Some Have Gone, and Some Remain

I didn’t want to ensadden my post-Christmas wrapup (which is coming sometime tonight, I promise, with photos and cemeteries and The Nephew and all good things) with this, but on the 23rd, I lost my friend, and my heart is broken.

It was coming for a long time, and I didn’t mention it to many people, which I know you’re immediately thinking is strange, because I pretty much mention everything somewhere online – here, Twitter, Facebook, somewhere. Here’s the thing – I don’t like sympathy. It makes me twitch. I get this from my father, who won’t talk about anything sad in his life, ever, on the off chance someone will tell him they’re sorry, then he’ll feel like a loser because someone felt sympathy for him. I’m not that bad – I know it doesn’t make me a loser – but I don’t like to say anything that causes someone to say “I’m sorry for your loss” or “Oh, no, are you ok?” or things like that. Because it’s awkward, and makes me feel weak, and also I might cry in front of someone which is like the #1 no-no in Amyland. It’s a mental block. I don’t know. It’s not the only weird thing about me. You know that if you’ve been reading. (This means I fail at Facebook because I never put up those “OH MY GOD THERE’S A HOLE IN THE WORLD LIKE A GREAT BLACK PIT” posts that make people write comments like “I’m HERE for you, babe.” I actually even see those and want to hide under the couch like an ostrich.)

But I wanted to mention this, because at some point, it’s going to come up, in comments, or on Twitter, or something, and it’s going to make me sad all over again. And it’s a thing that happened. And that’s what I do here; talk about things that happened, sometimes ones that matter, sometimes ones that don’t. So here’s the story, in a nutshell:

Twelve years ago, I rescued a very sick tortoiseshell cat from the humane society. She moved house with me seven times; she moved across the country with me, yowling from her carrier the whole way; she slept in my bed; she cuddled with me when I was sick or sad or just needed a cuddle; she grudgingly accepted her vastly less intellectual adopted brother a few years later and only bit him once in a while (and honestly, he kind of deserved it, he never looked where he was going and ran into her regularly.)

A few months ago she started losing weight, acting strangely, refusing to use the litterbox, not wanting to be touched. The vet couldn’t find anything wrong. The vet said he could run very, very expensive tests, which may or may not find anything wrong with her; however, it may just be advanced age, as no one knew exactly how old she was when I adopted her, or what kind of life she’d led prior to my taking her in.

Last week, she wouldn’t even eat the wet food that was the last thing she would touch. She wouldn’t come out from under the bed. She would drink, some, if I brought her the water dish. She hissed when I touched her. She hid further under the bed, in the dark corner, where no one could see her.

I cried a lot, last week. Sorry for not going into further detail on why I was being so emo, people in my life.

So I brought her home on Friday and had her put to sleep, because if I brought her home, my father could bury her somewhere that I could go and visit, which isn’t an option since I don’t own any land where you can just dig a hole and bury something without someone thinking you’re either a pirate or a murderer.

It was the right thing to do. As animal owners, we have the job, as horribly painful as it might be, to end the suffering of our companions when there are no other options, because they can’t tell us where it hurts. I know that. I know it was the right choice.

I put on a brave face as my father took her to bury her; I told my mother I had to run outside for a minute, because, like I said, I don’t like to cry in front of people. I went behind the garage, and I thought I was just going to cry, a little, and then move on, because I’m a grownup, and it was the right thing to do, and she was an animal, dammit, and I’m a human being, and it was the last thing I could do for her, as I’d loved her, and she needed me to do this for her. Acting like a child was idiotic. Having crazy emotions over something that needed to be done was a waste of time.

I sobbed like a child. Audibly. It bent me over, out of nowhere. It hurt my stomach and my chest and my head. The right thing to do doesn’t weigh much against twelve years of an animal you’ve shared your life with. I held her collar in my hand and I wept until I was empty inside like a hollowed-out gourd and then cleaned myself up and went inside and refused to talk about it, much, for the rest of the weekend. It was Christmas. No one wants to talk about dead pets at Christmas.

I got home today with an empty carrier and Dumbcat hasn’t stopped looking for her since I walked in the door. He thinks she’s in the carrier; he thinks she’s under the bed, where she’s been hiding; he thinks she’s on the porch; he thinks I’ve got her on my lap so he keeps trying to jump up. This is confusing. He’s always had a sister; now there’s no sister. He doesn’t know what to do. He’s calling through the place in his sad little plaintive meow, trying to sing her home.

I’ll get another cat, sometime, maybe sooner than later. I like having two. I like saying I have “cats” and right now I’m saying I have “cats” and catching myself and correcting it and saying “cat” and feeling it all over again. Dumbcat needs a friend, because alone, he gets up to too many shenanigans, like hiding in the pots and pans cupboard and knocking over the cereal boxes and walking in the crunchy pieces with his feet with his mouth hanging open in glee at the funny noise he’s making.

But for a while, I’ll just be empty. It was the right thing to do. I know that. But dammit, the right thing to do hurts like a son of a bitch, doesn’t it?

About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

22 responses to “Some Have Gone, and Some Remain

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    So sorry to hear about your cat. It’s horrible to lose a pet – especially the ones that have lived with you for many years.

    It does hurt like a son of a bitch, but it will get better, little by little. Getting a new cat could help a little too. It’s a good thing you’ve got Dumbcat, I’m sure he’ll be a bit of a distraction for you. I know our Boston Terrier was after we lost our Great Dane.

    And there’s nothing wrong with mourning a pet. We’re all animals after all, and we bond to our family members, no matter what species they are.


    • lucysfootball

      Thank you, Andreas. You always know just what to say. I felt better after writing this. Blogging = free therapy, I guess! Who knew?

      I will get a new cat, but I think Dumbcat needs a bit of time. He’s a little confused and manic at the moment. I need to give him undivided attention for a bit, I think.


  • Lahikmajoe

    I’m not remotely embarrassed to tell you that I’m weeping as I read this. Not sniffling. Not crying in starts & stops. Weeping.

    Despite the fact that I promised myself that I wouldn’t write another post in your comments, here I go again.

    Had dogs as a child & my brother would be despondent when we had to have one put to sleep. It never made any sense to me. Old, boring dog has to die=new, young, exciting puppy comes as a replacement. It was all win in my book.

    Except for my bawling, stupid brother. Idiot.

    But a week after I met my wife, we were driving on a country road in South Dakota, and saw a dark object on what should’ve been the shoulder of the road. It was a filthy, black dog…we stopped to give her some food, but she promptly jumped in the vehicle. Insisted she was coming with us. Sounds strange, but from that moment on we were somehow a family.

    Called her ‘Lyle’. Brought her to Germany, she was my only responsibility in the early days when I was still polishing my German. She’d run alongside my bike as I went to get papers from the main train station. She’d watch German television with me and offer sympathy when I insisted that I’d never get this language.

    She was the *perfect* café dog. For hours, she’d sit next to me as I nursed a coffee and read book after book in my native tongue & struggled through the daily papers in my adopted tongue. She was simply happy to be alongside me.

    You see where this is going, right?

    In late January 2005, Lyle was healthy one day & violently ill the next. Before we could even make it to the vet, she was up through the night unable to sleep. Took her out to the street in the middle of the night and she desperately wanted to go deep in the snowy bushes and be left alone. I held her the rest of the night and sometime around dawn she died in my arms.

    I was suddenly my brother who I’d ridiculed. For months, I cried everyday. She had been my companion in such dark, frustrating moments. I didn’t want a shiny new puppy. I wanted Lyle.

    I know this’ll be a hard time for you. If you get any weird incomprehension from people because it was ‘just a cat’, to hell with them.

    You’re going to be ok but as you already know, it’s going to hurt. A lot.

    I can say one thing with absolute certainty: that was one lucky cat.


  • lgalaviz

    My husband was in the hospital earlier this month. It was a hard as hell week to get through. Like you, I wanted to share it, but didn’t want the whole Facebook-style drama and pity party. Anyway, things are back to normal, or pretty damn well close, so life is good again.

    Losing a close and dear companion is always hard, as Andreas and Lahikmajoe have already eloquently stated. So glad we have people around here who know how to say the right thing.

    Wishing you and Dumbcat the best as you learn to cope with the black hole in your world created by a lack of a very special tortoiseshell cat.


    • lucysfootball

      Thank you. I’m glad things are ok for you – and I’m glad you understand the not wanting the pity. Everyone I know seems to think that makes me broken. I just don’t know how to deal with sympathy. And I don’t trust most people, so I think they’re angling for something as they give it. I think I was a mobster in a former life.


      • lgalaviz

        I have a great idea… Let’s be mobsters in this one. I will contemplate what illegal thing we can sell.


        • lucysfootball

          I’d like to sell hooch, but that’s legal now. And if we sold weed we’d have to deal with stoners, and they’re really annoying. Let’s sell something fun that brings out good customers. I think books. Are there illegal books? Maybe banned books?


  • Elizabeth

    Thank you for this post. I know how hard it is to share things like this. I balled. It made me think of my baby kitty, Brat. Except he wasn’t a baby. I had to make the hard decision when he was 16. He was my heart and I have never found another like him, though I’ve looked. Even though it has been five years since he passed, I still find myself looking for him and waiting for him to jump up in my lap.

    My heart is with you.


  • lgalaviz

    When I was in college, I lived in an apartment with this guy and I had a cat named Sebastian at his place. When we broke up, I went back to my room at the dorm, and he gave the cat to his new girlfriend. I have been a shell of a person ever since. Kept his collar for the longest time. The cat’s, not the boyfriend’s. I threw his away immediately.


    • lucysfootball

      I hate that guy. Let’s find him and practice our new-found mobster skills on him. I’m not 100% sure on what sleeping with the fishes means, but I think that’s what we should do to him.


  • zippy219

    Being owned by a pet is one of the best things in life! She was a lucky kitty to have a long life in a loving home.


  • Mer

    Oh, poor Dumbcat. He must be even more confused than usual. I’d like to think that C. and Beep are old-lady-ing it up in cat heaven. And now the craziest cat lady (and drunken racist) of them all can’t have either of our lovely girls.

    I love the three we have now in such a crazy, desperate way that I’m not sure how I will recover – especially if one of the “love cats” go first. The other will be distraught.

    ooo (big Reiki hugs that require no touching!)


  • Kristen Armstrong (@krispix24)

    It totally hurts like a son of a bitch to do the right thing. I know it will make you twitchy, but I am going to say it anyway – this sucks and I am sorry. I have been there and it is just crap. I had to make this decision for my Fidget last year and it is harsh, right thing or not. *hugs*


  • Omnibus

    Big hugs to you. Great, big, squishy, hugs, that last as long as you want!


  • Brenna

    I’m not going to say “I’m sorry” since I read that you hate that. So I’ll just tell you that I cried giant bubbles of snot when I’ve had to put down three dogs over the course of the last seven years. The last one was right before I had some (apparently much-needed) sinus surgery, and I got so clogged up that my face felt like it was going to explode and I had to lay down with a heating pad on my head (that’s not recommended).

    Pets are wonderful. I love having them in my life. We have three dogs and two rabbits and some fish I’m kind of hoping will die off so I can quit dealing with a fish tank (now I sound horrible) and I think my kids are lucky, lucky, lucky to grow up in a house where we care for other living things. The sorrow when beloved pets leave is horrible, but it’s worth it.

    Hug Dumbcat one more time for me, will ya? And best wishes to you.


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