Kahuna – The Cat Who Didn’t Die
I’ve never been married and never had children, but I have had cats. And when I have cats I am a doting and devoted cat mother. I treat my cats like people. When they are sick everything else is put on hold and I do whatever it takes to help them heal. When they die I want to scream and wail, but I am too afraid, because the intensity of that scream will shatter me into a million pieces and nothing will be able to put me back together again, ever.
Right now I am cat-less. And I have discovered something quite extraordinary… that even though the vet put my last cat to sleep while he lay in my arms, and three days later I carried his cold and heavy-as-stone body to the grave dug a few feet from my caravan home, he is not gone. He may have stepped out of his worn out ‘cat suit’ but he is as alive as he ever was… maybe in some strange way even more so.
There are two boundaries in life we’ve been taught to believe are incontrovertible fact. The first is that our skin is the boundary of each individual, whether human, feline or even insect and that the whole of us is contained within this ‘bag’. Second that we end when we die. When heart and brain function stop we exist no longer. But what if neither of these is true? What if we don’t end at our skin and death is simply a doorway to a different realm of existence?
This particular exploration begun with my darling little Schrodie – my very first cat, and developed through my love of my next cats Dilly and Rovy. But this message I received most powerfully from my cat Kahuna as he took me with him on his journey, the one we normally consider the Final One.
As I travel through my 60s I am fascinated to step that bit closer in exploring what is on the other side. I remember a few years ago sitting in a beautiful park on the edge of London taking myself on my own guided meditation to step over that boundary between life and death. As I imagined taking a step across that line I lost all sense of up and down, right or left and even in and out. I somersaulted amidst unknown energies until I frightened myself. I wondered if this was a sensible experience to undertake entirely alone – perhaps I would actually die – and with that I stepped back out hurriedly. It took a while before my vision stopped whirling around me and I was deeply thankful I hadn’t lost my way.
This story is my journey of exploring beyond the boundary of my skin and eventually beyond the boundary of death. I learned I didn’t need to scream and wail at my loss, I didn’t need to shatter into a million pieces and I didn’t even need to feel alone.
If you are frightened of grief, certain you’ll be lost in its turbulence and unable to endure the pain, then this is a valuable book to read. You’ll get through a number of tissues as you dive with me but I urge you to stick with it through the sadness because the message of life and love is so profound. It is a journey from grief to gratitude, from the dark of loss to the light of love and its forever connection.
Kahuna, truly a king among cats, is my extraordinary guide. Will you allow him to be yours too?
“Kahuna – The Cat Who Didn’t Die appears to be for cat-lovers, but in reality is for anyone interested in what life really is and how it shows up. Francesca speaks of Kahuna stepping out of his tired and worn-out cat suit when death occurs, and just like this, humans also step out of their human-suits when their time has come. This is exactly what I experienced when my husband died, and so I was easily able to identify with the essence of Kahuna and how that showed up for this gifted author, both before death of the body and after.
“A tender and loving book, Francesca has a beautiful way with words, which brings to life the image portrayed in such a way that I often felt I was there, alongside her and Kahuna. I would recommend it to animal lovers and life-lovers alike. There are also great questions to help the reader to explore the themes more deeply.”
JANE DUNCAN ROGERS, award-winning life and death coach, founder of Before I Go Solutions, author of Before I Go – The Essential Guide to Creating a Good End of Life Plan and Gifted By Grief – A True Story of Cancer, Loss and Rebirth.
Kahuna – The Cat Who Didn’t Die
by Francesca Cassini
First published 2018 by Silver Tent Publishing
Illustrated with colour and black & white photographs
Also by Francesca Cassini Together We Rock
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