I resent that other people have emotions. That they have weight. I resent that other people must need to take space during a time when I cannot hold the weight of my own emotions. I wish I didn’t have to be a mother when I’m very sad. I wish other people would be fine without me. I wish I could just fall into the donut hole of myself and stay there until I feel better. Once the weight becomes not so smothering.
Sixteen years ago I got a kitten. She came from a box behind a grocery store. She was riddled with mites and ticks. We took care of her very closely, our first medically complicated mammal-friend.
She grew up so loving that it was annoying. She couldn’t take no for an answer. I tried to give her to my sister so I wouldn’t have to keep dealing with that tortoiseshell attitude, but at the last moment, I got way too sad. I loved her much more than I recognized.
So she stayed.
I don’t want to remember everything because it just makes me feel sad.
The cost of loving very, very much is hurting very, very much when something ends. And everything ends eventually. You know you’ve been lucky if it hurts a lot.
They say that our little mammal-friends give us the best years of our life, and then the single worst day of our lives.
This is the last of the cats my husband and I had before we got married. She was a little box baby found in a Walmart parking lot. We nurtured her through ear mites and ticks and watched her grow into the biggest personality. After I had Moonlight, thirteen years ago, little Miss Annie ate one of their baby bottle nipples and needed $3000 surgery to remove it. I spent a while calling her the other things I could have used that money for. “Little Miss Caribbean Vacation.” “Little Miss Used Car.”
When Little Sunshine was born, Annie used to curl up in bed with both of us and lick the baby’s head. She would put him down for naps like that. When he went through the grabby baby hand stage, she loved it and would position herself so that he could squeeze her face.
We chose not to remove a tumor that developed on her shoulder. It grew very aggressively, and she couldn’t compete with her siblings for food/water anymore, so we gave her the entire spare bedroom as an apartment. It helped her perk up a ton. She spent her last year in there getting multiple daily visits, where I would groom and tend her, and we would snuggle extensively. I loved her more in this last year than I have ever loved a cat. Something about taking care of someone who is sick becomes so intimate.
Her tumor became so large, it really bothered her. She seemed worn out. I made a little sweater for her with a webbing inside to hold crocheted cotton bandages, that way we could cover the tumor and the kids could still visit. But she was so tired. It was time. I miss her already.
There is no dying without regret. It’s one of the things that makes it so hard. You can’t do it perfectly. It’s like how you can make a birth plan when you’re pregnant, listing out all your preferences, but your body and baby will decide how it happens. Death never comes at the right time. It’s never pretty. It is hard and unpleasant.
I do think we will meet again someday, somehow, in some form.
I truly believe that.