The mornings or the nights.
Sunday morning I went to feed the cats, filled all four food bowls and was in the process of filling the fourth water bowl when I realized that only six bowls were needed now, not eight. Needless to say, I didn’t handle that well. I took away the two extra bowls, put them in the sink, then crawled into bed and cried in HSTeacher’s arms.
Monday morning I fed the cats and automatically went to fill up the fourth food bowl. When I saw the empty space where it had been, it all hit me again. I managed to suck it up enough to get ready for work, but nearly lost it again several times on the bus and again at work. Too bad companies don’t give bereavement leave for the loss of a dear pet.
Yesterday morning was better – I consciously remembered not to turn the direction of the phantom food bowl. But this morning I again twisted to fill Noel’s bowl (as much as any of the bowls belong to particular cats – they’ve never been territorial like that) and halfway through the twist, I remembered that my reflexes were not needed anymore.
But nights? Either I cry myself to sleep holding a little pillow that says “You’re Purr-fect!” (cheesy, I know, but for some reason it’s the only thing that I have to remind me of Noel, aside from photos and his food/water bowls, none of which are all that comfortable to sleep with) or I stare at the ceiling, wishing he were back.
I won’t lie – a small part of me wonders why I’m grieving so hard for a cat. But he was my cat, my Sweetie Noel. He had been a big part of my life for over a quarter of it. It still hurts.
Friends and family have been wonderful, of course. Condolences from people who know how much a beloved pet can mean to a person – CuteNerdBoy, MusicianMan, IrishWriter, YoungerSiS, Mom, ModelGirl, Sarriah, Squiggy. Even Boychik – who doesn’t like cats much because of allergies – has expressed sympathy over Noel’s death.
But I have to really thank two people – ScreenWriter and HSTeacher.
ScreenWriter is a dear friend whom I hadn’t seen over five years – matter of fact, he was my boyfriend right before I hooked up with the Ex and the only boyfriend I had befriended after we broke up. We had rebefriended each other within the last couple of weeks and were scheduled to meet on Saturday for lunch. I found Noel right before he arrived and he stepped up to the plate – double checked to see that Noel was dead because I was completely freaking out, drove me to Home Depot so that I could pick up a shovel and a flowering plant, then helped me bury Noel in the hills of Griffith Park, helping me with a little ceremony to send Noel’s kitty soul off properly. And he held me when I sobbed.
HSTeacher was scehduled to come over Saturday night, so he helped to distract me the tiniest bit over dinner, then held me and stroked my hair when I cried that night and the next day. And he kept me entertained for most of Sunday. He’s a good guy and a lot of fun. I am growing fonder of him.
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to become a grief blog – I tend not to operate that way. But I can’t pretend this entire week hasn’t been darkly colored by losing Noel. Today has been especially bad thus far.
Three bits from emails this week:
CuteNerdBoy – “My heart’s with you, and I know that over time, the pain will subside, but the good memories will live on.”
MusicianMan (who never met Noel, but knows him through the memorial page and my descriptions of him) quoted Simon and Garfunkel – “Time it was, and what a time it was, it was/A time of innocence, a time of confidences/Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph/Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you.”
IrishWriter – “May the goddess bless his path…”
Thank you, one and all.