Tag Archives: sadness

Tearful but Productive

I’ve been crying a lot the last few days.  Whether it’s because of hormones, or because of sadness over the cats, it doesn’t matter really.  I’ve felt sad, and so I’ve been crying.  Or I’ve been frustrated, and so I’ve been crying.  Sometimes I’ve been angry, and so I’ve cried.  I’ve tried not to judge it too much and just see it as my psyche needing to purge extra feelings.

Not that I haven’t been entitled to extra feelings.  I’ve had a frustrating week, I feel.  I’ve been feeling the absence of the cats very keenly for some reason.  It was the same Moon sign as it was when YinYang died, and it was also the same time in my hormonal cycle as it was when I was dealing with both of their illnesses.

I’ve also been working on my book, which is always frustrating.  I do a little bit, and then get stuck.  Usually because I’m waiting on edits from other people.  I hate to put it that way because it makes me sound ungrateful, which I’m not.  I’m extremely grateful for the time other people are giving me towards editing or just plain reading and opinion-giving.  I’m starting to get really antsy, though.  I want to move forward, and I can’t.

As such, I’m trying to divert my need to write something into other projects, like the other two writing projects that grew out of the primary one: the travelogues, and the one I refer to as “tapestry” which is made of all of the photographs and letters and other objects from my grandmother that tells the story of the women in my family.  It sheds a lot of light on the relationship between the women in the family too, at least Mom and Gram anyway.  It’s interesting, especially when overlaid onto the history of the timespan it covers.  Unfortunately, it’s a fuckload of material.  There are letters that span over 70 years, and almost as many photographs.  Not to mention all of the genealogical information.  I’m drowning in all of that stuff.  It’s overwhelming.

The travelogues, on the other hand, are almost written.  Their drawback is that they’re dependent on the main project to make sense, to a certain extent.  Unless I remove all text that refers to the main storyline.  That would make them sound weird, though.  I don’t think they’d stand on their own, not all of them anyway.  I’d have to try it and see.

Then there are the blogs.  I have this one that I’ve been working on that I’m thinking of adopting a daily theme for.  I.e. Meditation Monday, Witchy Wednesday, so on and so forth.  It would make me stay on top of content and would hopefully draw more traffic.

I’ve also made another site that might not necessarily be a blog per se, but a place to put more formal articles and that is more about me and has my name for a title.  A site for a “writer”, as recommended by Writer’s Market, which I’ve been reading for the last two days in the absence of the ability to actually do any writing.  I also made a separate Twitter account and am thinking of making separate Facebook and LinkedIn accounts as well.  I had a LinkedIn account but recently deactivated it because it was pretty well useless.  Then again, I wasn’t using it specifically for writing purposes.

So this one will probably stay pretty much the same topic-wise, it will just get re-organized.  The other one will be more formal and will hold my articles that I spend more time and research on and will hold more biographical material.

Looks like I’m really serious about trying to be a professional writer after years of bellyaching about being an amateur one.

Ghost Feet

They say the fog moves in on little cat feet.  So do ghosts.  Mine do, anyway.  When I was a child, I had a cat who would jump onto the foot of my bed every night after I went to bed.  He’d nose open my bedroom door and *poomp* onto the bed he’d go.  So it went for a few years until he got sick and we had to put him to sleep due to a urinary blockage (something that is thankfully treatable these days).  I was in the third grade and absolutely heartbroken.  Sam was my best friend.  He died on the first day of school, which I always thought was a particularly cruel twist of fate.

In the days following his death, I swore up and down that I could still hear my door creak open at night and feel his feet hit the foot of my bed just like they used to.  Fortunately my mother was a fairly mystical creature and was open-minded to the notion that her daughter was being visited by the ghost of our dead cat, so she didn’t do anything to discourage the idea.

It hasn’t been since then, 1979, that my life has been such that I’ve been able to pay attention to such forces.  Not that I haven’t had pets die in that time period, but other energies have been in the way.  There was a Sam II, a lovely black-and-white critter who came with us from Michigan, and who was also my buddy.  He just up and disappeared in 1986, again breaking my heart.  There was no time or space to detect the subtle nuance of any spiritual return on his part, though: that was the year things began to go truly and horribly wrong at my house, and they would never be right again.  Then there as Bizarre, yet another beautiful creature who was all white with bi-colored eyes like David Bowie.  I gave her to friends when I went travelling, and she was regrettably hit by a car in my absence.  Since I was gone and she wasn’t really mine anymore, I didn’t get any visits from her that I noticed.

The next cat I got was Babalon, and if you’ve been reading in recent weeks, you should know her story by now, and of her kids.  I’ve missed their presence so.  The house is empty.  Babalon had a big personality despite being just a regular-sized cat, and YinYang had a personality twice the size of his massive body.  Samadhi is still here, but she was always overshadowed by the other two.  We love her of course, but she’s not her mother or brother, and I realize it’s not fair to compare her to the other two.  I can’t help it, though.  I miss them so much.

I’ve been “looking” for their presence in the house.  I remembered my experience with Sam, and I’ve desperately wanted something like that.  Well I think I have.  A couple of times the last week or so, I could have sworn I’ve heard Babalon’s faint yowling like she did before she died.  She’d just sit in an empty room and make these plaintive yowls like she wanted someone or something.  I’d always come to her and pet her and tell her everything was okay, and she’d lay back down.  And this morning, after I had awoken but before I had gotten up, just like with Sam, I felt the light footfall of two paws hitting the bed, just as Babalon would do in the morning when she had heard my alarm had gone off.

The only time I’ve felt YinYang’s presence was a couple of weeks ago when I was having a particularly hard sobbing fit of guilt and regret over having not recognized his illness sooner, and I had the distinct sensation of him by my feet walking around in a circle with the message of, “Don’t cry, it’s okay, I love you!”

I was glad for the message of reassurance, even if it might only be coming from my own subconscious, but it didn’t do anything to ease my missing him.  I suppose that’s one of those things that really is only healed by time.  I’ve learned in the last month and a half that grief comes in waves, like the ocean.  It washes over you until you think you might drown, and then it rolls back out so you can heave with breath on the shore.  They come slower and smaller over time, though.  I imagine at some point they’ll just be little waves lapping at my toes as I sit on the shore enjoying the shells of my memories.

Settling In

We’re trying to settle into our one-cat routine around here. The last month has just sucked giant donkey balls. Every little thing reminds us that we only have one cat now, like washing the food bowls. Samadhi’s perfectly happy to munch on her dry food, so there’s not much call for the other bowls any more. The last two or three that we used for Babalon last week got washed Monday, and I cleaned a couple more out of the fridge yesterday. All remnants from my attempts to get her to eat whatever I could. I knew it was a losing battle, but I was going to give it all I could for as long as I could. And so was she, little trooper. I put out so much tuna fish that even Samadhi is sick of it now.

I washed the last few rags and blankets related to Babalon’s last days as well, although I couldn’t bring myself to wash the blue-and-green blanket she slept on. I put it underneath the black shawl Samadhi likes to sleep on: maybe she’ll like having something that smells like her mama. She plainly misses her. The two of them slept together pretty much every single day, and even washed each other. Actually, it was rare for a day to go by that Babalon didn’t wash Samadhi. When I come home, she often yowls at me as if to tell me that the others are missing. I can only imagine how she must feel. If it’s anything like how we feel, it must be terrible.

I imagine this is the plight of the grieving everywhere, but I am trying desperately to keep my mental face pointed forward instead of getting mired down in hindsight and regret. Part of me keeps trying to get really angry at the vet tech who essentially ruined our experience with Babalon at the vet last week when she failed to take her to the back to be cleaned and to have her pawprints taken, but the rest of me is trying to take the experience in as a whole and remember all of the circumstances that created it. It wasn’t her fault: it wasn’t anyone’s fault. It was just a shitty set of circumstances piled on top of an already shitty situation, and there’s nothing to be done about it. It just sucks, and I can’t do anything about it except feel bad. And in the big scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change anything, and not having that set of pawprints doesn’t make me miss her more or anything like that. My expectations that were set with YinYang’s death weren’t met, and that’s all.

Then there’s all of the things that I’m noticing now that they’re gone, mostly related to how much water they were drinking. I’ve never had cats with kidney disease so these aren’t things that I could have known or noticed, but now that I AM noticing them, I still feel bad. YinYang had been sucking down huge amounts of water for years, and I thought it was just because he was staying indoors more. So had Babalon. Now that it’s just Samadhi, she’s drinking what I now remember as being what a single healthy cat drinks in a day, which really isn’t all that much. The water bowl we’ve been using looks gargantuan compared to what she actually needs. And the catbox looks similarly gargantuan now that there’s just one cat using it and there aren’t massive balls of urine clumped up in it.

I wish I had known what I was looking at. I know it’s not my fault and that I took really really good care of those cats and that they lived for a really really long time despite being ill. I still wish I had known, and I still really, really miss my cats. My house seems empty without them. It was sad to cook chicken last night and not be bothered by Babalon.

I know this will happen a lot, and probably without warning. Being struck by sadness. And then there will be the things that I know will make me sad, like eating yogurt. Scraping the sides of a yogurt container will always remind me of YinYang and the way he waited for the last spoonful. Chicken and raw meat in general will always remind me of Babalon. That green-and-blue blanket. Sitting down to visit in the yoga room. Maybe that’s what they mean when they say that the ones we love never really leave us.

Wrung Out

I feel very wrung out today.  There is, of course, the trauma of burying the cat yesterday on top of having to bury the other cat just a month ago.  There was also the dredging up of any bad feelings that might have existed regarding the other cat’s death.  His decline in health was so sudden that I still feel a great deal of guilt in missing the signs, even though we couldn’t have afforded to remedy them even if we had noticed.  It’s just hindsight kicking me in the ass.  I bet if I researched grief, it’s something everyone does.

There were also bad feelings surrounding Mama’s death that didn’t fully bother me until today.  YinYang’s death was handled so gracefully by the vet’s office.  Death is a messy business, and what is in typically comes out, shall we say.  They were nice enough to take him away and get him cleaned up before I took him home.  That didn’t happen yesterday.  Once Mama had passed, the doctor had to run off to tend to a dog that was having seizures, and they were short staffed due to people calling in sick so the vet tech that was assisting didn’t have any help.  And she really needed it because she had only been there a couple of months and wasn’t very experienced, particularly not in that kind of situation.  She just kind of stood there awkwardly while we tried to bundle our cat into the carrier.  She didn’t offer to clean her up, and no one took her pawprints (they took YinYang’s pawprints in clay and sent them to us a couple of weeks later, which we very touched by).  We felt hurried and uncared for and wondered if it was because we hadn’t been in and out of the clinic in the days before her death, spending hundreds of dollars the way we had been with YinYang.  After a sad letter to the vet, we were very apologetically assured that was not the case and the circumstances were explained to us.

I feel better after their kind response to my letter, but it was an unpleasant contrast to our prior experience with the other cat.  I know that from a physical standpoint, the mess is insignificant.  It is merely part of the cycle of life and death.  And I have many ways of remembering Mama other than having her pawprints.  I  just wish that we had not been left with those bad feelings, particularly with something like this.  I also know that I would feel terrible no matter what.  I will take that knowledge along with the vet’s sincere apologies and move forward, but I am still very tired in the soul today.

And Then There Was One

We took our sweet MamaKitty to the vet this morning to be put to sleep.  In much the same way as her son YinYang, she had greatly degraded in health in recent weeks.  Just more slowly.  By the time we decided that today was to be her last day with us, she was having trouble walking, was eating and drinking less and less, and hadn’t purred in days or weeks.  It was obviously her time to go.

The only thing that made me doubt our decision in the slightest, and then only fleetingly, was that she still wanted to be with us.  But she had always wanted to be with us.  She had always shown the highest gratitude for the life we had given her.  New Year’s Eve, 1996, I finally let her freezing, pregnant self into my kitchen to eat tuna fish.  I got tired of seeing her huddled next to the steam vent on my furnace outside when she had a perfectly good home next door that was neglecting her.  She was one of a pack of mostly and completely feral cats that roamed the block, and she was the only one friendly enough to let me touch her.  In fact, she was very friendly and would let me pick her up.  That’s how I discovered she was pregnant.

Our landlord had given tentative permission to have a cat but only with further discussion.  Further discussion be damned, I let the poor thing in.  She was starving, and let me know just how much by the plaintive wail and platter-sized eyes she displayed when I started opening the can of tuna fish.  She scarfed an entire family sized can of tuna in less than twenty minutes.  I left the back door open so she could do as she wished.  Within a couple of hours, she was curled up on my couch.  And so Babalon came to live with us.

She was very thin and fattened up so much over the next couple of weeks that you couldn’t tell she was pregnant any more, but that changed after another couple of weeks.  Before long, she looked like she had a large cantaloupe in her belly.  She slowly grew unable to lay on her belly, and then her side, and was eventually only able to sleep mostly on her back, partly propped up by her belly undulating with baby kittens.  She grew very insistent about asking for her food in the morning.

I knew that cats like to hole up somewhere private to have their babies, so I made a nice spot for her out of a large cardboard box once home to a stereo.  I taped up the bottom flap so it had a protective wall and propped the upper flap up on the sides so it had a bit of a protective roof, and put it in the corner of the bedroom.  One evening she kept coming up to me with an anxious expression on her face and repeatedly walked back to her box.  I walked back with her and encouraged her to hop into the box, which she did.  I walked away, and she followed me.  We repeated the dance a few times.  Finally I brought the box out next to the computer where I sat every evening.  Happy, she jumped in and laid down.

A while later she issued a single loud growl, and didn’t make a single sound for the rest of the night except to brace her paws against the sides of the box to push.  Her first baby was born at 12:45 am, Valentine’s Day, 1997.  That was YinYang, her only son, who died last month.  The rest were all girls, each one born about 45 minutes apart.  The last one was the runt, who I only knew was the runt because Mama tried to ignore her by laying on her rather than putting her with the others to nurse.  An awful squalling came from the box.  I quickly looked in to see what was wrong, saw the kitten underneath Mama’s back, and carefully picked it up and put it with its siblings.  She eyeballed me warily but didn’t object.  She would try to abandon that kitten twice more over the next week, but I would have none of it.  She gave up after the third try.  That would be Samadhi, now our last surviving cat, ironically.

The other kittens found homes and eventually we had our happy little trinity of cats.  Babalon became our shadow.  We lived a block or two from a convenience store and went there frequently for smokes, beer, and the like.  She always followed us to the corner, waited in the bushes of the house there, and followed us back home, or walked in front of us.  She was a beautiful cat, a tabby point Siamese, and as such the bottoms of her feet were black, so it looked like she was floating if you walked behind her at night.  When I was pregnant and we frequently walked up the hill to the local university, she also followed us.  She followed us so far one night that she exhausted herself and we had to make her stay home after that.  She waited for us, though, right where we had left her when she couldn’t follow us any more.  She must have walked through a dozen other cats’ territories, but she was going to stick with us.

She was an awesome mother, too.  Not just to her own children, but also to mine.  When we brought our daughter home from the hospital, she looked at her very oddly, but in a special way that I suppose Mother Nature reserves between all mothers and children.  As if to say, “Ah! You made another one!”  Our daughter was a fairly demanding baby and cried a lot.  If she had been crying for too long or too loudly, even if we were right there with her, Babalon would come up to us and plaintively meow and look at us as if to notify us that we really needed to be tending to this problem now, it was important.  As our daughter grew older and got to the tail-grabbing stage, she was very patient with her and didn’t get the claws out until it was really necessary, and even then she looked very sheepish and apologetic about it.  “Sorry, I didn’t mean to!”

I’ve never had such a beautiful cat, either.  She had a very long tail with beautiful rings of black and brown, and the combination of the tabby stripes and Siamese coloration gave her the most gorgeous face and markings.  She was every color of brown from the lightest to the darkest.  It was a privilege to have been graced by such a creature for so long.  She was nearly 17 at the time of her death, almost precisely four weeks to the minute after her son died.

There are now two small mounds in the back of our yard.  The cat statue stands between them, on guard.  We have had quite enough of death at our house for a while.  My husband would very much like to not have to dig any more small graves, and I would like to not have to cut any more death shrouds.  We are now a one-cat house.  It will seem very quiet, at least when she’s not yelling at us (Samadhi definitely got the Siamese vocal cords in the cat family).  We will do our very best to relish our time with her.

Fair sailing to the Great Catnip Field in the Sky, Babalon.

Beautiful Babalon

The Four Noble Truths

The fundamental philosophy of Buddhism is The Four Noble Truths:

Life means suffering.
The origin of suffering is attachment.
The cessation of suffering is attainable.
There is a path to the cessation of suffering via the Eightfold Path.

What’s important to my essay here isn’t the Eightfold Path, but the notion of attachment.  I’ve become keenly aware of the concept in the last couple of weeks in the wake of the death of the cat.  I know there are probably people out there who are like, “Jesus Christ, it’s a cat. Get over it.”  I suppose those people have never had a deep and meaningful relationship with a pet.  And I admit that society’s “get over it” voice is trying to creep into my head, and I keep pushing it right back out.  That cat came into the world two feet away from me and left the world in my lap.  I think I’m entitled to some sadness.

And I’m perfectly aware that that sadness is the result of attachment.  If I were not attached to the cat, I would not be sad that he is gone.  I’m also perfectly aware that even the most devout Buddhist monk w0uld likely be at least a little diminished in demeanor if someone or something they were used to were suddenly gone.  Perfect detachment is for the Bodhisattva, not us mere mortals.  Nevertheless, to contemplate our attachment to things is a worthy endeavour.

Just exactly why was I attached to that cat so much?  I’ve never loved a cat in my entire life like I loved that cat, with the possible exception of my cat Sam who moved to Texas with me from Michigan.  Actually, I had two Sams growing up, and I adored them both.  Still, I had never had a cat as long as I had Yin-Yang, and I had certainly never had a cat since birth.  There was something special about being privileged enough to be a a part of his and his siblings’ birth, since his mother wouldn’t leave my side.  Watching him slowly open his eyes after a couple of weeks was just wonderful.

I learned a lot about cats that I didn’t know before by being a part of that process and by raising the kittens.  It made me feel like I was truly a part of their lives in a way that I had never felt with other cats.  Sure, with the others, we were a part of each others’ lives, but there’s an intimacy that goes along with birth and upraising that adds a completely different element to a relationship with a pet.

Then I had to pick who I was going to keep out of the five kittens.  Oh dear.  That was so hard.  In the end, I kept the biggest and the smallest.  When MamaCat was pregnant, I wished that she would have a big boy cat that I could cuddle with, and that’s exactly what I got.  I felt like he was the answer to a prayer.  His existence became inextricably intertwined with my own.

And that’s why it was so painful when he was gone.  It was like rending fabric apart.  We were truly attached.  And there really was great suffering when that attachment was separated.

I have no problem with the first two Noble Truths.  Life is suffering, and suffering is caused by attachment. Got it.  The next two Noble Truths, I struggle with greatly.  I can accept that there is a path that can ease suffering by easing attachment and that the Eightfold Path is the way to easing that suffering and attachment, but I have extreme difficulty understanding how it is that I can have meaningful relationships with people (and animals) without being attached to them.  If I’m not attached to them, then where is the meaning?  How can I incorporate the last two Noble Truths and still live a fulfilling life?

This is where my greatest philosophical crisis occurs with Buddhism, and I imagine I am not the only Buddhist who feels this way (in fact, if I knew more Buddhists, I would probably discover that this is the main stumbling block for all Buddhists).  Envisioning myself interacting with the world without attachment feels so distant, though I know that’s not what it’s supposed to feel like.  I know that the lack of attachment is directly related to the goal of Buddhism and meditation to “be here now”.  To truly appreciate each moment, each thing, each person for what it is right there and then without consideration for the past or future, for it is those temporal considerations that cause attachment.  If we have no notion of the future, then there’s no reason to be attached to anything.  And “be here now” is supposed to be a greater experience than anything we run across in daily life, so I shouldn’t feel that a lack of attachment should diminish my experience of life.

Still, my brain has a lot of trouble with the concept of banishing attachment.  It wants to stay attached to things for some reason.  I’m sure there’s a Buddhist concept and term for that desire and a way to deal with it, and I’m sure I’ll run across it at some point.  For now, though, I’ll have to deal on my own with my philosophical crisis regarding attachment.

And for reference, the Eightfold Path:

Right Understanding
Right Thought
Right Speech
Right Action
Right Livelihood
Right Effort
Right Mindfulness
Right Concentration

Compromise, Cat News

After my rant about games the other day, I realized that my attitudes were very much based in my own experiences growing up and not so much in today’s reality of game playing, at least not as it relates to my own family.  My family is made up of nice people who aren’t jerks, even when they are playing games.  The same can be said of my other game playing friends.  Just as I now do not associate with the greater relatively uneducated population, neither did I feel any particular kinship with it when I was growing up.  So it’s inappropriate of me to apply experiences from one sphere to another.  (Yes,  I know that sounds incredibly snotty and elitist of me, but I can’t help having a really high IQ.  It makes it really hard to be around less intelligent people sometimes, and not because I’m being judgmental of them.  It’s really my own problem for not being able to moderate my own impatience.  Anyway.)

With that in mind, and with temporal fairness in mind, we came up with a better plan for how to approach games and screen time in general, not just for summer but hopefully for the school year as well.  First we had to distinguish the difference between ‘good’ screen time and ‘bad’ screen time.  “Bad” being a completely relative term, not a judgmental one.  “Good” screen time involves imagination and creativity.  As such, a game like Minecraft totally counts as ‘good’ screen time since its entire point is the creation of new worlds.  Reading on a screen counts as ‘good’ screen time.  Watching educational shows or documentaries counts as ‘good’ screen time.

“Bad” screen time is what we decided to call “brain candy”: screen time that has absolutely no creative, imaginative, or intellectual value and is for sheer entertainment purposes only.  Non-creative games are brain candy, though this gets a little fuzzy when it comes to puzzle-solving games like Portal.  Reading Facebook is brain candy.  Pinning to Pinterest is brain candy.  Watching television shows and movies is brain candy.

After making those distinctions, we had to come up with scheduling.  During the summer, at least during the weeks when our daughter’s summer camps aren’t in session, we’re both home during the day and so we need to divide the time up appropriately so that everyone gets equal time on the computer.  We decided each person should get four hours a day on the computer, whether good or bad screen time, with Daddy getting dibs on the evening hours since he’s at work all day.  During weeks when our daughter is in camp, we’ll have to come up with a different plan, but between the computer, the Playstation, and our daughter’s iPod and 3DS, I bet we can come up with something.

We also decided that no one should get more than three hours of brain candy time a day, adults included (summer schedule: that goes down to two hours during the school year).  We also decided that the person has to do something else after two hours that isn’t brain candy and that we should remember to get up and move around at least once an hour when we’re on a screen to avoid leg compression and repetitive stress injuries.

Other stipulations for our daughter are that she must read two hours a day (on a screen is okay), and she must draw for one hour a day (again, on a screen is okay).  It’s just very important to me that she keep her imagination active, and I know that’s the real worry of the “screens are bad” camp of people.  They don’t want kids or adults with bricks for brains who can’t think for themselves (though it can be argued that our entire society’s goal is to keep people from thinking for themselves, but that’s another very long post).  We’re also going to use timers so that there isn’t any question about how long someone has been doing a particular thing.  I think this plan will ward off a lot of fights over the summer.

In other news, our MamaCat is making a miraculous recovery.  Last week, I didn’t think she was going to live through the weekend, she was looking so poorly.  She was having a hard time walking and was having difficulty making it all the way to the catbox on occasion.  I decided she was on her last days and that I should just give her whatever she wanted, so I started feeding her nothing but tuna fish, seeing as how she wouldn’t eat anything else anyway.  She pretty much scarfed it down along with the water that the tuna was packed in.  She has kidney disease, which demands a low-protein diet according to vets, so I was certain that the pure meat diet would do her in.

She kept hanging in there, though, despite my not being able to give her any meds: she just threw them back up.  After a few days, her appearance seriously improved and she even put on a little bit of weight.  Her fur looks better, and she’s not holed up in the bedroom like she has been for the last week.  She’s also eating food other than tuna now, which is another positive sign.  I think it’s too early to throw in the towel on the old girl quite yet!

Her turnaround on the tuna makes me second-guess myself about Yin-Yang.  What if I had tried to feed him tuna those last few days?  What if that had made him turn around?  Did I give up too soon?  I don’t think it would have helped.  He was so full of toxins by the time I was able to take him to the vet that it would have been almost impossible to flush them out without aggravating his heart condition.  Now that I’ve had a couple of weeks to review his health and behavior for the last few years, it’s quite evident that he was ill for several years longer than I originally thought, given the amount of water he was drinking for the last several years of his life.  Like, he had probably had kidney disease for at least five years if not more.  Longer than his mother, much longer.  Each cat responds to kidney disease completely differently, and he also had heart disease (which makes me guilty because he was always a bit overweight).

I really shouldn’t be beating myself up about his death, seriously.  I just really, really miss him, and I’m trying hard not to feel like I failed him somehow (which is so stupid: my friends tell me they want to come back as one of my cats, I spoil them so).  I just want so badly to be able to turn back time and do some things differently.  Hindsight and all that.  I keep getting jolted by little reminders that he’s not here, like looking for a photo on my phone and running across one that I took of him.  Or eating my yogurt and getting to the end.  He always liked me to scrape the last bits of yogurt out of the container and let him lick it off my spoon.  He’d sit patiently while I ate it and then stand up to get his treat at the end.  Just normal things, like noticing an overall reduction in food and water intake as well as a cleaner catbox, remind me that he’s not here any more.

I’ve had to get rid of several things that I just couldn’t bear to look at any more because they reminded me of his last couple of months with us.  My daughter and I agree that we’ll have to replace the purple rugs in her room where he slept most of those last couple of months, because we keep looking for him there.  There are other spots in the house where I reflexively look for him, and I suppose I will for a long time.  Fifteen years is a long time to get used to someone’s presence.

For now, though, I will try to focus on the happiness that is MamaCat’s recovery and enjoy not only her time with us, but also our other cat Samadhi’s increased attention and affection.  She’s a sweet cat who is exhibiting new behaviors now that her brother is gone.  It’s neat to experience them.