it's a tough time of year for many WAS the title of this post I started on December 17. It was going to be about the extra exploitation (and increased deaths) that animals face during the holidays, the usual seasonal pressures and stress, and the specific anxieties vegans would have to face.
That was two days before I knew that the time would get even tougher for some of us. On December 19, I brought my cat to the vet for the last time. On December 22, a co-worker lost her dad. And on December 25, a resident in the home I work for lost his daughter, and a dear friend of mine had to say good-bye to HER cat. Too many deaths in one week, and especially heartbreaking on Christmas Day. Sadly though, there are always too many deaths on any day of the year.
I miss my kitty, although am grateful to have been graced by her presence for 14 years. The first week was especially tough as I felt her absence acutely, and slowly had to adjust to all the habits that no longer included her, and the tasks that no longer had to be done. A book I had bought earlier that I felt might be useful in the future once my mom passed (The Geography of Loss by Patti Digh), I now read as a way to grieve for Kazumi. And one paragraph early on talking about how all of us have to cope with pain had me smiling:
This is true of Democrats and it is true of Republicans and libertarians and independents and hockey moms and socialists and communists and transgender men and women and lesbians and vegans and high school jocks and small children and that mean old woman who yelled at me in the library parking lot yesterday and unlovable people, too.
But this is January and I want to continue my tradition of beginning the year with a post that is at least somewhat hopeful or inspiring, because as vegans we know all too well that while too much death will continue to happen this year, we cannot let that deter us from trying to make change. So I want to include another quote from the book above that I liked:
The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in, under its roof. -- BARBARA KINGSOLVER, Animal Dreams
And this from one of the most hopeful and optimistic vegans I know:
Also from Colleen:
The problem isn't that we wake up in the morning wanting to contribute to cruelty or violence. The problem is we don't wake up in the morning wanting to create more compassion, peace, and nonviolence. If that were on our to-do list every day, imagine what we could accomplish. Imagine what our world would be like. -- COLLEEN PATRICK-GOUDREAU, Vegan's Daily Companion
So let 2016 be a year where we can celebrate fewer animal deaths, and many more people putting peace on their plates and to-do lists. And lastly, a lovely and more proper New Year's post from one of the saner vegan voices out there: New Year, Same Old (Vegan) Me