Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Clinically Bereaved

Not to beat a horse or anything, but I am amazed by how bereaved I am right now.

Is there such a thing as "clinically bereaved?" If so that's me.

At any notice or thought of something that relates to Tommi, the cat that of mine who died on Monday morning, any instinctive reaction that came through living with that cat for 14 years, just makes me sad. I start crying, moaning even. Then I take a deep breath and move on. then something else will come up and I start crying and moaning again.

Lots of people I have known have died in the past two years. Friends, relatives, and friends of friends, but none of them , in fact no death of anyone I have known, has affected me quite so deeply as this.

Could it be the fact that we have shared such close contact for so long? Could it be that she never did a thing that I didn't like (that's not true, but nothing that really mattered, in the end)? could it be that no matter how my relationships with various people changed, she was always true to me?

The label in the box I buried her in says "The Truest Cat." That is true. In every way she was as true as a cat can get. Her walk, her leaping and climbing, her scratching and chewing of inappropriate objects, her stealing and attempted stealing of any chicken I ever tried to eat, her kneading and suckling on my sweaters, her dragging of socks and long underwear into the hallway (presumably as prey), her head-rubs on my shoulder when sitting next to me, her choosing of the spot right in front of the computer monitor to sit when I was working, her knocking of things off the table, her waiting for me outside the kitchen door, her "cat-loaf" pose and her "decadent kitty" pose and her sleeping by my head in the colder months, and her perfect, perfect kitty-cat face and perfectly soft fur, not too long, not too short, not too soft, not too stiff. She was never anything other than what she was: a cat. THE Tommi-cat.

She had great cat genes: that fur, that face, her little white pudsies and the crazy white ring around her tail. It is a shame that contemporary ethics and pet-population issues forced me to get her "fixed." I would have loved to have seen her create offspring, perhaps to keep with me as she grew old and to have with me now.

The emotional outpouring from me did not start initially upon finding her lifeless body by the door when I got out of bed Monday morning. My neighbor, who knew the cat, started crying instantly when I told her. But as the reality sunk in, seeing her little body lying still on the floor as I started to make arrangements and figure out what to do, that's when it came in. When I had to step over her body to go to the bathroom, and when I saw her still there when I came back, when I looked at the water dish, which I had been used to filling every day, her food dish, her litter box, the spot on the printer where she would always sit in her cat-loaf position, the emotions stated coming up. And now, when I thought to pick something up off the floor because the cat might step all over it, and I realized she was never going to step on anything again, and I will never have to chase her into my room again, and I will never have to change her litter box and clean her water dish again, I get very, very sad.