I had this great doctor. He helped me get through a very rough and frightening time. And he died. Suddenly. Like I saw him a couple of weeks ago and have a prescription in my purse suddenly. When I got the letter from his office I thought maybe I had an overdue bill or something.
All those things that people write for condolences, saddened, shocked, I really feel that. He’d been someone I knew I could go to with my health issues. He’d made me feel like we were partners in my health care. He was kind, conscientious and a little bit weird. Just my kind of person.
This is the first time I’ve felt this way about someone I wasn’t related to. I’ll find another doctor, but I won’t find another him.
We lost another cat last night. “Let go” would probably be a better description. We’d had her for almost 19 years and she had deteriorated drastically over the last couple of weeks. It was time for her to go. Her life had become misery. She’s the second cat to die this year.
I can’t say that I’m used to it, because I’m not. But after losing several cats to old age, you sort of resign yourself to the inevitability of it all. That resignation doesn’t make it hurt any less.
The last couple of years have felt like the universe is reminding me that nothing is permanent. They’ve been years all about loss. First Dad, then Mom-in-law, then Kitt, now Sprite. It seemed like we’d lost Mom, but then found her again.
Some losses feel like being stabbed and some leave a bruise. And species isn’t a reliable method of telling which will be which.
Still with all the pain I could never choose a life without pets. I’ve always shared my life with animals and probably always will. I’ve always enjoyed trying to see the world from their very different point of view.
I’m not one of the people who dress their pets up in silly clothes and have birthday parties for them. Even though my pets are my children in that I’m responsible for their care, I don’t mistake them for humans. They have different drives and needs. I can’t imagine anything more stressful and less pleasant for our cats than having a birthday party for them. Strange animals and strange people in their home. No way. If I want to celebrate my cat’s birthday, I open up a can of tuna.
And wanted to fall.
It would have been easier.
Easier to fall off the edge.
Easier to die. Easier to give up. Easier to stop trying.
But she was there.
She held my hand.
And her hand holding mine kept me here. In the land of the living.
That’s why these last 12 months have meant so much to me.
She’s asked me sevveral times if I feel obligated to her. And she’s tried to tell me that I shouldn’t.
But that’s just wrong.
Her hand holding mine kept me in this world. There’s just no way I would have cared enough to hold on if it weren’t for her.
I wouldn’t have had the 25 years I’ve had.
There’s no way to repay that. And yes, there is a sense of obligation. How could it be otherwise?
Mom’s paid for my life, twice over.
That makes going to visit her easier. And knowing the inevitable ending harder.
So I feel obligated to her
So I’ll do the best I can. I have done. I will do.
And though it costs me dear I will not regret it.
This whole thing has been a process. Is a process that we are all still going through. Maybe it’s just that life is a process and we’re all going through it, all the time. This is just another piece of something much larger.
Things were difficult while Dad was in the hospital. I have a feeling that times to come are going to be even more difficult.
I didn’t see Dad every day before, but I sure do miss him every day. Saw an article in the paper today about reusing the old Red Line right of ways. I immediately wanted to tell Dad. He rode the old Red Cars.
The funeral went well. Everything fit together beautifully. Mom had a written piece outlining his life, Juli read a piece using the Wizard of Oz as an analogy and Jennifer put together music and a slide show which used Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. The pieces fell into place as though it had actually been planned that way.
Going through this process, or whatever part of the process it is that I am going through now, has been interesting. Thank the fates I have the family that I have. Getting through this would have been damn near impossible.
I don’t know how Mom did what she did. Twice a day, every day, to the hospital. I didn’t go anything like that often and it was exhausting. I almost feel human today. It’s still hard and emotionally draining, but nothing like the roller coaster of ‘he’s good this morning, he’s bad this afternoon or he’s having a rational conversation or he’s moaning in pain.’ Like I said, I don’t know how Mom did it.
Been texting with youngest sister about a couple of funeral details and talking about that. I’m old enough to see my parents as people, at least somewhat. I still admire them. I’ve known them for more than fifty years. Not from a neutral viewpoint, to be sure, but for a damn long time. The more I see of them and know of their lives, so different from my own, the more I admire them.
It has been nice texting my sisters, talking to Mom every day. Knowing that my family is going through the same thing I am. Everyone from their own viewpoint, comparing thoughts and experiences. I’ve read that that is how bonds between people are made, shared experiences.
It’s weird to go through this. The fabric of this family has been torn mightily, but going through it together as a family is knitting the fabric anew. The fabric will never be the same. It’s going to be a whole different shape. But it’s still there.
I’m almost 53 years old and this is the first really important death in my life.
Really. I know I’m lucky.
But nothing prepares you for this. I’ve seen it on the horizon for quite a while now.
But, like watching a train wreck in slow motion, even though you know what’s coming, it just doesn’t prepare you for the awfulness of the situation.
You know it’s coming. You know it’s going to hurt. Sometimes you can see which limb will be torn from limb.
Doesn’t help. Hurts more. You feel like if you knew what was coming, you should have been able to stop it.
You can’t. Life is life. It’s a cycle. It is the way it is. Until our sun burns out, we are part of this planet. That comforts me. It’s not eternal, but it’s a really long time.
And while I’m grateful that life is good here on our wonderful planet, there’s still a Dad-sized hole in my world, impossible to fill.
Dad died tonight around 5 pm.
In some ways it’s a relief. He’d been suffering for what seems like ages. He asked us several times, “What did I do to deserve this?” ‘Nothing’ was our answer. There is no way on earth that he deserved what he got. He talked to me several times about what he needed to do to escape the hospital. I knew the only way he was going to get out, but couldn’t tell him. But life isn’t fair and things happen the way they happen. Would that people got what they deserved. That would please me.
Mom was there with him, holding his hand to the very end. I don’t think he knew it, but she sure did. It’s often chance that puts you in the right place at the right time. I thank chance that she was there. Maybe he did know that he was not alone. I so hope so. But whether or not he knew, I know, my sisters know, and Mom knows. He was never alone.
Now we have to find a way to honor his life. It won’t be easy. I know that I don’t have the words to say what he has meant to me all my life. And how much I’m going to miss him.