Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday ramblings

It's been a long strange week since we lost our little Mo.

Maggie the insane cat has been moved downstairs, equipped with a magical "Anti anxiety" pheromone collar that seems to actually be working. She is still a bit schizoid alternately loving and fearful but the fear is lessening.

Mo was her main adversary and they fought anytime they had contact. Kizzie just ignores her as she does the rest of the household until she is hungry. Jake finds her endlessly fascinating...

The Hubster and I have had glimpses of each other this week. Work has been the frantic end of the month scramble to see clients despite the snow, ice and school closings. The hubster has started rehearsing a play. His energy is still not up to long days so he rests when he can, works when he can, but all in all is making progress.

I have been sorting and letting go of things. Slowly. Transition is hard for me. But last Saturday I spent time at the other house with my sister, laughing, talking, peeling wall paper... just being with her helped ease the grief I was feeling.

My sister has been and still is my champion and my hero. Now that we are more peers than big sis and little sis, our relationship has only deepened. I cannot imagine my life without my siblings. My brothers are awesome men, each different but so admirable in their strengths.

I love my family. Last week I took part in a research project and at the end we had to fill out a survey about our family life... I have a great family. Looking back over my answers I saw a pattern: love and respect for each other. Not to say we didn't disagree or fight, but we forgave and loved each other no matter what. It was interesting to see in black and white what I have always known in my heart.

I am blessed to have never known a day without love in my life. Not everyone can say that. I realize how very rare it is. Even thought loss creates a deep pain, a rending of the heart, I know without doubt that the depth of my sorrow is so deep only because that was the depth of love that I knew...

Someone once asked me if it was worth it, loving so deeply and hurting so hard.
I answered without hesitation. Yes, it is. Love is always worth the pain. Always. Because eventually the pain dulls, but the Love never dims, never leaves. The Love always remains...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Winter

Winter
by Martha Parks Johnson

The first snow would fall
in the secret of night.
I’d wake to find
A wonderland of white ice.
My breath would lightly
frost  the window
and I would hug my quilt tight
as Daddy stirred the sleeping
embers of fire
into waking blaze.

Later bundled in his old Pea jacket
in boots a size too large
I would step the first step
into the hushed wilderness.
I would wander throughout
the field discovering tracks
of squirrel and fox,
pausing to see
the tiny chit chit scratching
of chickadee and wren.

In the orchard
trees were black against
the aching whiteness,
stark and gnarled like an
old man’s hand upon his cane.
The cedars feathery and green
defiant in their vividness
danced along fence rows
as I clapped with delight
startling the jays and grackles
into flight , dark specters
against the jewel blue of sky.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Another hard day...

I arrived early one morning at the vet clinic where I used to work to find a box of kittens in front of the door. I carried them in, mewing and purring. The first one out of the box was a little bit of nothing black and white fluff. He looked me in the eye as if to say "Well, Here I am! Are you going to feed us or what?"
Little cat with a big attitude. Inside the box were 4 others, all flame point siamese. Someone's show girl kitty must have gotten loose one night and had a party.
Of course the little odd one came home with me. He was MO, for "one mo' cat or no mo' cats" but of course that didn't happen either. But he was always the alpha cat in the house. He was the first one out to greet people, popping up into their laps to say Welcome. He was the eternal kitten~ given to wild running jags through the house, leaping into the air from chair to chair...
He loved to play with toys, chasing things for hours. He graciously accepted others into the house but always let them know he was the boss.
He and Buddy Love were the bonded pair. Always snuggled together, sharing a basket, a sunbeam, a bed. For years the two of them slept with me and the hubster, curled between us, purring us to sleep.
As the years went by, both Buddy and Mo began to age. To slow down a bit. But still strong personalities making known that they were the top cats.
Buddy finally succumbed to renal failure last year at age 22. Mo seemed a bit lost without his life long Buddy. Suddenly it seemed to us, Mo turned into a little old man cat. He slept more, played less. Didn't harass the other animals as much, even stopped hissing at Jake.
Then he became ill, a serious round of pancreatitis that nearly did him in. He lost a lot of weight. He was never over 8 pounds but was now down to 5 pounds. He spent lots of time purring my husbter through cancer treatments. He spent hours in Mum's lap as she stayed with us, knitting or crocheting away the long hours as the hubster fought his battle and won.
Just a few weeks ago I started fluid therapy with Mo. I started enticing him with anything he would eat, boiling chicken gizzards, livers, whatever he could eat and keep down. He seemed to enjoy the special food, the extra attention, but not the pills, not the fluids.
Finally this week he began to tell us it was time. He would walk up to us, and stare at us and silently meow. Asking for something that we couldn't or didn't want to discern...
The past few nights, I knew. I knew the time for release was coming.
I didn't want to let go. We have lost so very much in the past 2 years. Family, friends, pets, our home, and came close to losing others...
Death has been once again too close a presence in my life.
And now, I had to turn over my kitten to that presence.
Last night the hubster brought Mo into the bed for a last cuddle. He slept curled against me, a very faint purr lulling me to sleep. This afternoon I sat and held him, soaking him with my tears, petting him, loving him, telling him how I would never forget him, how I loved him, how much my heart was hurting. He lay quietly, occasionally reaching with his paw to touch me.
We drove the snowy roads to the clinic. The hubster being so brave for us. We entered the room where we have been before awaiting the same outcome...
The doc who has taken care of our babies since Molly Dawg, came in the room. He knew by my face all was not well. We talked about symptoms, the decline in the past week. He gently examined Mo, noted the weight loss, the fluid buildup and confirmed what I knew in my heart. My Little Mo was dying. All the time, the Doc kept petting him, gently and softly. He explained the ritual again, knowing that we knew, but somehow easing the pain by telling the details once again. He expressed his sorrow, shared a few stories and then left us for some time together after giving Mo an injection to make him sleepy.
The Doc came back, this time with "the pink shot". He gently took Mo's leg, injected the pink stuff and stood quietly with us petting him as his life slipped away. Again I cried, my heart breaking. The Doc allowed the hubster and me some time alone with our little Mo. I left so the hubster could say goodbye. The staff stood by, eyes glistening sharing our pain.
It was over.
Home to an ever more empty house. It has been a long time since we have had so few animals in our life. Now just 2 cats and an insane Golden Retriever. Both the girls, Kizzie and Maggie are getting older too.
I know the cycle of life continues, Death does not conquer Love. But somehow this one day was the hardest of all. It felt like something ended when Mo slipped away...
I don't know what ended today. I do know we couldn't let him linger or suffer. That would have been unfair to him. He gave us too much happiness and joy to let him suffer one more moment of pain. With breaking hearts we said goodbye, hoping that there is a place in heaven for little cats with a big attitude...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Goodbye 2010...

So it is over. The year that was possibly the worst of my life is over.
It ended on a sad note with the news that my dear friend Alan died at around 5 pm on New Year's Eve. Our mutual friend called in tears and said simply, "He's gone."
Death is simple, its the living on after the loss that is complicated and hard. I remember once as Alan and I were euthanizing someone's beloved pet, the owner looked at me, tears glittering and said "It's one breath. I never realized how close life and death are... only a breath apart."
That has stayed with me.
Living is messy, hard, painful and it hurts. Death is simple, one last breath and all that is over, we are free.
I have seen too much of death not to know its signs. At times I hate that, seeing someone who is ill and knowing that the outcome may not be good.
The veil is thin at times between the two. At times it could go either way. I do believe in miracles. I do believe in an after life. But now, in the moment, it hurts so damn much.
I wonder how many more tears are left in me? Will the well ever run dry?
What will I do when I face my own death?
I want to spend 2011 living. I want to focus on life and its possibilities. I want to see friends more, connect more. I want to stop losing people, places and things.
I talked to my therapist about how much is going to change in the next year: our home, my job, my life, my marriage. I am moving into a new direction  and while exciting it scares me. I want to stop time, sit in the now a little longer, breath a little easier, just for a while.
But it looks as though 2011 will not let me do that. Change is coming, things fall apart, the center cannot hold...
It is time to follow new paths, to say good bye, as much as it hurts. It is time to start over, start anew.
To embrace what comes, not forgetting the past or those who have gone before me, but to honor them by living the best I can, being the best I can and loving them until I see them again.