On Being The Chosen One

As most of you know, I lost Greebo, the most awesome cat I ever met on Monday last week.

Unlike our normal issues with euthanasia for a cat, in this case there was no second guessing. Greebo had an intestinal tumor which had metastasized to his liver and probably elsewhere in his body. For three days, he’d been huddled in pain, not coming to the bed to sleep with me, or to greet me inn the morning.  Not following me around. Not moving.

I know what we did was mercy, and honestly we probably only took a week of his life, and it would be a week in pain, as he slowly starved to death. I couldn’t do that to my buddy.

And I entered the land of grief.  Look, I come from a culture where you don’t mourn for a pet.  And Portuguese cats live much shorter lives, too.  So, though I usually break every time I lose one, I normally don’t show it. I can’t. Most of the time I hide it from me.

But Greebo…. It’s not just that he was part of my life, a close companion, like… what most people view a dog as being.  That picture is of him sitting on the arm of the chair I sit in in the evenings.  That was his perch, in the evening. In the morning he came to greet me before I was fully conscious.  he waited outside the bathroom if I had to go to the bathroom in the night.  he slept curled up to me.  He slept on my feet if I was writing.

So, yeah, I’m going to notice his absence. But it’s not even that. It’s that Greebo loved me. He loved me unconditionally, desperately, and irrationally.  What I mean is I have no idea why.

I mean, he liked my husband, and he liked Marshall, and he liked older son and DIL too, but he LOVED me.  I was the focus of his world. It was as though the sun rose out of me.  Which is weird. Because I’m nothing special.

But that kind of love, unconditional and unexpected, creates a bond. It was impossible not to love him back. (Even if he hadn’t been the world’s best cat, which he was.)

I could hold him and pet him, and we two existed in a place no one else could touch.

There are… compensations.  While I allowed him to suffer what must have been awful pain (he hid it. He was a proud sob) he never lost his dignity.  He never broke box training, never forgot who he was.  He had three really bad days. But not bad enough to make him lose his dignity.

May we all be so lucky.

The thing is, though, that he made me understand the awe of being chosen.

I’ve never had much use for it. If someone told me I was the one to save mankind, they wouldn’t finish the sentence before I disappeared running over the horizon.  If some moist bint tried to hand me the sword of power, I’d tell her to put it where the sun don’t shine.

Who needs that kind of responsibility.

And yet, the responsibility of being the chosen one of a 16lb, muscular scrap of midnight and dream?

Sure, it still scared the living daylights out of me.  But it also made me feel a strange mix of love and gratitude in return. It made me the center of the universe. A very small universe, seen through cat eyes, but a universe, anyway.

I miss that.

Sure, I miss his silky soft fur, those very serious eyes. (I SWEAR he was the only cat who could raise an eyebrow.  I mean he didn’t do it, but he had this way of giving me the look that meant “Really?” usually when I told him that I was going to the office to write inaminute, just let me finish this job.)  I miss his croaky-rusty meow.  I miss the headbutting, the purr that could be heard across the room.  I miss the occasional, very rare lick-kiss.

But I also miss our relationship.  I miss knowing what we had was important and exclusive, and ours.

BUT enough of my being maudlin.  Yes, I’m grieving for him. Weirdly, because in my heart-values he read as human, I’m mourning him as a human. An exceptionally innocent and devoted human.

So, as I do, and apparently the same as Dave Freer, I’ve decided overwork is the cure for this.  Because I don’t know what else to do with myself.

We have three rooms left to floor, and tomorrow I start clearing the next one (which is actually more work than laying down the floor, particularly as that room is crammed with stuff that hasn’t been returned to the offices (and should be.)

Being tired allows one to sleep.

And today, weirdly, I found I could write again. Not much, but at least a little bit.  It feels very distant and weird.

But 2020 is a killer, and I’m determined to survive it.

I’m going to try to block out a couple of hours a day to write, before resuming the house-rebuilding.

It’s made more difficult by the fact this creature:

EFFECTS

Havey cat, who on a good day has the brains of warm milk, and who was Greebo’s best buddy (look, who knows?) obviously was left strict instructions about looking after mom.

This means he yells at me till I go to the office, but then either sits on my lap, making it hard to type over him, or he prances back and forth across my keyboard, looking for love in all the wrong places.

I’m training him to at least lie still in my lap. As much as one can train Havey.

He’s clingy and a bit annoying, and at night he calls for Greebo all over the house.  But I’m trying to be good to him, and love him.

And maybe between the two of us we’ll be all right, and he’ll be a trained writers’ cat when I’m done.

It’s worth a try.

 

15 comments

  1. Cats being who and what they are, I have no doubt that Greebo is watching you from heaven right alongside all your other departed felines. He’s probably also passing on instructions to Havey-cat.

    There is nothing wrong with grieving for a cat who’s been part of your life for so many years. We connect with them, we love them, and it hurts when they leave us. But I would rather have their love for the time we can love them than not know them, no matter how much it hurts to lose them.

    Vale Greebo. May there be interesting things to chase and keep you busy until your Mom can join you many years from now.

  2. I feel like that about Trouble. Her spot on my desk, and at my feet, are both conspicuously empty. Squig tried so hard to fill in for her… and then i lost her too. Roomates are seemingly ignoring hints that i want another cat.

  3. 62 years of pet ownership have taught me many little things and one gigantic one:
    Humans ennoble our animals with our love…and sometimes, as seems to have been the case with Greebo, our animals reciprocate the service.
    I grieve with you, Sarah. Be well.

  4. Take Care Sarah.

    Now, being in a crazy mood, the problem of being the Chosen One is “Who Chose You And Want Did They Chose You For”. 😉

      1. mrrwoorw
        after getting him fixed, my Aunt’s cat, Buddy Q. Stepsetter, went from a Loud MRwooow
        to a tiny strained “ĕ”
        But his purr was loud as all get out

  5. That kind of pure love is awe-inspiring. You know you don’t deserve it…but you have it anyway, and it makes you do your best to try to be worthy of it. I hope it isn’t blasphemous to say that it might be a foretaste of the Divine Love of the Creator for His children.

  6. Our eldest cat is probably getting a bit senile– if he and Havey had a contest to see who was smartest, it would last maybe five seconds before one or both forgot what they were doing, but he use to be quite good about remembering he’d been fed– and we’re not looking forward to him going. Kids have never known a world without the fluffy idiot.

    1. In the “not so stupid” side, he’s sitting next to me as I fiddle on my laptop….right where the hot air comes out of that laptop.

  7. My last kitty, when she died, was too much for me. I wouldn’t move for three days. My late hubby told the office I was sick. I knew nothing and cared about nothing. I was a fetal ball. My late hubby finally got through my grief so we could grieve together. I’m sure it made our relationship stronger. I also couldn’t bear to have a pet for many years afterward.

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