About three years ago, I thought it was funny to pester Steve about getting a kitty, even though I didn't really really really want one. Just kinda did.
Imagine my surprise when we took ownership of this house, and sitting on the front steps as we walked toward it with our key was a scruffy old black cat with a bloody paw at the end of its right rear leg. It did not look like the shiny black cat from when we viewed the house a month before. It couldn't be. How could someone move out and leave their pet?
You know what...I can't do it now, the story of Homey. It's not even that compelling, and you'd have to know him to love him. I just miss him and Steve knows it and the few friends that took the time to give Homey extra pats know it, but today there's really no one who has the time to share with me what I'm feeling about him. This stay at home mom's husband and friends all work and have other priorities and the other mommies aren't close enough to care. I'm just so sad and with Josephine feeding and falling asleep on my lap right now I can't even weep silently without shaking her awake as my chest heaves and hot tears drip on her plushy blanket. When I said that Josephine had changed my way of being forever, I didn't conceive that it would include the way I mourn.
Homey died Saturday. I'm sorry I didn't give him a better death and I am wracked with sadness - but I can't even cry when the feeling wells up because it upsets Josephine. He is in a bag in my mud room waiting to spend some time in a dear friend's chest freezer until I can bury him in the front garden when the ground thaws. His bag is cold and heavier than I thought; and all I wanted was for him to come back from the vet with some antibiotics or something so that he could have one more summer sleeping on the porch in his little wooden wine box with the sun showing how he's really brown not black. I'm sorry for me that I'm not going to get that, and that he died at the vet's when I wasn't there. And there is just a big I'M SORRY HOMEY coursing through me and pushing the tears out and stuffing my nose and lumping my throat when I think how he should have just died in his sleep under the stairs.
Having a baby changed so many priorities, and it compromised my care of my pet. Our finances are precarious, so I didn't take Homey to the vet at the first sniffle. After my in-laws took him to their vet Thursday and he had to stay, I didn't try to visit him because it was so snowy and cold and it's so hard to get out with the baby. I can't ask them to pay for cremation after all they just put in to him and to help us; those hundreds of dollars could go toward rescuing a live cat anyway. So I have to have him suffer such an indignity as well, spending a few months next to some venison and a frozen turkey so that instead of scattering him I can plant him. I must be satisfied that at least I have him back instead of just having the vet dispose of him. Or is this something to be selfish and sorry for too? That I need to put his body through more, and that it's too late, and I should have just let go completely?
Is it too much to ask of the universe that next time, the right thing to do could be made more clear a little sooner, please?
Sure he was sixteen or seventeen years old, and we gave him three years in a great home after he lost his leg to cancer blah blah blah I know I know I know. It doesn't make me feel better to hear that, kind friends who can't think of much else to say. What I feel is that the quality of his death was affected because I gave in too easily and I compromised my preferences and I chose badly. He was just a stinky-breathed, toothless, drooling, tough, independent, affectionate and grateful old cat and I just liked having him around and I miss him and want to go back in time to last week and have a do-over, please. Because if I don't have to mourn the way I lost him, I don't have to think of how having a baby has also changed me for the worse. It's too expensive a lesson.