I can't really come to grips with that.
I didn't see her die, see them stick the needle in her heart to stop it beating. Dad was the one holding her when she finally deflated.
It should have been me. I was her person.
But I was here, far away. Too far to hear her cry, to mop up the vomit, to carry her to the vet.
Too far to bury the ashes in the back garden,
under a bush where she liked to sit and watch butterflies in the summer. Dad did that, too.
She liked to sit in the garden. She'd hide under a bush and stay there for hours, always seeking out someplace cool in the summer, somplace warm in the winter.
She liked to sit on the arms of chairs and the end of the sofa, under the reading lamp where the heat from the light bulb made her warm.
Or lay on wood floor in the front hall where the heating ducts ran right beneath the floor boards
and made them warm.
And of course in the sunbeam on the ottoman of the glider rocker. She would move across the floor with the sunbeam, tracking its progress through the day.
And under the Christmas tree. That was Nirvana. It was a bush... inside! And it had lights, which made it warm. Best of everything; the preferred habitat of the Christmas Cat. It even came with tissue paper to sit on - the lovely, pleasing crunch of the tissue!
No more Christmases for Noelle.
I hope she didn't suffer too much. Though I don't expect it's much fun to have all your internal organs throw in the towel simultaneously. They wanted to keep her alive until I came home. What's more cruel, to prolong the physical suffering?
Or to put her down without her person, letting her die with
the feeling that she's been abandoned, wondering where I am?
They decided they couldn't drag out her condition. It was probably best.
She died last week, but they didn't tell me until yesterday. She died right around the time that I fucked up the race last sunday (broke a pair of sculling blades, cost my team a medal), and also when i got that depressing email from Iain. Mom said I had enough to cope with. She didn't want to throw a dead cat on top of the pile.
She was 18 years old. I got her when I was 9. I'm 27 now. Do the math: that's 2/3 of my life. 2/3 of my life! I barely remember the time before her. I don't remember sleeping in my bed without her curled up next to the pillow, or splayed across my feet. I don't remember her not being there to beg for tuna every time someone opened a can. I don't remember being able to open the front door without looking around first to make sure she's not in a position to sneak out. She's a part of home, part of what defines it and makes it home. Defined. Made. Past tense. What's home like now? Dunno. Don't really want to go home and find out, either. Now it's surreal - I can imagine it never happened. But when I go home the reality will be there, and the cat won't. I don't believe in an afterlife, but I hope I'm wrong. I hope she's somewhere where there is tuna on every plate, butterflies in every garden, and tissue paper in every gift. May the sun shine warm upon your carpet, may your litter be ever fresh, and may the mice be slow, the bats fly low, and the catnip grow. Goodbye, Fuzzbutt; sleep well.
Monday, March 06, 2006