loss

A Tale of Two Kitties: Part Four

So, the thing of it is…over a month has passed.  Life has once again gotten away from me.  And here I sit, two days away from Monkey’s Gotcha Day…and a for real deadline that I should probably actually stick to.  There’s another post here in the middle that needs to be written…so here goes…  Full disclosure, most of this is pulled from the Notes section on my phone from over a year ago.  I had every intention of putting this all to “paper” then, but as the saying goes, better late than never.

As a reminder, Puppy died on a Thursday morning.  The Sunday before was his last really good, normal day.  I was home with him, the weather was perfect, and we just chilled together on the screened-in porch.  He slept in his chair out there a lot and I just kind of enjoyed his sweet company.  I freaking love/loved/love that guy.  He was my best friend…he was always there.

That Sunday, Puppy was passed out and chilling on that chair when the (not so) little gray and white dude showed up.  I always hated petting other animals when Puppy was around, especially towards the end.  I never wanted him to feel like I was cheating on him.  Call me weird, I don’t care.  Maybe I just love differently and harder than some.  Maybe I AM just weird, but whatever.

But the gray and white dude was so sweet and chatty; I didn’t want to ignore him either.  I thought it wouldn’t hurt to pet him for a bit, while Puppy slept, so I slipped out onto the deck.  I crouched down and dude was head-butting the crap out of me…just purring and head-butting.  He was super sweet.  I let it happen for less than 5 minutes and then I went back in with my boy.

Later that day, I saw my gray and white friend fighting another gray and white cat in the backyard.  I went out and yelled and the fight dispersed pretty quickly.

The Thursday that Puppy died was one of the worst days of my life.  I fled to Florida to get away and be with my parents for a bit.  It killed.  It still kills.  You either get it or you don’t.  And there’s no point in trying to convince you if you don’t.

We went to our favorite breakfast place while I was in Florida.  It’s right on a pier on the beach and, aside from the pigeons that prowl the grounds…ready to ferociously attack, it just has an awesome atmosphere.  It’s one of my favorite places in the world.  There’s a bar side table that looks right out on the ocean.  That’s where my mom, dad, and I were sitting this particular morning.  All of the sudden, I noticed my mom’s face do a thing.  I knew something was up.  “I just saw a cat,” she said.  Knowing I was vulnerable, she followed with, “I didn’t know if I should tell you.”

I jumped up to see it.  It was a little guy who looked so much like Puppy…his markings were a little darker, but the pattern was very much the same…aside from this half mustache thing he had going on.  I fell in love.  He crawled into the bushes right in front of us.  We ordered a side of bacon and brought it to him when we finished brunch.  He took the bacon happily.  We noticed an empty cat food can in the back and knew somebody was taking care of him.

I took a few pictures and felt very bittersweet over the whole thing.  Then we went and put our toes in the sand for a while.  It’s hard for me to sit still on a good day, so it’s even worse on a bad day.  Despite the assistance of a few mimosas, I couldn’t just sit there.  My mom and I got up to walk the pier.  As we passed where the cat had been, we looked down.  I was hoping he would be there.  Somehow I felt connected.  I mean, he really looked a lot like Puppy.  He WAS there!  (Should this have been titled A Tale of Three Kitties?)

Puppy meets Monkey in the underbrush     Rainbow Bridge Kitty

As soon as I spotted him, Iz’s “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” started playing overhead.  I nearly lost it.  It made me think Puppy had made it to the Rainbow Bridge and that this little guy was sent to tell me he made it okay…or something.  I’m not really sure.  I found comfort and gut-wrenching pain in it, but mostly I tried to take peace from it.  We caught our breath and wiped our tears and we continued down the pier…

Even in your darkest moments, there is light, there is hope…if only you are willing to see it.  Hard as it is sometimes, life goes on.  The sun still shines.

Sun through the clouds

Anyway, my mom and I flew back that Sunday night.  Flights got all kinds of screwed up (shocking, I know), so we didn’t get in until late.

The next day I got up to go to work.  Being back home was hard.  My routine was hollow and empty without my little guy.  No meds had to be given.  No food had to be put out.  No litter had to be scooped.  Who knew that not having to clean up cat crap could be so heart breaking?  But mostly, no little dude following my every move.

I struggled through the morning, trying to keep living, trying to get back to it.  I got in my car and immediately backed right into my dad’s Explorer.  It took a minute to realize what had happened.  Once I realized it, I began to shake and all the tears I’d been fighting came pouring out in a torrential downpour.  I got out of the car and realized there was only damage to my car, so that was good.  I sucked it up and carried on.  It’s what we do.  I’d deal with my car’s damage later.

I went to work and did my best to get through the day.  Everybody was super supportive.  All of my friends had written ridiculously sweet things in a card for me.  Tears flowed and I fought them constantly, but I survived.

As I drove home that day, I felt the empty reality hit me hard.  There would be no little goober greeting me when I got home.  My life was forever changed.  Even now, I still look for him.  Sometimes I still miss him like it just happened.

Anyway, when I was pulling in my driveway, I saw my gray and white friend crossing over from our neighbors’ and going into our backyard.

I walked into the kitchen and he showed up right at the back door, just staring at me…like he’d been waiting all day.  He did this every day.  I missed my little Puppy so much, but this guy gave me something to look forward to.  I didn’t really know who he was and he could never replace my Puppy, but he certainly made me smile and feel some kind of love when all I could feel was shattered and alone.

You can’t tell it in this picture, but this furry little guy has a half mustache.  The little guy we’d seen at the beach was, what at least appeared to be, a combination of Puppy and this other amazing little dude.  I was only beginning to get it at the time, but none of this was coincidence.  God works in mysterious ways, my friends.  There are times when it seems like the universe is failing you, but there are times when the universe seemingly rallies for you.  This little dude standing at my door was exactly that…and the universe was rallying damn hard.

Monkey at the door

 

Tale of Two Kitties: Part One

Tale of Two Kitties: Part Two

Tale of Two Kitties: Part Three

 

A Tale of Two Kitties: Part Three

I rambled a bit leading up to the actual meat of this post.  I feel badly dragging you all through it.  If you’d like just the gist, scroll on down to where everything becomes italicized.

So, I kind of dropped the ball.  I meant for it all to unravel here, as it did in real life this time last year.  But, as it tends to do, life got in the way. Hell, my feelings got in the way. There’s a fine line between allowing yourself to feel grief and allowing yourself to be swallowed whole by it.  There’s another fine line between honoring a memory and allowing yourself to make new ones.

I had every intention of telling this part of the story on January 19th, the anniversary of the day my little dude passed away.  Life is busy, crazy, and chaotic.  And, if I’m being honest, not stellar at the moment.  On January 19th, schedules allowed and one of my best friends was actually able to hang out with me.  I thought, I could wallow in my own grief…or distract myself by spending time with someone I rarely get to see.  I chose to focus on the good and I hung out with my friend instead of completely indulging in the grief and sadness that the day forced on me.

After all, when I set out to share all of this with you guys, it wasn’t so much about the grief and the gut-wrenching sadness of losing someone you love…though, that would inevitably be part of it…it was, believe it or not, supposed to be about gratitude and hope, mostly hope.

I’ve been living my day-to-day life since my last post, but the “blank pages” have been plaguing me.  The ADHD / OCD war has been alive and (un)well.  Part of me knows I procrastinated this, part of me wants to just let it go unfinished, and the OCD part of me is berating itself for having not stayed on task and not completed everything on time.

I digress.  Imagine.

So, I kept trying to do the math for all the things.  Since I missed the actual anniversary, what day would make sense to post all of this?  Should I backdate it all?  Honestly, I’m still on the fence.  There’s a timeline I committed to in my head and I’ve failed to maintain it.

But isn’t the whole point of all of this to be real?  To be human?  To share my failures, not just my successes?  Aren’t you proud I haven’t even addressed the fact that it’s probably been over a year since my last post before these Tale of Two Kitties ones?  Ha…and there it is.

Anyway, now I’ve written an entire post leading up to the whole point of the post.  Le sigh.  I guess if you’ve made it this far, I commend you.  There’s a bit more to go; there’s always more.

So, like I said, I’ve been living my day-to-day life trying to decide when to post all of this. And today, Facebook hit me like a ton of bricks…one that I knew was coming, but still. On This Day last year, I finally put it all out there.  I told the world (my world, anyway) that my favorite guy was gone.  It took me a week and a half to compose a post, to say the words, to, perhaps, admit the reality of my loss.

Puppy was such an amazing dude.  He had a following.  And had I been more diligent (or had he been more active on social media himself…slacker), he could have had a real following on social media.  His personality made an impression and, if only because of the joy he brought to me, most of the people I love, loved him as well.

I could sit here and relive it all, as…let’s be real, I’ve been doing for about a month in my own head.  Or I could just share what I put on Facebook.  I think I’ll do that.  I’m not sure when I’ll follow up because now I’ve screwed up the timeline, actual dates anyway…but I promise the story gets happier.  I still lose my dear, sweet (insane) Puppy, but there’s a light, a hope.  Some rough patches still to come, but if you see it through, you’ll feel the good…I think…I hope.
Here are the words I shared on this day last year.  (I guess in some ways, I’m right on track with the timing thing.):

I have been absolutely dreading this post. On Thursday, January 19th, I had to say goodbye to my best friend, my Puppy.
As you all know, he was my favorite thing in the world. And I know so many of you grew to love him and his quirky ways, too.

He was thrown from a truck 14 years ago and our apartment security officer, who saw it happen, knew Stacie, Carrie, and I were suckers. I ultimately got custody of him after graduation. Rather…I took him and I think everybody just knew we were meant for each other. I like to think we saved each other’s lives. I know there were plenty of times that he saved mine. We were just crazy enough to make sense of each other.

My world is ridiculously empty without him. He was everything that got me out of bed for so long, especially towards the end when his actual survival depended pretty much on me. His signature, “Pa-pow,” greeted me every time I walked in the door, even until the very last time.

He made me laugh so much. He was such a goober.

He stopped consistently sleeping with me over the past year or so; he took to sleeping on the massive pile of clothes on my dresser instead. Occasionally he’d grace me with his presence and sleep draped across my chest…for just a few minutes. Those were the best moments, even when they were extremely brief. He slept next to me in bed that last night. I think he was throwing me a bone, letting me know that he loved me, too…but I think he knew it was almost his time.

That little guy infiltrated my life. I am so grateful for the time we got to share, for the laughs, the love, the companionship. As crazy as he was, he was truly a gift. Perhaps only a weirdo like me could love a weirdo like him the way he deserved to be loved.

The past week and a half-ish have been heart wrenching. His last vet visit in early January showed improved blood work. So, while we knew he wasn’t 100% healthy, it seemed he was getting better. He wasn’t.

I am grateful that I was here with him, that I was so in tuned with him that I heard his strained breathing as soon as it began…at least I think I did. I’m grateful I had the strength to not prolong his pain. Though, in some ways, it was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I’m grateful that my brother could be there with me, so I didn’t have to be alone as I said goodbye to the little dude who had become my life.

I’m sorry this is so long…and that I’ve attached so many pictures. It’s not like you couldn’t find them on your own if you wanted to go looking on my page or his. For as many times as this moment crossed my mind over the years, I had somehow convinced myself I’d never have to face it. Yet, here it is.

For all the things I’m grateful for, second, only to him not having to leave this world alone, is the amazing amount of love and support I have received from everybody in my life. My family and friends are beyond amazing and they remind me that, no matter how much it feels like it, I’m not alone. Their thoughtfulness and kindness has blown me away and given me hope.

My world will never be the same. My little dude is gone. And I am crushed. Even in these moments of intense sadness, I’d do it all over again. He brought so much to my life. His absence kills me, but my life would have been far worse had I never been able to love him. And love him hard, I did…for that is the only way I know how to love.

So, there it is, guys.  The shortened version of one of the absolute worst moments of my life.  Pets are people, too.  Pets are better than people.  I still miss him every single day.  I think that’s the sign of a good run.  I was lucky as hell to have a little dude I loved so much and who…well, who tolerated me.  I mostly smile at the reminders.  When you’re a crazy cat lady, they’re everywhere.  I wouldn’t change a thing.  I’m glad there are constant reminders.  Sometimes they hurt like hell, but they mostly make me smile…

Tale of Two Kitties: Part One

Tale of Two Kitties: Part Two

A Tale of Two Kitties: Part Two

This time last year, I was supposed to be hanging out with some lifelong friends, including one who was in town only for a minute.  I was supposed to be out, having dinner…maybe a few drinks, having fun with some of my favorite people in the world.  But something was off about Puppy.  Maybe it was “mother’s intuition.”  Maybe it was that sixth sense that’s so common with us ADHDers.  Whatever.  I just knew.  I battled between joining my friends for dinner and staying home with my cat, who didn’t really show any signs that he was failing…but somehow was telling me something was wrong.

Dude was fussy as hell, always.  And weird. Weird beyond weird.  These are some of the reasons I loved him so much.  But these things made it hard to tell, on the surface of it all, that things were failing.

These are the last pics I took of my little dude.

Puppy cat staring at wall
These were not out of character.  My parents were out of town, so he had every right to be pissed (and to stare at a wall, ignoring my every attempt at love).  He didn’t like change.  And the buffet of food?  He was the pickiest cat I’ve ever met…and we all know cats are known for their pickiness.  But I have many pics of this buffet on many a good day.  Puppy not eating the food in front of him didn’t mean he wasn’t eating.  It usually just meant I hadn’t given him his food of choice for the night.

Still, I sensed something, even if there wasn’t a red flag blowing in my face.  Something told me something was off.  I am eternally grateful for my instinct.  I felt like crap blowing off my friends that night, but I will never regret that choice.  I can’t imagine how I would have felt had I left my Pupster alone that night.  I am glad (to put it super lightly) that I trusted my instinct and stayed home with him.

It was a normal night otherwise.  Puppy hadn’t been snuggling with me for a while and I don’t think that he did that evening either.

But…that night, he slept with me.  He slept right up near my head.  He was throwing me a bone.  He hadn’t done that in a while.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but come 4AM, I would get it.

A Tale of Two Kitties: Part One

Today is a day of very mixed emotions for me.  This day last year was the last good day that I had with Puppy (my VERY beloved cat of 13 or so years).

Of course, I captured the moment and shared it on Facebook.  And of course I was reminded of it this morning.  Truth be told, I remember it clearly and I knew it was coming.  I knew it was here.  I knew the last happy picture I took of him.  It still caught me off guard and rattled my heart.

Puppy the cat sleeping last good day Facebook On This Day
 As I mentioned, it was a beautiful 70 degree day in January.  We were both soaking it up.  We spent most of the day on the porch and I am so grateful that I chose to spend the day with him…doing nothing and just taking it all in.  

Four days later, my little dude would be gone.  It still crushes me and I miss him like hell every day.

But something else happened on this day last year.  Many of you have asked about Monkey’s story and this is the beginning of it (at least of our story).  For those who don’t know, this is Monkey:

Monkey curled up and adorable
And on this day last year, while Puppy slept restfully on the porch rocking chair, he showed up out of the blue.  He came right up on the deck.  I stepped out of the screened-in porch and pet the little guy.  He was a head-butter, with an intense purr.  He looked a little rough and tumble, with patches of missing fur.  He would shy away a bit if I reached my hand out to pet him, but he was definitely happy for the attention.  My gut told me, despite his somewhat scrappy appearance, he belonged to somebody.

I only pet him for a little bit, as I felt like I was cheating on my sweet Pupster while he slept nearby.

I had no clue on that sunny day that four days later, my favorite little guy in the whole world would be gone.  This week is going to suck.  I’ve been fighting tears back all day.  Things are not stellar in general, so I’m sure that doesn’t help.  Some of you won’t understand.  Some may say, “He was just a cat.”  But some of you will understand.  I could get into how ADHDers tend to love animals in a huge way, but we’ll just say you either get it or you don’t.  I love with everything I have and I definitely loved Puppy that way.  I have known loss and this loss, like so many others, has left me winded and empty…broken in a whole new way.

But…the thing is…they say when God closes a door, he opens another…or something like that.  I can only say that I believe Monkey chose me, that maybe he and Puppy talked. Maybe Puppy knew that his time was near, so he tasked Monkey with saving my life.  He had been sick for quite some time, even though we thought he was getting better.

However it happened, I have to believe it was divine intervention.  I had no clue on this day last year that I would soon say goodbye to my best friend Puppy, that it would be our last good day together.  I also had no clue that this little gray and white goober who showed up out of nowhere would also show me how to love again.

It’s a bittersweet day, my friends.  And as I head into the anniversary of one of the hardest weeks of my life…that kicked off a pretty shitty year, I decided it was time to put it on paper…er…type it into my phone.  

Here’s hoping I have the energy to finish the story.  It’s my intention to write it all out as it happened last year…if I can get the dates right…or at least close enough.  It’s a hard story to tell as Monkey’s hello was Puppy’s goodbye, but there’s beauty even in the darkest moments.

I was just gonna do a Facebook post, but I knew it was going to be super long-winded, even for me.  Hoping this kicks me back into blogging.  Many of my other Facebook On This Day moments have been related to me blogging or feeling like I need to get back into it.  Must be a New Year thing.  Well, I’m gonna give it a whirl.  Look at me, I’ve nearly finished my first post for 2018.

Thanks for reading, guys…and for all the love and support you’ve shown me over the past year (and my lifetime).  Life isn’t always easy, but I have amazing friends and family who make it easier.