Tuesday, August 06, 2013

I Promise This Isn't Just A Sad Post About Cats

When I opened the blinds in the front windows of our bedroom today, I suddenly realized that I can do this from now on. Because of an intense south-facing sunlight in the summer, I've always closed at least one window, depending on where Priya was laying. Her two favorite spots were under window #1, next to the yarn basket, on top of my crochet projects, and under window #2, in a little fleecy cat bed. So when the sun would flood in, especially on 80 and 90 degree days, it could become very hot, very quickly up there. I worried about Priya, and I'd close the blinds. 
Now I can just go ahead and leave them both open. No worrying. This is a change.

It's only been a day, so of course I can't expect to feel much different. I don't want to be over- dramatic though, so I was surprised that the tears continue to suddenly come up whenever I think of her or somebody mentions Priya. I look over, always expecting her to just be there and she's not and my heart hurts.

Hector and Willow our other cats are grieving too. Especially Hector, who has lived with Priya for the past five years. Even though he knew something was going on, (he sat with Priya this weekend as she was dying) at first he was confused. We let the cats say goodbye, but at that point, they didn't quite seem to get it. Now with Priya gone and her kitty bed not here, Hector I think is begining  to understand. He's been coming upstairs to sniff the places she used to lay, and then he lays there too. He's been sitting at the top of the basement stairs. I think he's waiting for Priya to come back up. It's where she used to go sometimes.

I'm trying to reassure Hector and Willow, and to give them extra love. I was happy to see this today though:

They never used to lay near each other! I'm glad that they're somehow finding support together through this.  Here are two recent pictures that I just like. Hector lounging in bed, and willow using her daily "I'm starving and depressed, FEED ME!!!!!!"  look.  (And just so you know, this girl is NOT starving. They have a full dry food bowl, kitty cookies, and then wet food in the morning and at night.)

I've decided that sadness does not serve me nor her. Grieving is normal, but I intend not to wallow in sadness, I need to go forward with gratitude. I think though, there are two reasons that this is hitting me so hard, (beyond the obvious fact  that we loved her so much).

For one, Priya was always by my side. I'm a homebody, I'm always at home and I love it. So, we've been together most days, for a long long time. This is going to sound hermit-ish and weird, but I actually spent a ton of time in my bedroom with her. Unless I was downstairs cleaning or cooking, I was upstairs. Our bedroom is like a little loft, it's bright and sunny up there, airy too when you open the wall of windows off the back. It's just a pleasant place to be, while our downstairs is a lot darker and not as upbeat in my opinion.  I don't watch much TV, so I was never spending time in the family room. And while we have a big kitchen table to blog or write emails at, it's hard as a rock and I usual instead sat on our comfy bed with my big lap desk to get work done. Also, our laundry is upstairs, so I'd sort and fold and iron up there. Make phone calls, walk on the treadmill, do my make-up and hair . The point being, she was usually just a few feet away.

(It's so nice to find pictures on your phone that you have forgotten about. Selfies with Priya.)

Also, because Priya passed away at home, in our room, I'm struggling with remembering that. I'm so glad that she could be home and together with us, but every time I walk past the spot that she died, I can't help but see her passing. It's so so hard. It's so hard.

This might be a girl thing, but in a way, she felt like one of my children. There was a maternal feeling there, and it makes it that much harder. If I just knew, if I just had one sign that she was ok and safe and happy, 95% of my sadness would be gone. If I could know that she was somewhere and she was feeling all better, it would mean everything.

Jon and I talked about life and the universe and the way of things on Saturday. I feel like for all of the beauty and wonder and amazing opportunities for gratitude and awe in life, it also comes with a cruelty or at the very least a cruel mysteriousness, An upsetting unknowing. I came across this quote on Saturday after our talk. It struck me as meaningful, maybe even the answer.

" as you get older, your self will diminish and you will grow in love.  YOU will gradually be replaced by LOVE. " - George Saunders from the 2013 convocation speech at Syracuse University

It could be about love. Life I mean. That happiness is measured in the number of cats and people and animals and things that you love and give love to. And in the end, we become just that - a bright, shining love that joins the universe. But it still doesn't tell me if Priya is ok. :(

 I am going to do my best, but wow, this has thrown me for a real loop. I decided to push myself and do something healthy, so I got back on the treadmill today. Mid-walk, I looked to the left, just like I did every time, to give Priya a smile and a "Hi Priya!" while she watched me from under the window. For a second I reflexively smiled and pictured her laying there. Then it hit me that she would never be there anymore and the tears welled up in my eyes again. :(

I have to stop the crying thing though. I hadn't blogged about all of this before, but the past two and a half weeks have been very hard. My eyes are so puffy and swollen from lack of sleep and terrible coughing and then crying, and they hurt! I think I mentioned this part before, but about two weeks ago, poor Noah came down with the world's worst summer virus. It was terrible. I'm SO happy to report that he is just fine now, all better,  but the little guy was miserable, and we all spent a week's worth of sleepless nights. Just as he became better, my run-down self became sick with the same virus. It was the worst I can remember in such a long time. It was bad. I coughed forever, absolutely could not sleep, I coughed so hard that I broke a tiny blood vessel in one of my eyes. Ugh. THANKFULLY, (knock on wood) I have finally started to turn the corner and last night was the first night that I've been able to sleep through the night in two and a half weeks. And then Priya started dying, and I've been crying  and feeling low-energy and blah blah blah all a mixed ball of little sleep and feeling sick and feeling sad and rundown and like a puddle on the floor.

Today I knew I just had to take it easy. Yesterday was an errands and appointment day. Today I just have to rest. But what to do? I'm one of those people who HATES RESTING! I like being productive. do you too? I know that rest is not just important, but essential, but can you rest productively!?

I came up with something nice that I could do while laying in bed today, that would be creative and therefore therapeutic, and would also help cats.
Do you remember the felt "Season Gnomes" that I made?

It's the strangest thing, Willow is obsessed, OBSESSED with these things. I mean crazed. I don't know what it is, other than maaaaaybe they still smell like sheep? But that doesn't make sense, I'm sure that the wool has been washed and dried and even dyed. For whatever reason, as soon as Willow found these guys, she would do anything to capture them, including climbing up furniture! It isn't like this with any other toys, and we have a bunch. And it doesn't matter if it's a wool felted gnome or a wool felted pumpkin or the wool felted ball that I've since made. She's just wool crazy!

(Now they sadly look like this...)
Some gnome parts have gone-a-missing!

Last fall, shortly after Willow came to live with us, just as the lights would go out at night, we would hear SCREAMING!  Willow would be howling and letting out warbling MEEEOOOOWWWWWS! It was really scary at first! We'd run to her side, "Willow! Willow! What wrong!?"  At first I thought she was sad or scared or homesick, but it wasn't that. And as it went on every single night, I was wracking my brain to figure it out. Then I started to realize a pattern...... every day I'd find my felt gnomes on the floor in the living room, and everyday, I'd set them back up on top of my desk in the office. And then, they'd end up in the living room. So one night, when sure enough, Willow began to howl, I switched on the lights! And there she was, surrounded by the gnomes, soaking wet and smelling like fish. EEEeeeeeeeewwwwwwww.

So she was taking the gnomes. And at first, I thought, oh my gosh, maybe she's carrying them around because she thinks that they're her kittens! (Stop laughing.) So I started calling them her "babies", which I know is odd, but....you know.

One day, I heard some howling, followed by heavy breathing and snuffling. Willow came up the stairs with the purple summertime gnome in her mouth and dropped it right at the foot of our bed. And THAT'S when I finally understood! These weren't her "babies", these were her PREY! Omg.
Hey, better to be felt than real, right!? We started praising Willow when she would "catch" or bring us the gnomes and she would immediately stop crying! It was perfect. She just wanted a little love and praise.

Yesterday, Noah heard Willow crying and ran in to find her with two gnomes at her paws and sitting on a felt pumpkin. Lol.
So, since they are loved, I thought it was time to try to fix the ones we have and make some new ones too. So that's something that I've decided is worthwhile, productive rest activity.

(Ok, not my best effort by far, but today I made Willow a felted cat. Now it won't be so weird when I say: "Did you find a baby?")

Here is one non-cat thing that I would like to touch on - people with handicap parking tags, who AREN'T  DISABLED!!!! In the past week, I have seen two people in stores and happened to be walking out at the same time as they did, as they got into cars in handicap spaces. I could see that their cars had handicapped hanging cards too. These people did not indicate that they had any disability at all. They were both young, walking around and pushing carts at a normal speed. They appeared perfectly capable.

Am I being insensitive or missing something? Are there disabilities that are intermittent? Maybe I just caught them on good days? I don't want to judge if I am missing an important understanding. These two women though, they seemed more than just fine, they seemed active, so my gut instinct said something was up. I  have to wonder, for people that do falsely use handicap stickers. WHY? Is it merely to get a parking space just a tiny bit closer?  Don't they feel badly that they're taking spaces away from people who truly need them? I can't understand when humans lack bits of a conscience and lack empathy for others. I wonder where and how thoughtfulness, conscience, empathy and sensitivity are taught. I am far from perfect, but I at least try to be mindful of doing my best in these areas. 

(Here is a meme that's been going around. It made me laugh. I totally get it cat. I TOTALLY get it.....)

Here are several recent pins from my "Good Design" board on Pinterest.  It's just a collection of ideas, gadgets and design that I like! I'll post more sometime.

And here are a few from my "Pretty to Look At" board on Pinterest. This is a collection of photos that I find pleasing to look at. Enjoy!



Anonymous said...

I am so sorry about your loss. That must be very hard, Writing about it will help. I was touched by your story.


LRW said...

I was google-ing gray hair and it brought me to your blog. Then I read about your beloved cat. I am in tears as I write. I too have a cat and I can't imagine her not in my life. I will be thinking of you and pray for strength and healing.

Lauren said...

Oh LRW, thank you so so much for your kind words. It really is so hard. It's been a week and a half now, and while we're all incredibly sad, it's getting easier to think about the happy times and funny stories. Cats really are great, aren't they?
Thank you again for your thoughtful comment. It was touching.

<3 - Lauren