Theo Gets On After Depressing Events

As might have been expected, since the death of my cat, I have been rather depressed. There is a hole in my life. As she was a rather demanding creature, that hole is quite large.
Even now, almost two weeks later, odd things make me well up. When I had a piece of steak for dinner, there was too much meat because I didn’t have to slice the end off and give it to the cat. The same thing happened with the roast chicken. All of a sudden I can have chicken sandwiches for lunch because there is no mobile grey shadow standing ready to hoover up the dark meat. I’ve never wept over a surplus of meat before.

I no longer have to drug her before I go to bed. When I come down in the morning, I can immediately make a cup of tea because I don’t have to feed and let her out for her morning ablutions. I can sit on the sofa to eat mackerel pate because there won’t be a sneaky paw attempting to steal toast from my plate. If I have a newspaper on the table before me, I no longer have to try and read around the sprawling mass of fur which has decided that is the only place in the entire house it wants to sit. To be honest, I feel like a bad breakup song.

It does get easier though. For the first couple of days it was hard. The Sunday she died especially. It was always going to feel like a long day and that we were up at six didn’t help. Neither did the unending rain which confined us indoors and instilled claustrophobia.
Monday was much the same. More rain. More claustrophobia. This time, though, there was the added pressure of practical concerns - How do you dig a grave in the rain swollen swamp that is my lawn? Although cold for the time of year, the time of year was nevertheless August and we were keen to get on for realistic motives as well as psychological.
As it turned out, although my lawn is a rain swollen swamp, an inch below the surface and it is no wetter than the clay you use to make pots with so that was good.

He Who Knows Everything built her a coffin. I’d already wrapped her in a shroud - an old bath towel - and we put in all of the collars we’d bought from Accessorize over the years, along with her comb just in case when the resurrection happens there happens to be a door code.
I anticipate that she is going to cause a heck of a lot of confusion for the archaeologists of the future. Somebody, somewhere, will one day earn a doctorate writing about the cult of Bast prevalent in County Wexford after the turn of the millennium. I am certain of it.

Personally speaking, I would have preferred not to bury her. I’m not used to it. Every family member I know who has died has been cremated. When Mammy and HWKE go, they are getting the same treatment (although I believe my actual words on the subject were “If you think I’m wasting my inheritance on a plot, coffin and headstone let alone visiting it every year with a big wreath, you’ve got another thing coming!”).
Having her buried makes it feel… permanent. When I leave this house, I’ll be leaving her behind and I won’t be able to come back. On the Wednesday, I was driving to Wexford in even more rain and weeping slightly at the thought of leaving my precious beastie in the cold earth in that kind of weather even though logically, I know better than to think like that because it isn’t true. Anyway, she had a nice warm towel to snuggle up in.

The trouble with bereavement is you run into it unexpectedly. So much of it gets you in the first few days as you try and get on with a normal routine. It’s the first time you do something you would have included your lost one in. The first time I went to bed and didn’t have a cat to drug was a punch. The first vacuum was hard because I got the clothes brush out to clean the sofas properly free of cat hair so now they look properly clean. I’d forgotten they were beige. When Strider was here and we played scrabble, the box was full of fur where she used to sit in it (on top of the pieces, naturally).
Getting used to the silence was a big one. I spent a long time listening for the click, click of her claws across the hardwood floors but it never came. Tragic, isn’t it?

Like most things, you think you are getting there and something comes out of left field to hit you. There will be other moments I’m sure but yesterday, when I got in from being out all day and she wasn’t there to meet me, demanding to know where I’d been and why I’d been off having a good time without her, that was the moment I missed more than anything. She would always be at the door wanting a hug if I had left her alone all day. The dribble would be everywhere and she would be purring like, well, like a cat who has cruelly abandoned and left alone all day.

Like anything else, it has been one day at a time. One day it will all be a long time ago. I’ve just been trying to stick to a routine and get things done in my own time. It’s the only thing I know how to do.
Yes, it does hurt, but it gets better all the time.

2 comments:

Lindy said...

Just caught up with your blog and, having read the last three posts, thought I'd send you some comforting noises and maybe some Hallmark condolence cliches. Being much older than you, I have travelled this road with quite a few cats and dogs and found that, when one of them died, I would have a very strong sense of being followed around the house by tiny (cats) or huge (newfie) furry paws.
I chose to believe that it was their way of letting me know that I'd never really lose them, as long as I needed them around.
Or it could be I'm just a crazy old woman who drinks too much. But that can't be bad can it?
I'm currently sharing my house with one feral cat, one second hand cat, one third hand almost blind toy poodle, and a 4 year old newfie, the bemused baby of the family.
I wouldn't be without a single one of them, even though I realise they will all leave me in the end.
Animals just bring you so much joy don't they.
Sorry to ramble on, but the story of your heroic efforts during your cat's last days really touched me and I thought I should make some sort of effort.

Theo said...

Thanks Lindy. It's very kind of you and much appreciated.

We got the Cat when I was 9 years old so she has been with me for almost my entire life really.
It is one of these things that happens to everybody and we just have to learn to make the time we have the best time we can possibly make.

It's been the best part of 6 weeks since (I think) and I'm still finding cat hair on everything. She'll be around for a while yet, I fear.

Theo