4.30 am. Wake up. Cry. Brush teeth. Cry. Breakfast. Cry. I don’t want to wake up in a world without my beloved in it. The beloved that is only a cat. Shower. Cry. A lead ball where my heart should be. If I do something I usually do, something ordinary, like go to the shops or the gym, it’s a betrayal…a pretence that all is as it was…or worse, that he never really existed. After all, when he died, he just disappeared off the face of the earth..cats leave very little behind. Even his pee-stained blanket becomes appealing. This is the only time I do not want to feel good. How can it be the 26th July…how? What right has time to just march on? The grief must gestate….then give birth to a new and maybe more empathetic me; metamorphosed and improved by sadness. All his feeding bowls and litter trays are stacked ready for the cat charity. I don’t need my Pets at Home loyalty card. I can walk past the pet food aisle at Sainsburys. Cry. I don’t want to walk past the pet food aisle at Sainsbury’s. This is the grief that dare not speak it’s name…but I’m not the greatest obeyer of rules. This time is out of the ordinary and, just like I can choose to look for the good, I choose to cry.
What good was Troy’s life? What was the point of it? He sat around and just be’ed. An ever-present, calm, benign, comforting Buddha of a being. Sitting with me at the computer, sneakily sniffing my tuna sandwich, until I whip it away, or swivel my office chair and eat the lot before turning back, Bond-style smug. Or gently patting me on the shoulder when I spend too much time on the net and not enough time brushing and stroking….reminding me when my priorities are all wrong. Always calm in the midst of chaos. Quietly ‘protecting’ us; warding off strangers but welcoming neighbours…a guard-cat as sister S used to say. As lovely, kind, cat-owning friend, F says, a cat makes a home ‘lived-in and companiable’. I like that kind of home.
When anyone close dies, the guilt sets in and you wonder whether you did your best for them. Thank you, my beautiful boy, for allowing me to do my best, to wallow in the privilege of attending to someone’s needs, to listen and watch closely for the articulate signals from those unable to express themselves; and to be patient, kind and gentle – thank you for helping me to be the best……me.
That’s the point. Cry.