Friday, April 3, 2015

Guest Post: "Buffy, Not the Vampire Slayer"

On February 22, 2011, I drove home from Sardis in typical fashion: on the phone talking with Michelle about lunch, life, liberty and the pursuit of General Hospital. I don’t much care for talking on the phone, so I get it all done in the car when I have nothing else to do but drive. (Don’t say it. I know… Driving’s pretty important). The day, however, would turn out anything but typical from the moment I walked in the front door. I hadn’t even shut it when, in the middle of a sentence, I let loose the most blood curling scream I’m pretty sure has ever left my lips (this includes my first ride on White Lightning at Carowinds).

There was no intruder… no crock-pot explosion… no ransacked apartment suggesting I’d been robbed… no overflow from the dishwasher or washing machine to soak the floor and the apartment below mine… none of that. All I had seen was something on the floor just inside the living room that shouldn’t have been there and somehow I knew, before I even turned on the light and got a better look, what it was, just by the stillness and emptiness of death that seemed to be pervading the apartment.


My cat Buffy (not the Vampire Slayer) lay on the floor, his little body facing me, almost as if he’d been trying to make it to the door, perhaps waiting for me to come home. I was screaming because he wasn’t moving and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that nothing I did would ever get him to move again. He was the first cat I really ever owned myself. All our other pets had been family ones and I had been in college or grad school when they’d passed and had been removed from the immediacy of their deaths. I’d never had to deal with it myself. Though Buffy had started out his first two years being passed around from one family member to another, for the last 12 years of his life, he was truly mine.

I continued screaming into the phone at Michelle for what couldn’t have been more than 5 minutes, though it seemed forever, incoherently alternating the screams with crying (to this day I often wonder why none of my neighbors came to see what was the matter). Michelle was panicking, not even able to tell for the first couple of minutes exactly what I was screaming about. Once she figured it out, she didn’t know what to do. She even asked her brother’s girlfriend, a cat-woman like myself, to see if she could do something about my hysteria… all the way from New York. Jen tried her best to get through to me, suggesting I try CPR and a number of other things, but nothing worked. I just kept screaming. I knew Buffy was gone. The animal that had just the night before, lain on my pillow with me to sleep, would no longer meow, purr, try to trip me or leave me gifts of hairballs or Palmetto Bugs (that’s a cockroach for those of you not from South Carolina). He was just… no more.


Later in the day, my brother came and helped me take him to the 24-hour Emergency Vet to lay him to rest and I tried to make it through the rest of that day and the next day, grieving and searching for one ray of light in the darkness. Over those two days, many people sent me the Rainbow Bridge poem and other consolations and would tell me that since all dogs (and cats) go to heaven, one day I’d be reunited with not only my family and friends, but Buffy too. And by Monday night, I had already begun feeling the guilt of wanting to immediately go to the shelter to get another cat… or five…  I needed something to cling to. I couldn’t replace Buffy but I could adopt a sibling (or five) for him. It would help me cope, I told myself. It would help me move on. I settled for two; a 12-week old kitten and a 2-year old cat.

Michelle would tell me in the coming weeks when the new kitten, Sunny, would climb the curtains, run races over my head at night or beg for food 12 times a day, that her big brother Buffy was looking down from heaven and laughing. I clung hard to that idea. Four years later, Sunny and her sister Shadow are still bringing me joy (and hairballs and sometimes spiders).

The night Jesus died, the disciples and His followers must have experienced the same emptiness and despondency of death and I would imagine, so much worse. They had no such assurance that they would see him again, or if they should have, based on things he’d told them, none of them seemed to recall His teachings in the heat of the moment. They thought him to be dead and truly gone from them. A brief life snuffed out too soon and for all they knew, they were next. The day he died and the next day were their hell; their belief that what once was… was no more. No poetry, no condolences from anyone outside their immediate circle… just… death. They huddled hidden in a house contemplating how to go on.


And then Easter morning arrived. He was ALIVE. He had RISEN. What was once no more… was more than it had ever been! Still, yes, He’d eventually be leaving them in body again, but this time they had something to hold onto. They had a solid knowledge that they’d one day see and be with Jesus again, forever and in the meantime, He was entrusting them to carry on His work until that time came. Monday morning must have brought them their “Rainbow Bridge” poems and the ability to remember, without screaming hysterically or gushing tears as they clung to one another, memories of His time WITH them and His words TO them… encouragement from Jesus Himself. It had to have been a needed calm after the storm… a peace in their hearts giving them the ability to get back on track to do His work and to begin a new, exciting chapter.

This morning, as you remember the events of Lent, Holy Week and this Easter Monday, let the peace that all Christians have and that passes ALL understanding pervade your hearts and souls. That peace says that though there are times our lives are filled with Friday’s despair, loss and grief, and the emptiness and despondent hopelessness of Saturday, we know we can expect the blinding joy of Sunday when Christ rose in new life… and the blessed assurance that we will one day have the same. It’s Monday. We’ve mourned and now celebrated. It’s time to get to the business of doing Christ’s work.

Heather Eddy is the Assistant Director of Christian Education here at Sardis. She is a guest post crowd favorite! When she is not working with the Sardis children’s programs or assisting the Fellowship Committee, she spends time teaching Anatomy and Physiology to pre-Nursing college students and CPR to anyone who cares to know it, traveling to and from the Big Apple where her best friend Michelle currently resides and attempting to train her cats.

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