Monday, November 16, 2009

I'm a writer so I am writing....

I am, for once, really truly at a loss. But I'm a writer, so I will write about it, because it's all I've got. If anyone reads this, I apologize ahead of time for the 100 percent self-indulgence that it reflects. But it's my blog and and I will cry if I want to. For lack of a better term. If you want light entertainment, feel free to look at other past (and I'm sure future) posts that contain hilarious links to retarded videos.

This morning, after my feline companion of 14 years, decided to have his little kitty heart attack I put his lifeless little body in a cat carrier and waited around for two hours for my vet to open. As soon as I got in touch I ran out of the house heaving the basket and realized what the term "dead weight" means. The little guy got a lot heavier with all that death in him, so I ended up getting a car, and then let myself have a little nervous breakdown outside of the vet before I went in. I didn't really say goodbye to him or anything, just handed him over, carrier and all. I opted to not get his ashes back, as I've never quite undestood how people find any solace in that tradition. My family isn't really one for funerals or things so I am always at a loss at these moments. It's an incredibly lonely feeling, to just give that little body away, but I didn't have the option of a ritual that would give me closure, so I was stuck with signing a credit card receipt for $75 to have hiim cremated somewhere in New Jersey. That had to do.

Then I walked home, called my dad, cried, slept, cried, watched TV, cried, checked facebook about 45 times, cried, slept, watched the Mad Men season finale, and then cried. What the hell? With the amount of moisture that has left my body I should be a dehydrated corpse at this point, but I apparently have a limitless reserve of tears for these occasions. I finally pulled it together and though maybe I was done for a bit, until my vet called to see how I was doing. Floodgates reopened. Doesn't take much.

It's been such a long time since I have dealt with death, which obviously is a good thing, but I forgot how these moments bring up so many feelings and questions and sense of displacement. You can't help but think how fleeting it all is. Especially with animals, who leave nothing behind besides a few cat toys and those adorable pictures that you took of them when they climbed into that laundry basket or whatever. But other than that, their existence is just a collection of your memories -- there are no things, no letters, no poems, no books they have written, no paintings they have painted, nothing. Just the memory you get when you look at the drawer that he would sleep in if you forgot to close it before going out or the scratches on your sofa where he would claw even though you would yell at him not to, and that has to be enough, but the impermanence of it is so sad and depressing and empty.

That said, although I am at best agnostic, I do believe that if there is proof of God that it lies largely in the amazing connection we have to our pets. So thanks to Franklin, my amazing cat, for giving me that connection and for being my most consistent loving, sometimes exasperating, curious, and entertaining friend for almost half my life. If there is a God you are with him surely.

Rest in peace my friend.

Uh-oh, floodgates again.....


Blogger natasha129 said...

I'm hoping I figured out how to post...
This was beautiful, Rachael. I still miss my cat who also passed on at 14, four and a half years ago. Sorry if that's not helpful. It does get easier, but his memory--despite not having a book/painting/physical memory--still lives strongly in my heart.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Raffaele said...

Franklin was a pretty awesome guy. Finding him that night was one of the more magical moments in NYC for me. He just decided he was coming home with us and that was that. He just leaned up against me in the cab and purred, like, "All right! Let's get on with it!"

I lost Lila a few months back and was very grateful to have a day to say goodbye. I actually cried so much I gave up on tissues and just wiped my nose on her. It was like a Bugs Bunny cartoon, only way more depressing.

Your writing about Franklin isn't maudlin at all, and anyone who has lost a beloved pet knows the hole it leaves. Pets are with us when we wake up, when we lay in front of the television depressed, when we go to sleep. It's a giant loss, and in this case the loss of a giant personality.

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