This may seem like the silliest post you’ve ever read. At first. After I’ve told you more, perhaps it doesn’t seem as silly. How many losses can humans bear, before they start to break? That is on my mind today. Are we really invincible, or is there a point when it all gets too much? If there is, perhaps that point isn’t the most “obvious” one. It may not be the loss that seems the heaviest one to bear, at first. But maybe, one of the “smaller” losses, after several heavy ones, will be the proverbial “straw that breaks the camel’s back”?
For those of you that know me here already, you know I’ve suffered many, many losses in the last few years. For those of you who don’t know me, I can quickly recap: In the last few years, I’ve lost the two “great loves” of my life (not dead, but gone. One of them was the narcissist, which added real trauma into the mix of loss/grief). Also lost my stepfather (cancer), and my best friend since 20 years (cancer), and a family friend (sudden illness), and basically almost all of my other previous friends I had in my younger days (they disappeared into “the swamp of matrimony” and haven’t been heard from since). Oh, and around Christmas, my mother’s boyfriend had a heart attack and nearly died, too. Suffice it to say, today in my life, I’m rather lonely. I live alone, and have no children and no partner. I have one or two friends and a few family members. I try to meet up with them once in a while, but due to work and their busy schedules too, it’s not too often we meet up.
So, there’s the backstory. Now, back to the loss that’s about to hit me. The silly loss in the near future.
It’s my cat. I know, right? You’re thinking: A cat?! But let me tell you about him, so you will understand who he is. I’ve had Mr. Cat since….1998. That is, since the same year I moved out of my mother’s home, to live on my own. I was eighteen years old then; I am now thirtysix years old. This creature has been with me all my adult life. Mr. Cat is now eighteen years old, himself. In human years, I don’t know, but…very old. Eighteen years is a long time. Like a fool, I’ve been telling myself he’ll never die. He’ll always stay with me.
He was the one who was always there for me, when all others went away, for some reason or other. During and after the narcissistic relationship,the trauma and loss that that entailed, this cat always managed to provide comfort. As if he was human. I don’t cry very often, but when I’ve cried, releasing some of the grief about the narcissist, remarkably enough, my cat has known what was going on. He’s come into my lap, not only that, he’s “consoled” me, by putting his tiny little face near my face and neck, and head bunting, his little nose and cheeks against mine. All to make me feel better. He hasn’t been his normal, lively self, in doing this. No, all solemn, serious, quiet. His moves very slow, as if he’s known that is what grief demands. I can not explain this fully, but I know he’s sensed my feelings, and tried to “be there” for me.
My mother watched him once, over a weekend. I lived in a lively suburb, next to a street with heavy traffic. It was November and cold as hell. I returned to find a note that “she couldn’t find him”, and she “might have left the balcony door open”. I’ve never been so furious with my mother, before or after that. When I pictured his little body, shivering in the cold, starving, underneath a pine tree somewhere, I wept. For hours. Until I found him, hidden deep within a closet.
Mr. Cat is not doing so well anymore. I’ve had him for eighteen years, so I see there is clearly something wrong with him. I fear he won’t live out the year, perhaps not even the summer. Up until recently, he’s still been his lively self.
But now, he is so…. still. Slow. Silent. Like he’s preparing to go to the other side. I fear that his concern and caring for me, is a big part of what still holds him here on Earth. Some of you may think it “gross”, but he’s shared my pillow, ever since he was a babe. (He’s very clean and I’ve never had health issues because of it). He’s put his tiny face against my neck, purred and fallen asleep. He even changed his daily rhythm, for me. Cats are night creatures by nature, but if I stayed up too late (after midnight), he positioned himself by the bed and meowed a “sad tune”, until I realized it was bedtime, and came to join him. At the hour I should go to sleep…
I’ve deciced to start looking for a kitten. Not as a replacement, no. No cat could ever replace Mr. Cat, in seeing me through my adult life, from eighteen to thirtysix. But, as a “cushion”, you know? A way of reducing the extreme emptiness that would follow the death of Mr. Cat. Seeing as I have no children, he is “sort of” my child. I know he can’t compare to a child, in that way. But to me, he is sort of the equivalent of that, anyway.
I’ll have to take him to the vet. Soon. To his doom. I fear it. I’ve been in denial, but I know I have to. Within the next few weeks. I would never want him to suffer needlessly. He’s never shown signs of pain, but if the vet says he’s in pain, I would make the hard choice, without hesitation. That’s the least I can do, to not let him go through pain. But why is it so hard? Perhaps because it means letting go of the one friend who’s been there for me, through it all. I don’t care if I sound pathetic, in saying that. If it means I’m pathetic, so be it. As much love as Mr. Cat has given me, I don’t believe I’ve received to this day, from any human being. He’s always been there; longer than any man that proclaimed to love me to the end of days…
How will I bear this loss? I’ve no idea. Eighteen years is a very long time. And I must echo one of the memorable quotes on loss, from Game of Thrones: “Seven kingdoms couldn’t fill the hole he left behind”. I’m not sure we recover from all losses. Some we just live through, and get scarred by.
A song, to be a bit uplifting in the loneliness!