He doesn’t notice that Death is watching his every move.

On my way to Vons to pick up a variety of food that our beautiful fifteen year old cat, Pretty Boy Floyd, AKA Skinny, might want to eat, I decided to stop at Full of Beans and get a cappuccino. Stepping up to the counter, the cashier announced, “I just want to tell you our credit card machine is not working and I can only take cash.”

I ordered my cappuccino, paid for it in cash and waited as it was being prepared. I couldn’t help overhearing a gentleman in the coffee cafe confessing his financial problems to a friend about his bank account that was $800 overdrawn because of a mistake his wife had made.

Walking my perfectly prepared “cuppa chino” out to the garden patio I passed by a beautiful elderly woman dressed in casual gray attire with a pearl necklace and an adorable little gray hat. She looked up at me, smiled and said hello. That was sweet, like the color and character of Floyd.

Once I slipped through the back door, I looked around the garden patio and chose a table off to the side where Robert and I had sat enjoying a little lunch, at another moment in time.

It’s so interesting … listening to the cacophony of sounds here in Ojai. It’s a quiet symphony – opposed to morning sounds in a big city – like Los Angeles from where I have recently moved. The morning doves cooing, the occasional swoosh of scant traffic from route 33, a radio playing from someone’s car in the laundromat parking lot next door. It all contributes to the natural music and rhythm of this patio.

But the striking point for me this very sad morning, is that everybody has their problems. Today, mine is mourning the inevitable loss of my beloved Pretty Boy Floyd. Yesterday’s visit to the vet revealed the debilitating news that he has oral cancer which has spread into his lymph glands. His swollen tongue, in addition to the tumor growing in his neck will very soon impair his ability to eat or swallow. She suspects we have a couple more weeks with him – at best. Therefore my heart is heavy and my spirit dampered. But … this is part of life.

There is no escaping “it.” Each and everyone of us is born, lives, has a lot of problems to surmount and hopefully periodic joyful moments – and then dies. As we flow down the river of Life, may we keep in mind that our time here – although it seems eternal – certainly is not. At least not on this plane … This dimension.

So let’s remember the cycle of life, and cherish the time we have together. Make the most of the beauty and let the ugliness go. Be kind and patient (as Skinny would order the world). Truthfully … the only thing that really matters in our lifetime is love and the relationships we cultivate that feed and nourish ourselves and others.

And regarding Death … as my sister Harriet, so aptly put, “it’s very abstract … until it is not.”