nowhere, I must say that makes just about as much sense to me as the idea that he’s in some cat heaven. I don’t believe in a special Heaven for pets or even for people, for that matter. I think that’s too easy, too much like wish fulfillment or fantasy to allow us to survive with the crushing fear of death. The Heaven of the Bible is something that we have trivialized; I believe it is so much more complicated than we can possibly know.
I went for a long walk, and I asked God a question: “WHERE IS BINGO?” I told God that I could handle the answer, whatever it was; and I begged Him to please tell me more than He has so far. All that happened was that I kept seeing crows flying around. Lots of crows. I was annoyed by all the crows, because I don’t understand what kind of sign that is. I looked up “crow symbolism” on my smart phone, because I couldn’t figure out what else to do.
Crows are symbols of transformation. They can be tricksters, as well, so I guess one has to be careful with them . . . but the general consensus was that crows are magical, transformative animals that can become almost anything they wish. I found this on beliefnet.com:
“Omens and divinatory meaning: How canny are you? How inventive can you be when faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge? The crow urges you to think outside the box, to examine what tools and skills you have at your disposal, and to apply them in perhaps unconventional ways to achieve your goals.
The crow also teaches you about change. Change is not to be feared; it is part of the natural course of things. The death or end of one thing signifies the birth or beginning of another. Crows teach you about cycles, too. They are carrion birds, and help you to remember that even in death there is something that feeds life. Death is not loss; it is transformation. If you are having trouble handling some sort of change in your life, call on the crow to be your companion through it.
Is that the message? Call upon the crow? Think outside the box when it comes to questions about life after death? If death ‘signifies the birth or beginning’ of something else, then is Bingo coming back? Is that too childish? WHAT IS COMING BACK now that Bingo is gone? Think outside the box, Kirsten, think outside your box. I’m trying. I don’t know. I just don’t know. I am so tired of seeing through a glass darkly.
During the course of the walk, I felt Bingo everywhere; not as something vague and general, like a ‘life force,’ but I actually felt Bingo, the individual soul of my beloved kitty. I suppose that asking “where’s Bingo” is the wrong question, destined to give me the wrong answer. But I am this body, trapped in space and time, and I want him to come back in a body, so that I can hold him again. I don’t want Bingo everywhere; I want him on my chest at night purring.
But God will not allow that, because He took Bingo out of that suffering body and took him somewhere else. The ‘somewhere’ that He took him is nowhere I can go. I can feel Bingo everywhere, but I can’t focus on him, I can’t see him, I can’t touch him. It’s like torture. I’m dying of thirst standing in a pool of water that I cannot drink.
This has been a terribly difficult post to write. For a paranormal investigator, I am less certain of what happens to us after death than I ever was. I should know more by now. I don’t. The only thing that has changed is that I am closer to understanding this transformation through my emotions and my senses. I can feel things that I could never feel before, and they lead me to something like an intuition or a knowing that I had when I was very, very young, something I lost along the path to growing up.
This wasn’t what I had hoped to tell all of you who have so generously taken the time to read my thoughts and feel all of my emotions. However, it’s the best that I have right now. I hope that you find love and peace in your life, and that there is someone who loves you so much and so purely that their light continues to shine long after they have departed this Earth.
—Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD