In the midst of grief, I found solace in the music of NCT Dream. Music is one of my favorite healing techniques.

The passing of my two Cats this year, after a difficult morale-draining battle with Chronic Kidney Disease, left me lost. I was heartbroken and all the more fearful of death. On a normal day, I am already mortified about my own mortality, what more the horror of losing my Cats and loved ones.

My last article titled Haunted by Grief had me thinking I would be okay once I conquered sadness. I was wrong. Reflecting and coming to terms with the effect of grief, this article proved difficult to finish. I immersed myself in countless grief talks and devoured varying articles about death and impermanence.

Amid a ridiculous number of quotes for inspiration, I still managed to stress myself out, thinking I would finally understand grief. The harder I tried, the more anxious I became.


It might be that I have a negative reaction to death to begin with. The identity I built around having a Rabbit who lived for 13.5 years under my care was shattered when my Cat Fighter crossed the rainbow bridge at the age of six.

Death does not occur only in old age. Death is not always chronological. While long life is an enormous blessing, short life does not always mean failure, or worse, a curse. At the very core of this pain, I am thankful for all the days we spent together.

The physical separation from another life is only the start. I, in turn, have to say goodbye to my unhealthy view on death that only caused me undue suffering. Life is a perpetual masterclass in letting go. Clinging only extends the hurt and diminishes what the present moment offers.

Creamo, my emo Cat, is probably like me
in some ways, being impatient and easily triggered by life.


Time didn’t stop, and adult responsibilities demanded their due attention as I faced the empty spaces left by my departed ones. Life still went on at the very same time that death also went on. One would think there would be a rest period for a heart that grieves, but the reality that everything comes to an end is ever present.

The natural life cycle of every living being goes on and on regardless of circumstance. Like time, if you try so hard to cling to life, it only slips away more easily.


I remember my heart sinking when the vet mentioned the phrase “quality of life.” Quality of life is often discussed and prioritized when medical intervention no longer benefits the patient.

That got me thinking that I had to rebuild again from ground zero by examining the quality of my life. If I were to improve the quality of my life on the daily, perhaps it would change the trajectory of what the rest of my days with my loved ones would be like.

This experience, albeit traumatic, begs to give me clarity and lessons in return. There were many days when the journey felt like a spiral. I would like to face the future head on being wise rather than wounded.

Perhaps I will be transformed and can better accept that death is not the opposite of life. Birth is the opposite of death; one cannot exist without the other. Life is the continuum of birth and death. Ruminating on death only turned me into a ghost.

I must also emulate my 13-year old Cat Mini who remains like a kitten: playful and with lots of energy.


We live a finite existence. It seems my Cats know this better than I do. I often see my soul Cat CC by the window soaking up the sunshine and sitting straight as if meditating. If I could transmute my fear into consciousness and cultivate pleasantness within myself, maybe that would lead me to the life-altering path I seek.

Rabindranath Tagore once said, “That I exist is a perpetual surprise which is life.” This pleasant surprise, this joy cannot be extracted from people, other living beings, feelings, and experiences. Things, living beings, experiences both good and bad, emotions, all come to pass.

Funny how, if I focus on the Now, I somehow tap into infinity amid boundaries of life. This profound joy is available with every inhale and exhale. Joy expressed is love. Love and its inherent sweetness transcend death.

Gia Lara is an experienced pet photographer and content creator. She is widely interested in telling stories and expressing herself through visual art and the written word. More bite-sized stories and photos of cute felines can be found on her Instagram @petograpiya.