Friends.

Jul. 11th, 2011 09:45 am
naamah_darling: A sweet-looking long-haired black cat. She is very soft. (Tazendra)
We're going to pick up both kitties this afternoon at 4:30.

I am absolutely terrified this will not work out, but still so happy.

I was raised around cats. My family had two cats, Sam and Sergeant, who slept in my crib with me like big tabby-striped pillows, and we never had fewer than three cats while I lived at home. Our average was four or five, our max was eight. They were all altered, they all had their shots and were well-cared-for, clean, healthy, vetted, and spoiled. They were indoor/outdoor cats, so they had room to get away from each other, and they generally got along okay. The more cats in a household, the more likely each cat is to have another cat or two they get along with, which takes the pressure off the rest, who don't have to deal with unwanted overtures of affection. I grew up watching cats socialize in a pretty much ideal environment, and I have to say that it was a really wonderful thing to observe. I've always missed that, and that's what I am hoping to create with these two silly boys. Some friendships, a working kitty social group.

Tazendra hated Sif from the moment we brought Sif home, and neither of them liked Fish at all, they were the worst possible mix of personalities, each so different from the others that they annoyed one another too much to ever become friends. I've lived for sixteen years in a household where the cats were tolerant at best, but never affectionate. I'm hoping that it will go better this time. At least these new cats know each other already, so they'll have at least one friend.

The other thing about how I grew up is that our indoor/outdoor cats suffered casualties. I lost a lot of cats to cars, one to antifreeze, a couple went out and never came home. I grew up with pet loss. We had about twenty cats in eighteen years, and we eventually lost them all. Only a couple lived long enough to die of natural causes, and they were the really, really smart ones. So I was raised losing friends. But I never loved the next one less, I never got the knack of holding myself apart so that I wouldn't get hurt. I never kept them at a distance. I never could say no to another.

So I'm used to taking the shot to the gut and getting up again, I'm used to moving on to meet the next cat, used to separating my grief from how I feel about other cats, new cats. It's not a knack everyone has, which is unfortunate, since it helps the pain immensely, but I can't say I recommend learning it the way I did, which was dreadful (and is why I will never again have cats that go outdoors). I'm glad I have it. It makes it easier to go on and make new friends. It's just what I do. I lose one, I grieve, I find another, because it is, on some level, my self-appointed job to take in cats that need me and care for them, and having an empty space feels very much like selfishness, like refusing to help a friend that needs help (even if I haven't met that friend yet). There is no replacing the pets I've lost, of course, there is only meeting the next one and finding out how delightful they are in their own way. I've never known any two cats that were particularly alike.

I hope, in the wake of what I lost with Tazendra, who was a terrible cat and the very best of companions, all this experience will serve me well, and make me as able to adapt to new little friends as I've always been. I hope I didn't lose something too great to overcome so soon. I'm confident, but I don't really know. Not for sure. I've never lost any friend so dear to me. I want her back. I don't expect that new cats will ever change that. Someday I will want them back, too, and I'll want Tazendra back just as badly, still, when that day comes, the same way I still want Flame back, and Thor, and Wuss, and Twindle, and Weed, and all the others.

But I keep doing this, even though I know this road just goes in one big circle of making friends and losing them. I keep volunteering for this.

Sucker.

Friends.

Jul. 11th, 2011 09:45 am
naamah_darling: A sweet-looking long-haired black cat. She is very soft. (Tazendra)
We're going to pick up both kitties this afternoon at 4:30.

I am absolutely terrified this will not work out, but still so happy.

I was raised around cats. My family had two cats, Sam and Sergeant, who slept in my crib with me like big tabby-striped pillows, and we never had fewer than three cats while I lived at home. Our average was four or five, our max was eight. They were all altered, they all had their shots and were well-cared-for, clean, healthy, vetted, and spoiled. They were indoor/outdoor cats, so they had room to get away from each other, and they generally got along okay. The more cats in a household, the more likely each cat is to have another cat or two they get along with, which takes the pressure off the rest, who don't have to deal with unwanted overtures of affection. I grew up watching cats socialize in a pretty much ideal environment, and I have to say that it was a really wonderful thing to observe. I've always missed that, and that's what I am hoping to create with these two silly boys. Some friendships, a working kitty social group.

Tazendra hated Sif from the moment we brought Sif home, and neither of them liked Fish at all, they were the worst possible mix of personalities, each so different from the others that they annoyed one another too much to ever become friends. I've lived for sixteen years in a household where the cats were tolerant at best, but never affectionate. I'm hoping that it will go better this time. At least these new cats know each other already, so they'll have at least one friend.

The other thing about how I grew up is that our indoor/outdoor cats suffered casualties. I lost a lot of cats to cars, one to antifreeze, a couple went out and never came home. I grew up with pet loss. We had about twenty cats in eighteen years, and we eventually lost them all. Only a couple lived long enough to die of natural causes, and they were the really, really smart ones. So I was raised losing friends. But I never loved the next one less, I never got the knack of holding myself apart so that I wouldn't get hurt. I never kept them at a distance. I never could say no to another.

So I'm used to taking the shot to the gut and getting up again, I'm used to moving on to meet the next cat, used to separating my grief from how I feel about other cats, new cats. It's not a knack everyone has, which is unfortunate, since it helps the pain immensely, but I can't say I recommend learning it the way I did, which was dreadful (and is why I will never again have cats that go outdoors). I'm glad I have it. It makes it easier to go on and make new friends. It's just what I do. I lose one, I grieve, I find another, because it is, on some level, my self-appointed job to take in cats that need me and care for them, and having an empty space feels very much like selfishness, like refusing to help a friend that needs help (even if I haven't met that friend yet). There is no replacing the pets I've lost, of course, there is only meeting the next one and finding out how delightful they are in their own way. I've never known any two cats that were particularly alike.

I hope, in the wake of what I lost with Tazendra, who was a terrible cat and the very best of companions, all this experience will serve me well, and make me as able to adapt to new little friends as I've always been. I hope I didn't lose something too great to overcome so soon. I'm confident, but I don't really know. Not for sure. I've never lost any friend so dear to me. I want her back. I don't expect that new cats will ever change that. Someday I will want them back, too, and I'll want Tazendra back just as badly, still, when that day comes, the same way I still want Flame back, and Thor, and Wuss, and Twindle, and Weed, and all the others.

But I keep doing this, even though I know this road just goes in one big circle of making friends and losing them. I keep volunteering for this.

Sucker.

Lonely.

Apr. 10th, 2011 08:26 am
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (The Last Unicorn: Never Run)
I used to hear voices, in the dark, before I went to sleep. A low murmuring, always male, either incomprehensible or nonsense words strung together with the cadence of speech. I always thought it was cool, and I found it comforting. I assumed it was the tinnitus I've had since I was a kid, but when I got medicated for the bipolar thing, they went away. Now I actually miss it. Going to sleep feels lonelier somehow.

I had a horrible nightmare last night about watching Tazendra die and being unable to do anything about it. Then I had another that I don't remember, but I do remember having a moderate panic attack during the dream (yes, this can happen, and it sucks because I can't use any of my usual coping strategies . . . I'm fucking asleep). My first instinct on waking was to want to go check on my cat to make sure she was okay, like you do when you have that sort of dream. The second instinct was to snuggle my cat for comfort. So, yeah, that pretty much bit goat scrotum. And shot whatever progress I've made in getting more comfortable sleeping alone right in the head. "It'll be great!" I'd tell myself. "I'll go to sleep and then maybe I'll dream about her and I'll get to see her again!!!" And the couple of dreams I've had about her where I was holding her, yeah, those were awesome.* But if my dreams are going to start being upsetting, maybe I'd rather not. Because I was sad all day today thinking about it.

I have been talking myself to sleep, talking to imaginary people, just about every night. I'm aware that this is insane, but . . . it works. I feel less shitty.

You know, it takes a lot of loneliness for me to feel alone. I don't much like being around people, excepting the people I care about most, and even then, my tolerance is kind of pathetically low. A day when I don't have to leave the house or speak to anyone is pretty much a win. But I feel lonely now. And being around people doesn't help. I don't want them, I want my stupid cat. These other two furbags, they don't cuddle worth a damn. I love them, but Jesus, they need to take some lessons.

I talked to her all the time, and she listened, and she talked back. It's kind of amazing how much I had come to rely on that, which I hadn't realized until it was gone. I try to talk to the others and . . . they're just cats. They don't talk back, or really care. This stinks. I hope I don't go completely batshit insane and start carrying her skull around and talking to it or something like that.

Sigh.

I'm going to go to bed and talk to some imaginary people and hope that my dreams are nice ones and that tomorrow I will feel human enough to get back to work on something, anything, to make me feel like I'm not just living the same day over and over.

Hoo boy. I am not a barrel of laughs, I will tell you that.

* I am aware that this is sort of pathetic. But they were good dreams, and if this is the only way I can ever be with her again, wrap it up, I'll take it. Holding her for 30 seconds in a dream is better than nothing at all.

Lonely.

Apr. 10th, 2011 08:26 am
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (The Last Unicorn: Never Run)
I used to hear voices, in the dark, before I went to sleep. A low murmuring, always male, either incomprehensible or nonsense words strung together with the cadence of speech. I always thought it was cool, and I found it comforting. I assumed it was the tinnitus I've had since I was a kid, but when I got medicated for the bipolar thing, they went away. Now I actually miss it. Going to sleep feels lonelier somehow.

I had a horrible nightmare last night about watching Tazendra die and being unable to do anything about it. Then I had another that I don't remember, but I do remember having a moderate panic attack during the dream (yes, this can happen, and it sucks because I can't use any of my usual coping strategies . . . I'm fucking asleep). My first instinct on waking was to want to go check on my cat to make sure she was okay, like you do when you have that sort of dream. The second instinct was to snuggle my cat for comfort. So, yeah, that pretty much bit goat scrotum. And shot whatever progress I've made in getting more comfortable sleeping alone right in the head. "It'll be great!" I'd tell myself. "I'll go to sleep and then maybe I'll dream about her and I'll get to see her again!!!" And the couple of dreams I've had about her where I was holding her, yeah, those were awesome.* But if my dreams are going to start being upsetting, maybe I'd rather not. Because I was sad all day today thinking about it.

I have been talking myself to sleep, talking to imaginary people, just about every night. I'm aware that this is insane, but . . . it works. I feel less shitty.

You know, it takes a lot of loneliness for me to feel alone. I don't much like being around people, excepting the people I care about most, and even then, my tolerance is kind of pathetically low. A day when I don't have to leave the house or speak to anyone is pretty much a win. But I feel lonely now. And being around people doesn't help. I don't want them, I want my stupid cat. These other two furbags, they don't cuddle worth a damn. I love them, but Jesus, they need to take some lessons.

I talked to her all the time, and she listened, and she talked back. It's kind of amazing how much I had come to rely on that, which I hadn't realized until it was gone. I try to talk to the others and . . . they're just cats. They don't talk back, or really care. This stinks. I hope I don't go completely batshit insane and start carrying her skull around and talking to it or something like that.

Sigh.

I'm going to go to bed and talk to some imaginary people and hope that my dreams are nice ones and that tomorrow I will feel human enough to get back to work on something, anything, to make me feel like I'm not just living the same day over and over.

Hoo boy. I am not a barrel of laughs, I will tell you that.

* I am aware that this is sort of pathetic. But they were good dreams, and if this is the only way I can ever be with her again, wrap it up, I'll take it. Holding her for 30 seconds in a dream is better than nothing at all.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
So, we had to decide what to do with Tazendra's furry little body.

Yeah, I'm throwing this out there so that I don't have to try to talk around it. If it bothers you, feel free to skip it or drop me, but protesting that my method of dealing with her is wrong is not likely to make me friendlier.

Cremation was high on the list, but I need something I can touch. Burial was right out since it would not only leave me with nothing to hold, but it would have to be at a spot where I could have unrestricted access to it 24/7 for the rest of my life, and that is hard to find (even if I would never NEED access at 3 a.m. on Christmas Eve, the idea that I COULDN'T would make me angry; I hate being told where I can and cannot go more than almost anything). It also bothers me, thinking about her out there like that; outside, when she was never an outside cat. Away from me, when she was never away from me. I've moved away from buried pets before. I don't like it. I feel guilty and sad, and the times I've dug to try to move them, I've never found anything.

So, I'm having her bones cleaned. Not articulated, just prepared as a group. We drove out to the Skulls Unlimited processing facility the Tuesday before last, had a brief look inside (so cool!) and saw the attached Museum of Osteology. (INCREDIBLE! More about it at some other time.) I left her there, in good hands, and while I will worry about her, it's oddly less worry than I would have letting the vet send her off to be cremated. I am quite sure I will recognize her skull, the feel of it. When the vet gave her back to me as a catsicle I was able to verify it was her by touch, through the bag, even though I DID look inside just enough to see her fur and smell her smell, so that I could be certain. It was terrible, but I had to know.

I'm aware that some people might find the idea of stripping her bones horrible. This isn't something I decided to do lightly; I have been thinking about it for several years now. I am familiar with the process and while it isn't what one would call pleasant, it is, in fact, cleaner and faster than decomposition; it's only more disturbing because it requires human involvement to perform or accelerate all the jobs that nature would otherwise do very slowly. That seems to us to be brutal and hard, because we are used to being able to turn away from these processes, to not look, to pretend that it's all over once the spirit goes, and that's where our obligation to think about what happens to our little buddies ends. But this way is far less prolonged and she will be attended by competent people. Five days to strip the bones of flesh, probably done by now, a few months to clean and whiten them.

I will have her back soon. Not as soon as I would like, not nearly, it already feels like a year has gone by since I left her there, but the work they do is the best I've yet seen, and good work takes time, it cannot be rushed, so I am willing to wait.

So, this is the way that makes me most comfortable. It leaves me with something to hold. I've gotten used to having skulls and bones around, they comfort me, and I'm sure she wouldn't mind staying with me in any form, especially if it made me feel less lonely.

People's reaction to my collection of skulls often encompasses an element of "Wow, morbid much?" Bones don't seem sad to me, though. They are what endures longest. They are strong and beautiful, evolved perfectly for their functions, but never too well. They survive to tell the stories of our lives long after everything else that made us us is gone. They are the essence of what we are, marked by our lives and livelihoods, a story written in breaks and spurs and calciferous deposits, in the rough Braille of muscle attachments and the smoothness of closed sutures. And, as each animal's physiology is the product of millions of years of evolution as well as its own life, the bones hold within them the essence of everything we were. Evolution's fingerprints. I cannot keep what made Tazendra purr, or the way she pranced toward the food bowl, or how she would look at me all cockeyed and adoring. But I can keep part of her. The part that sheltered or supported all the rest. A tiny part, but it's a framework from which I can hang memories, I suppose.

I may paint her skull, like I did this cat, who was no-one I knew. I may not. I'm going to make a box to put her in, but haven't settled on the right one, or even thought of what I would want painted on it. I really don't have any ideas. None whatsoever. That part of my brain seems . . . turned off. I fully trust it will come back with time.

At any rate, she won't be for display, just sitting out. I doubt people coming to my place would be disturbed by one more skull, but I want to put her in the closet, down in the corner where she most liked to lie, because that seems where she would most want to be second to right next to me on the bed. I'd love to work a bit of her bone into a cabochon I could wear all the time in a ring, but I'll have time to decide how and whether to do that.

I may post pictures, I may not. I may decide it's too personal a thing. I really don't know.

Sigh.

I am mostly okay, if not better. It still seems wrong and impossible that she is gone forever. She was a fixture, one of the things that made my life my life, something that defined me to myself. One of the three beings on Earth I love the most, and I still love her that much. That doesn't change just because she's gone. When I look at pictures of her, it's like looking at pictures of part of myself, which is not a feeling I get with the other cats, nor even the kittens, to whom I was so close. Yet I was always keenly aware of her her own little mind, her little spirit, distinct and real and very very alive. I saw her face more often than my own. I spoke to her more often than any other living thing except maybe Sargon. Missing all of that is a huge, incomprehensible void, too deep to even be painful. I can miss her acutely in the moment, but that's based in a momentary wanting her here. Thinking about "never again" . . . I can't wrap my head around it, I can't make it make sense, and so it's not painful so much as just bewildering and unthinkable.

We are all just animals, and the heart is just a muscle, and she was just a cat.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
So, we had to decide what to do with Tazendra's furry little body.

Yeah, I'm throwing this out there so that I don't have to try to talk around it. If it bothers you, feel free to skip it or drop me, but protesting that my method of dealing with her is wrong is not likely to make me friendlier.

Cremation was high on the list, but I need something I can touch. Burial was right out since it would not only leave me with nothing to hold, but it would have to be at a spot where I could have unrestricted access to it 24/7 for the rest of my life, and that is hard to find (even if I would never NEED access at 3 a.m. on Christmas Eve, the idea that I COULDN'T would make me angry; I hate being told where I can and cannot go more than almost anything). It also bothers me, thinking about her out there like that; outside, when she was never an outside cat. Away from me, when she was never away from me. I've moved away from buried pets before. I don't like it. I feel guilty and sad, and the times I've dug to try to move them, I've never found anything.

So, I'm having her bones cleaned. Not articulated, just prepared as a group. We drove out to the Skulls Unlimited processing facility the Tuesday before last, had a brief look inside (so cool!) and saw the attached Museum of Osteology. (INCREDIBLE! More about it at some other time.) I left her there, in good hands, and while I will worry about her, it's oddly less worry than I would have letting the vet send her off to be cremated. I am quite sure I will recognize her skull, the feel of it. When the vet gave her back to me as a catsicle I was able to verify it was her by touch, through the bag, even though I DID look inside just enough to see her fur and smell her smell, so that I could be certain. It was terrible, but I had to know.

I'm aware that some people might find the idea of stripping her bones horrible. This isn't something I decided to do lightly; I have been thinking about it for several years now. I am familiar with the process and while it isn't what one would call pleasant, it is, in fact, cleaner and faster than decomposition; it's only more disturbing because it requires human involvement to perform or accelerate all the jobs that nature would otherwise do very slowly. That seems to us to be brutal and hard, because we are used to being able to turn away from these processes, to not look, to pretend that it's all over once the spirit goes, and that's where our obligation to think about what happens to our little buddies ends. But this way is far less prolonged and she will be attended by competent people. Five days to strip the bones of flesh, probably done by now, a few months to clean and whiten them.

I will have her back soon. Not as soon as I would like, not nearly, it already feels like a year has gone by since I left her there, but the work they do is the best I've yet seen, and good work takes time, it cannot be rushed, so I am willing to wait.

So, this is the way that makes me most comfortable. It leaves me with something to hold. I've gotten used to having skulls and bones around, they comfort me, and I'm sure she wouldn't mind staying with me in any form, especially if it made me feel less lonely.

People's reaction to my collection of skulls often encompasses an element of "Wow, morbid much?" Bones don't seem sad to me, though. They are what endures longest. They are strong and beautiful, evolved perfectly for their functions, but never too well. They survive to tell the stories of our lives long after everything else that made us us is gone. They are the essence of what we are, marked by our lives and livelihoods, a story written in breaks and spurs and calciferous deposits, in the rough Braille of muscle attachments and the smoothness of closed sutures. And, as each animal's physiology is the product of millions of years of evolution as well as its own life, the bones hold within them the essence of everything we were. Evolution's fingerprints. I cannot keep what made Tazendra purr, or the way she pranced toward the food bowl, or how she would look at me all cockeyed and adoring. But I can keep part of her. The part that sheltered or supported all the rest. A tiny part, but it's a framework from which I can hang memories, I suppose.

I may paint her skull, like I did this cat, who was no-one I knew. I may not. I'm going to make a box to put her in, but haven't settled on the right one, or even thought of what I would want painted on it. I really don't have any ideas. None whatsoever. That part of my brain seems . . . turned off. I fully trust it will come back with time.

At any rate, she won't be for display, just sitting out. I doubt people coming to my place would be disturbed by one more skull, but I want to put her in the closet, down in the corner where she most liked to lie, because that seems where she would most want to be second to right next to me on the bed. I'd love to work a bit of her bone into a cabochon I could wear all the time in a ring, but I'll have time to decide how and whether to do that.

I may post pictures, I may not. I may decide it's too personal a thing. I really don't know.

Sigh.

I am mostly okay, if not better. It still seems wrong and impossible that she is gone forever. She was a fixture, one of the things that made my life my life, something that defined me to myself. One of the three beings on Earth I love the most, and I still love her that much. That doesn't change just because she's gone. When I look at pictures of her, it's like looking at pictures of part of myself, which is not a feeling I get with the other cats, nor even the kittens, to whom I was so close. Yet I was always keenly aware of her her own little mind, her little spirit, distinct and real and very very alive. I saw her face more often than my own. I spoke to her more often than any other living thing except maybe Sargon. Missing all of that is a huge, incomprehensible void, too deep to even be painful. I can miss her acutely in the moment, but that's based in a momentary wanting her here. Thinking about "never again" . . . I can't wrap my head around it, I can't make it make sense, and so it's not painful so much as just bewildering and unthinkable.

We are all just animals, and the heart is just a muscle, and she was just a cat.
naamah_darling: Still from The Last Unicorn animated movie of a springtime forest with a path leading through it. (Road Home)
This is my icon of wanting things to go back to the way they were, or for needing things that are no longer possible.

The bad news is that nothing much has changed. The good news is that nothing much has changed. Neither better nor worse.

Monday we dealt with her body, which was agreeable enough but took most of the day -- more on that some other time, it's its own post -- and then I had a bad couple of days on Tuesday and Wednesday, not specifically cat-related, but related to the lack of spoons caused by the whole ordeal. I still can't concentrate on much of anything.

Getting the Witches' Mark prelude to the point where I didn't completely hate it was exhausting, and I leaned heavily on Sargon for that, too. The updating was preceded by a flurry of Oh Shit. Oh shit, we need an index entry, oh shit we need an icon, oh shit I need a summary, oh shit I need to change the journal style, oh shit I need to crosspost. All stuff that, if I were running on full power, I would have dealt with beforehand. I just . . . suck at thinking of things right now. I can't do much more than edit, and even that wears me out. I have no reason to be tired, I just am. Also, I couldn't prioritize my way out of a puddle.

And nothing feels right. Every morning when it's time for bed, I feel like it can't possibly be time to go to bed, that I haven't had a full day, haven't done anything. Days slip past, at once too fast and feeling like forever, like I'm waiting for something. I think it's that so much of my daily routine was based around her: get up and water the cat, snuggle the cat, feed the cat, snuggle the cat, water the cat, pill the cat, water the cat, snuggle the cat, go to bed with the cat. And because I can't complete these steps in my daily routine, it feels wrong when I go do something else.

I'm irritable and lonely, with nastily conflicting urges to be around people and to avoid them. I get frustrated easily, and bored, but almost nothing entertains me, and most things annoy me.

I'm not teary or crying all the time -- I didn't cry yesterday or today at all -- so I seem okay, I keep thinking I should be okay, but my sudden complete lack of functionality points to being not okay at all.

I know, I know, that I have every right to feel however I need to feel, and yet I still feel like I shouldn't be as dysfunctional as I am. Not so much the "just a cat" thing, that's so much horse shit, she was so much more than that, but because I know it could be so much worse, that friends are dealing with worse, that I will someday face worse, and that I have faced worse before. And I don't even feel that bad moment to moment. It's awful how quickly acceptance of it clicked into place: it's a fact now. It's a fact that feels wrong occasionally, but it doesn't have sharp edges, really. It's . . . not painful on an conscious level. It's just eating at me on a subconscious level, where I can't see it to stop it, where I can't even feel it as it's happening so that I can try to make it go away. I don't know what the hell is wrong, whether the quasi-calm is real or just a coping mechanism that will eventually fail. I can't predict myself, I don't know myself. I dislike that intensely.

Sargon is taking care of me as well as he is able, given that he is very upset about it as well, and going through his own process of mourning. He's being supportive and not requiring much of me, being understanding that I can't do complicated things right now, and that mostly I just want to be left alone. I'm also being extensively cared for by imaginary people, who all deserve a huge round of thanks. They have made going to bed bearable. Not fun, but bearable. It makes me feel kind of crazy, but I will take whatever works.

I want to talk about something else, but I'm so tired there really isn't anything else in my life right now but this and the writing, which I have to keep up, because right now it's all we have. I want to DO something else, have other thoughts, but . . . nope. Not happening.

I have things I need to be doing, want to be doing, creative stuff that needs tending to, and it's all just too heavy to deal with, and I feel like a complete and utter wimp for not being all "Being creative and accomplishing shit will make me feel better!" I can't even do fucking laundry. How the hell am I supposed to make anything?

Goddammit, cat, you always were good at fucking things up and being in the way. If you're going to keep doing it, you could at least be here to let me snuggle you. Making fun of the Fish is not nearly as satisfying as calling you names. I miss you, you hairy little ingrate. Even when you used to creep up on the bed with me while I was napping and sniff my eyes.
naamah_darling: Still from The Last Unicorn animated movie of a springtime forest with a path leading through it. (Road Home)
This is my icon of wanting things to go back to the way they were, or for needing things that are no longer possible.

The bad news is that nothing much has changed. The good news is that nothing much has changed. Neither better nor worse.

Monday we dealt with her body, which was agreeable enough but took most of the day -- more on that some other time, it's its own post -- and then I had a bad couple of days on Tuesday and Wednesday, not specifically cat-related, but related to the lack of spoons caused by the whole ordeal. I still can't concentrate on much of anything.

Getting the Witches' Mark prelude to the point where I didn't completely hate it was exhausting, and I leaned heavily on Sargon for that, too. The updating was preceded by a flurry of Oh Shit. Oh shit, we need an index entry, oh shit we need an icon, oh shit I need a summary, oh shit I need to change the journal style, oh shit I need to crosspost. All stuff that, if I were running on full power, I would have dealt with beforehand. I just . . . suck at thinking of things right now. I can't do much more than edit, and even that wears me out. I have no reason to be tired, I just am. Also, I couldn't prioritize my way out of a puddle.

And nothing feels right. Every morning when it's time for bed, I feel like it can't possibly be time to go to bed, that I haven't had a full day, haven't done anything. Days slip past, at once too fast and feeling like forever, like I'm waiting for something. I think it's that so much of my daily routine was based around her: get up and water the cat, snuggle the cat, feed the cat, snuggle the cat, water the cat, pill the cat, water the cat, snuggle the cat, go to bed with the cat. And because I can't complete these steps in my daily routine, it feels wrong when I go do something else.

I'm irritable and lonely, with nastily conflicting urges to be around people and to avoid them. I get frustrated easily, and bored, but almost nothing entertains me, and most things annoy me.

I'm not teary or crying all the time -- I didn't cry yesterday or today at all -- so I seem okay, I keep thinking I should be okay, but my sudden complete lack of functionality points to being not okay at all.

I know, I know, that I have every right to feel however I need to feel, and yet I still feel like I shouldn't be as dysfunctional as I am. Not so much the "just a cat" thing, that's so much horse shit, she was so much more than that, but because I know it could be so much worse, that friends are dealing with worse, that I will someday face worse, and that I have faced worse before. And I don't even feel that bad moment to moment. It's awful how quickly acceptance of it clicked into place: it's a fact now. It's a fact that feels wrong occasionally, but it doesn't have sharp edges, really. It's . . . not painful on an conscious level. It's just eating at me on a subconscious level, where I can't see it to stop it, where I can't even feel it as it's happening so that I can try to make it go away. I don't know what the hell is wrong, whether the quasi-calm is real or just a coping mechanism that will eventually fail. I can't predict myself, I don't know myself. I dislike that intensely.

Sargon is taking care of me as well as he is able, given that he is very upset about it as well, and going through his own process of mourning. He's being supportive and not requiring much of me, being understanding that I can't do complicated things right now, and that mostly I just want to be left alone. I'm also being extensively cared for by imaginary people, who all deserve a huge round of thanks. They have made going to bed bearable. Not fun, but bearable. It makes me feel kind of crazy, but I will take whatever works.

I want to talk about something else, but I'm so tired there really isn't anything else in my life right now but this and the writing, which I have to keep up, because right now it's all we have. I want to DO something else, have other thoughts, but . . . nope. Not happening.

I have things I need to be doing, want to be doing, creative stuff that needs tending to, and it's all just too heavy to deal with, and I feel like a complete and utter wimp for not being all "Being creative and accomplishing shit will make me feel better!" I can't even do fucking laundry. How the hell am I supposed to make anything?

Goddammit, cat, you always were good at fucking things up and being in the way. If you're going to keep doing it, you could at least be here to let me snuggle you. Making fun of the Fish is not nearly as satisfying as calling you names. I miss you, you hairy little ingrate. Even when you used to creep up on the bed with me while I was napping and sniff my eyes.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Dreamed about holding my kitty. Wondered how long that would take. It was a nice dream, and I didn't wake up sad or anything. I think this is officially the longest I've ever gone without holding her. I took a week-long trip years ago, and it's been about a week. Sucks.

It's messed. I'm coping really well as far as just getting along day to day goes, I guess. My appetite has sucked, but I know from experience that will go away. But I'm not as horribly maudlin and sad as I was.

At the same time, I can't do anything. My ability to problem-solve is in the shitter. I have art projects I need to work on and I'm not getting anywhere with them. I can't risk, is the thing, which means starting new things or challenging myself is not really possible right now. This is a fairly normal stress-type reaction for me, but usually it comes with a lot of flailing anguish in the foreground, to give it a context, and I don't really have that at the moment.

Likewise, anything that is a multi-step process has suddenly become impossible. Like, if I want to paint, maybe I have to clean off the table first, and to do that, I need to put a bunch of stuff in the closet, and to do that I have to clear out a bunch of stuff from in front of the closet, which would lead to me needing to do laundry . . . that would become impossible round about the needing to put stuff in the closet part. It's horribly annoying, but I know from experience it's the side effect that is most likely to overstay its welcome.

The other possibility is that I am bottling everything up and am not even aware of it. I wouldn't think so, it's not my style, but without going into detail I will say that there are external real-life reasons why I might be doing that.

Anyway, I'm just doing what I can, and resuming normal operating procedures as the resources become available. It was a hard hit, but it's not like I didn't have warning, after a fashion, and I've lost close family members and more pets than I can count, so it's at least familiar ground.

I'm not over it, I still cry most nights because she's just not there, but I'm more functional than I thought I would be. It's not great, but I'll take it.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Dreamed about holding my kitty. Wondered how long that would take. It was a nice dream, and I didn't wake up sad or anything. I think this is officially the longest I've ever gone without holding her. I took a week-long trip years ago, and it's been about a week. Sucks.

It's messed. I'm coping really well as far as just getting along day to day goes, I guess. My appetite has sucked, but I know from experience that will go away. But I'm not as horribly maudlin and sad as I was.

At the same time, I can't do anything. My ability to problem-solve is in the shitter. I have art projects I need to work on and I'm not getting anywhere with them. I can't risk, is the thing, which means starting new things or challenging myself is not really possible right now. This is a fairly normal stress-type reaction for me, but usually it comes with a lot of flailing anguish in the foreground, to give it a context, and I don't really have that at the moment.

Likewise, anything that is a multi-step process has suddenly become impossible. Like, if I want to paint, maybe I have to clean off the table first, and to do that, I need to put a bunch of stuff in the closet, and to do that I have to clear out a bunch of stuff from in front of the closet, which would lead to me needing to do laundry . . . that would become impossible round about the needing to put stuff in the closet part. It's horribly annoying, but I know from experience it's the side effect that is most likely to overstay its welcome.

The other possibility is that I am bottling everything up and am not even aware of it. I wouldn't think so, it's not my style, but without going into detail I will say that there are external real-life reasons why I might be doing that.

Anyway, I'm just doing what I can, and resuming normal operating procedures as the resources become available. It was a hard hit, but it's not like I didn't have warning, after a fashion, and I've lost close family members and more pets than I can count, so it's at least familiar ground.

I'm not over it, I still cry most nights because she's just not there, but I'm more functional than I thought I would be. It's not great, but I'll take it.
naamah_darling: A sweet-looking long-haired black cat. She is very soft. (Tazendra)
IMG_1531

She's gone. Really gone. So I'm going to say this all at once, so I don't have to do it again, and maybe then I can start letting go.

Monday night, Sargon and I found her collapsed on the kitchen floor, panting, and thought she'd had another seizure. I moved her someplace more comfortable, and we waited to see if she'd come out of it on her own, like she had last time. It rapidly became apparent that something was wrong on a deeper level. She wasn't coming around or responding to anything. She moved occasionally, but it was uncoordinated, involuntary contractions of her legs, and then just occasional random movements. Her breathing grew faster and shallower. She cried twice, and hissed a couple of times, but didn't seem really aware of anything going on around her.

I called my dad and he drove us to the emergency vet's, where we only waited a few minutes before being told that she had thrown a massive blood clot and had a stroke and was essentially comatose. There was nothing they could do for her. We didn't even have to talk about it. I just told them to go get her so we could say goodbye and send her off. I didn't want her suffering another second if I could prevent it.

It wasn't hard to do it. She may have been suffering, we thought not but didn't know for sure, and there was no pulling through it, so there was no choice to make. I'm sure if there had been a choice, any degree of uncertainty, it would have been horribly hard, but there wasn't.

She went easy. It was fast. I was glad I was there, and I want to say to anyone who thinks they couldn't do it, thinks they couldn't stand to be there, that it makes it easier for you and for them to stay. They need you there, and it's not as bad as it seems like it must be. This is twice now I've had to be present. It's better to see it with your own eyes, to know that it's just that fast and just that painless, and just that much of a release. She sighed once, and she was gone.

I held her for a long, long time, and I cried a lot, and sang her her favorite song, the one she'd always come running to, that she thought was written just for her. And I let her go.

Then I came home, developed possibly the worst non-head-injury related headache I have ever had, threw up, and slept for ten hours.

So that was the part that sucked.

Let me tell you what didn't suck.

The last 15 years and nine months.

She was given to me in a Denny's parking lot by a friend who had come up from Georgia and brought two tiny kittens with her. I held her, and she was tiny, so tiny! Way too tiny to be away from mom! And I could tell she wasn't feeling all that well, and was tired and hungry and missing her mother, and she was scared, and my maternal instinct kicked in and I licked her on the head and . . . yeah, that was pretty much it. She was my cat after that. Her tabby-and-white brother, larger and healthier, went to the receptionist at our apartment complex. I hope he had a good life with her.

A few days later I took her outside our apartment to the great big tree that grew in the middle of the greensway, and I put her down next to it. She looked at it and looked at me in confusion, so I stepped up and raked my nails across it and popped them in the bark like cats do. The little light bulb went off in her head and she immediately turned and dug her claws into it with total concentration, sharpening them for the first time. Then some big guy walked past, about fifteen feet off, and she saw his VERY white socks going back and forth, and ran over and attacked his ankle. He said "Aaah! Hey!" and plucked her gently off and we laughed about it and I carried her back inside in my breast pocket. That was how little she was.

She loved her food so much she would run from one side of the apartment to the other and fling herself on the drawer that held the cans of food. She would grab the drawer-pull and somehow use her momentum to pull the drawer out. This is from a kitten that weighed about as much as one of those cans.

She developed a nasty uterine infection before we could have her spayed, and we almost lost her then. I came to see her while she was recovering at the vet's for two days, and when I came in she was doped to the gills with an IV, but she still staggered to the front of her cage and wailed until they opened it. I went to her and she clung to me desperately and cried and cried, like a human baby, until they had to pull us apart so she could rest. Man, that sucked. Not losing her then didn't suck, though.

Once, we tried to teach her to go outside on a lead, but all she wanted to do was eat grass, like a tiny, creeping, furry black lawnmower. We got her as far as the driveway eventually, where she sat down in the sun, blinking happily, then started pathetically bleating and crying because she'd sat her ass down on an anthill. Sargon had to pick all the ants out of her butt-fur, which took a while, what with the laughing helplessly.

A veteran trash-digger, she once got a red and gold cardboard ring meant to go around a fast food chicken sandwich wrapped around her middle. A perfect fit. We couldn't find her when we got home, and discovered her in the darkest part of the hall, hiding under a chair in utter shame. She looked like an organ-grinder's monkey or something. We couldn't stop laughing long enough to coax her out for at least ten minutes, and for years afterward, if you called her "Circus Ape! Circus Ape!" she would glare venomously.

She wasn't very playful, but when she did play it was fucking hilarious. She would roll on her back and flail her limbs around like a mad thing, claws splayed, her ass wagging in the air. Looked like jumping spider mating behavior. Crazy. Then she'd spit, like her brain had just popped, and go running off. Just a few days ago, she went bugshit playing with a feather, crazy as a kitten. I tried to get it on camera. Of course, the instant the camera came on, she stopped playing and just looked at the feather like ". . . What the fuck is this?"

She wasn't playful, but she was loving. She cared for me. She would sometimes steal food from the trash or the cutting board and bring it to me to eat, trilling in her throat and proud of her kill. She once broke into my own lunch container and brought me a whole chicken breast.

When I was miserable and unmedicated and in deep emotional shit, she was there to make me go to bed, to lay on me until I fell asleep, and she still made sure I got some sleep every night. She'd pick-pick-pick at me to come to bed. If I went to bed without her, she would come in within twenty seconds of me turning out the light. Can't miss it! Important! And there was the time recently, when I was really sick, that she slept next to me nonstop while I recovered, and I caught her growling nastily in her sleep for the first time ever. I like to think she was defending me from the Bad Thing that was making me feel so shitty. When I woke her up, she purred so happily.

She was my cat. Mine, the way very few animals belong to people. She hated other human beings, and I do not say that lightly. And I was hers, too.

She wanted to be on me or near me all the time. Constantly. I figured out that if I put a chair next to my own with one of her favorite blankets in it, she would sit quietly and just purr. I didn't even have to touch her. She was happy just to be near me. That's all she wanted. She would lay there and purr and occasionally look over at me dreamily, as happy as she ever managed to look without food being involved. If I regret anything, I regret that I was too stupid to figure this out years ago, and only started deliberately doing it a couple months ago (as opposed to how often it happened just because there happened to be a chair next to me, which was a lot).

If I sang to myself, or sang along to music, she would come running, wanting to be held, right in my arms. Nothing else would do. She had favorite songs. Daughter of the Glade, Hallelujah, Familiar Taste of Poison, Song to the Siren, and, appropriately, Kylie's Bittersweet Goodbye, which I sung to her often and often, and one last time during that last hour I held her, when she was no longer there. It was always our song of never having long enough. It was always going to be true.

She ran to greet me at the door whenever I came home, always, with her fluffy tail held high and her eyes so bright, and I always scooped her up and hugged her and told her I loved her first thing. Ask Sargon. I'd often say hello to her before I said hello to him. Not because I love him less, but because she was my baby, and that's just . . . that's what you do when your kids are happy to see you, dammit.

She would frequently put herself within arm's reach just in case I wanted her. I would sit, reading, surfing, writing, making art, with one hand in her fur. She was that near to me nearly all the time, and that much a part of everything I did. If you own something I made, I was holding her in my lap at some point while I made it. If you have read anything that I have written, I ran my fingers through her fur while writing it.

In the past year, we had acutally come to understand each other even more than in all the years before. I had learned so many things about her, I had learned how much she actually understood, which was a lot.

I didn't have to raise my voice, could just say to her "Let's go into the studio," or "I'm getting up, I'm leaving, come on," or "You can't be in here right now. Not now. Out." I could tell her to go into the carrier and come out of the carrier. I could ask if she wanted water or food or a treat, and she would answer "yeah" or "meh."

After the first seizure, as she was wandering around the exam room, seemingly fully recovered, she was complaining under her breath in little grunts and bleats. "I know, I know. This stinks. We'll go home soon," I told her. "Then you can have food." She gave an enthusiastic happy bleat and looked me in the eye, because she understood what I'd said, and when I got home, she was expecting her food, by golly. She was almost sixteen. Stupid to think that an animal that old wouldn't pick up a lot of language. I only really started trying to teach her to listen and communicate, as opposed to just obeying me, when she was around thirteen. She was getting better at it all the time. I wish I had started sooner.

When she was pestering me, and she often did, I would look at her silly face and think "I won't have her around much longer." And then I would put aside what I was doing and make room for her because I knew there would come a time when I would give worlds to be bothered by her again. I did it even when I didn't want to. Not always, but almost. Enough that I don't feel bad about the times I didn't, even now that she is gone.

I had my warning a year and a half ago when she had the seizure. I knew then that I would lose her soon, and I hoped for just another couple of years of good health and good times. I got more than I thought I might. I made the most of it.

She didn't have a long decline. She was happy and playful and energetic and healthy and not in any pain at all right up until it hit her and she went down. I am so grateful for that, that she never knew struggle or debility or constant pain. That her life was absolutely without a doubt a good one, even if it hadn't always been (the years that were hardest on me were hard on her, too, very hard).

The night before she died, I had a horrible nightmare. I woke up, really disturbed, went to get a hug from Sargon, and when I came back, she put me back to bed with this vaguely disgusted air of "You are making me do this AGAIN? *sigh* I love you, stupid human, but you really need to get this sleeping thing figured out, 'cause this? This is just sad."

I remember thinking, as she was snuggling up to me for the second time that night, that someday she would tuck me into bed for the last time, that I only had a limited number of these moments left, and that I should appreciate each one as though I wouldn't get another. I snuggled her extra hard that last night, for no real reason I can articulate, and that was the night it turned out to be true.

On Monday, she came up to me during gaming night and mugged me for attention, and rather than doing her usual thing of climbing onto my shoulder and then looking disgusted at the company and jumping back down, she actually settled on my shoulder and lay there a while, purring happily. She got down when she was done and wandered off with her tail up and her britches wiggling, and that was the last I really saw of her before we found her on the floor. She was happy.

And now I am without her, like losing something as close to me as my own shadow. I will move on, in time, someday the grief will not be so keen, but it's something I will never get back. And, too, it's something I can never lose: that I had her. Or she had me.

Cats are often depicted as dense, uncaring, mercenary beasts that can't be trained and are inherently selfish, malevolent, and manipulative. To her everlasting credit, Tazendra managed to be absolutely the best companion any human could have asked for without defying any of those traditions. That is a rare thing in the extreme. The world knew her as a highly-evolved slime mold colony with a bad roast beef addiction and a seething hatred for all forms of life. She was a totally different cat with me.

And that perhaps is the worst thing. That no matter how eloquently I describe it, nobody else saw those sides of her, nobody else really knows what an amazing friend she was. Her in particular. I could try to explain it until my eyeballs bled and still nobody would understand how lucky I was to have her.

I was so lucky. So incredibly lucky.

Here we are in the dead of night
Will you keep me warm and hold me tight
All we have is until the dawn
Let the night be long and ease the dawn
I love you more than you'll ever know
It hurts to see you go
So darling sing me a lullaby
Oh, oh, oh
Bittersweet goodbye
Don't think about the future now
These few hours
Let the nighttime envelop us
Take us under
Bewitching spell, bewitching spell
Here we are in the dead of night
Won't see you past the morning light
So darling sing me a lullaby
Bittersweet goodbye
Remember me when you're away


Goodbye.
naamah_darling: A sweet-looking long-haired black cat. She is very soft. (Tazendra)
IMG_1531

She's gone. Really gone. So I'm going to say this all at once, so I don't have to do it again, and maybe then I can start letting go.

Monday night, Sargon and I found her collapsed on the kitchen floor, panting, and thought she'd had another seizure. I moved her someplace more comfortable, and we waited to see if she'd come out of it on her own, like she had last time. It rapidly became apparent that something was wrong on a deeper level. She wasn't coming around or responding to anything. She moved occasionally, but it was uncoordinated, involuntary contractions of her legs, and then just occasional random movements. Her breathing grew faster and shallower. She cried twice, and hissed a couple of times, but didn't seem really aware of anything going on around her.

I called my dad and he drove us to the emergency vet's, where we only waited a few minutes before being told that she had thrown a massive blood clot and had a stroke and was essentially comatose. There was nothing they could do for her. We didn't even have to talk about it. I just told them to go get her so we could say goodbye and send her off. I didn't want her suffering another second if I could prevent it.

It wasn't hard to do it. She may have been suffering, we thought not but didn't know for sure, and there was no pulling through it, so there was no choice to make. I'm sure if there had been a choice, any degree of uncertainty, it would have been horribly hard, but there wasn't.

She went easy. It was fast. I was glad I was there, and I want to say to anyone who thinks they couldn't do it, thinks they couldn't stand to be there, that it makes it easier for you and for them to stay. They need you there, and it's not as bad as it seems like it must be. This is twice now I've had to be present. It's better to see it with your own eyes, to know that it's just that fast and just that painless, and just that much of a release. She sighed once, and she was gone.

I held her for a long, long time, and I cried a lot, and sang her her favorite song, the one she'd always come running to, that she thought was written just for her. And I let her go.

Then I came home, developed possibly the worst non-head-injury related headache I have ever had, threw up, and slept for ten hours.

So that was the part that sucked.

Let me tell you what didn't suck.

The last 15 years and nine months.

She was given to me in a Denny's parking lot by a friend who had come up from Georgia and brought two tiny kittens with her. I held her, and she was tiny, so tiny! Way too tiny to be away from mom! And I could tell she wasn't feeling all that well, and was tired and hungry and missing her mother, and she was scared, and my maternal instinct kicked in and I licked her on the head and . . . yeah, that was pretty much it. She was my cat after that. Her tabby-and-white brother, larger and healthier, went to the receptionist at our apartment complex. I hope he had a good life with her.

A few days later I took her outside our apartment to the great big tree that grew in the middle of the greensway, and I put her down next to it. She looked at it and looked at me in confusion, so I stepped up and raked my nails across it and popped them in the bark like cats do. The little light bulb went off in her head and she immediately turned and dug her claws into it with total concentration, sharpening them for the first time. Then some big guy walked past, about fifteen feet off, and she saw his VERY white socks going back and forth, and ran over and attacked his ankle. He said "Aaah! Hey!" and plucked her gently off and we laughed about it and I carried her back inside in my breast pocket. That was how little she was.

She loved her food so much she would run from one side of the apartment to the other and fling herself on the drawer that held the cans of food. She would grab the drawer-pull and somehow use her momentum to pull the drawer out. This is from a kitten that weighed about as much as one of those cans.

She developed a nasty uterine infection before we could have her spayed, and we almost lost her then. I came to see her while she was recovering at the vet's for two days, and when I came in she was doped to the gills with an IV, but she still staggered to the front of her cage and wailed until they opened it. I went to her and she clung to me desperately and cried and cried, like a human baby, until they had to pull us apart so she could rest. Man, that sucked. Not losing her then didn't suck, though.

Once, we tried to teach her to go outside on a lead, but all she wanted to do was eat grass, like a tiny, creeping, furry black lawnmower. We got her as far as the driveway eventually, where she sat down in the sun, blinking happily, then started pathetically bleating and crying because she'd sat her ass down on an anthill. Sargon had to pick all the ants out of her butt-fur, which took a while, what with the laughing helplessly.

A veteran trash-digger, she once got a red and gold cardboard ring meant to go around a fast food chicken sandwich wrapped around her middle. A perfect fit. We couldn't find her when we got home, and discovered her in the darkest part of the hall, hiding under a chair in utter shame. She looked like an organ-grinder's monkey or something. We couldn't stop laughing long enough to coax her out for at least ten minutes, and for years afterward, if you called her "Circus Ape! Circus Ape!" she would glare venomously.

She wasn't very playful, but when she did play it was fucking hilarious. She would roll on her back and flail her limbs around like a mad thing, claws splayed, her ass wagging in the air. Looked like jumping spider mating behavior. Crazy. Then she'd spit, like her brain had just popped, and go running off. Just a few days ago, she went bugshit playing with a feather, crazy as a kitten. I tried to get it on camera. Of course, the instant the camera came on, she stopped playing and just looked at the feather like ". . . What the fuck is this?"

She wasn't playful, but she was loving. She cared for me. She would sometimes steal food from the trash or the cutting board and bring it to me to eat, trilling in her throat and proud of her kill. She once broke into my own lunch container and brought me a whole chicken breast.

When I was miserable and unmedicated and in deep emotional shit, she was there to make me go to bed, to lay on me until I fell asleep, and she still made sure I got some sleep every night. She'd pick-pick-pick at me to come to bed. If I went to bed without her, she would come in within twenty seconds of me turning out the light. Can't miss it! Important! And there was the time recently, when I was really sick, that she slept next to me nonstop while I recovered, and I caught her growling nastily in her sleep for the first time ever. I like to think she was defending me from the Bad Thing that was making me feel so shitty. When I woke her up, she purred so happily.

She was my cat. Mine, the way very few animals belong to people. She hated other human beings, and I do not say that lightly. And I was hers, too.

She wanted to be on me or near me all the time. Constantly. I figured out that if I put a chair next to my own with one of her favorite blankets in it, she would sit quietly and just purr. I didn't even have to touch her. She was happy just to be near me. That's all she wanted. She would lay there and purr and occasionally look over at me dreamily, as happy as she ever managed to look without food being involved. If I regret anything, I regret that I was too stupid to figure this out years ago, and only started deliberately doing it a couple months ago (as opposed to how often it happened just because there happened to be a chair next to me, which was a lot).

If I sang to myself, or sang along to music, she would come running, wanting to be held, right in my arms. Nothing else would do. She had favorite songs. Daughter of the Glade, Hallelujah, Familiar Taste of Poison, Song to the Siren, and, appropriately, Kylie's Bittersweet Goodbye, which I sung to her often and often, and one last time during that last hour I held her, when she was no longer there. It was always our song of never having long enough. It was always going to be true.

She ran to greet me at the door whenever I came home, always, with her fluffy tail held high and her eyes so bright, and I always scooped her up and hugged her and told her I loved her first thing. Ask Sargon. I'd often say hello to her before I said hello to him. Not because I love him less, but because she was my baby, and that's just . . . that's what you do when your kids are happy to see you, dammit.

She would frequently put herself within arm's reach just in case I wanted her. I would sit, reading, surfing, writing, making art, with one hand in her fur. She was that near to me nearly all the time, and that much a part of everything I did. If you own something I made, I was holding her in my lap at some point while I made it. If you have read anything that I have written, I ran my fingers through her fur while writing it.

In the past year, we had acutally come to understand each other even more than in all the years before. I had learned so many things about her, I had learned how much she actually understood, which was a lot.

I didn't have to raise my voice, could just say to her "Let's go into the studio," or "I'm getting up, I'm leaving, come on," or "You can't be in here right now. Not now. Out." I could tell her to go into the carrier and come out of the carrier. I could ask if she wanted water or food or a treat, and she would answer "yeah" or "meh."

After the first seizure, as she was wandering around the exam room, seemingly fully recovered, she was complaining under her breath in little grunts and bleats. "I know, I know. This stinks. We'll go home soon," I told her. "Then you can have food." She gave an enthusiastic happy bleat and looked me in the eye, because she understood what I'd said, and when I got home, she was expecting her food, by golly. She was almost sixteen. Stupid to think that an animal that old wouldn't pick up a lot of language. I only really started trying to teach her to listen and communicate, as opposed to just obeying me, when she was around thirteen. She was getting better at it all the time. I wish I had started sooner.

When she was pestering me, and she often did, I would look at her silly face and think "I won't have her around much longer." And then I would put aside what I was doing and make room for her because I knew there would come a time when I would give worlds to be bothered by her again. I did it even when I didn't want to. Not always, but almost. Enough that I don't feel bad about the times I didn't, even now that she is gone.

I had my warning a year and a half ago when she had the seizure. I knew then that I would lose her soon, and I hoped for just another couple of years of good health and good times. I got more than I thought I might. I made the most of it.

She didn't have a long decline. She was happy and playful and energetic and healthy and not in any pain at all right up until it hit her and she went down. I am so grateful for that, that she never knew struggle or debility or constant pain. That her life was absolutely without a doubt a good one, even if it hadn't always been (the years that were hardest on me were hard on her, too, very hard).

The night before she died, I had a horrible nightmare. I woke up, really disturbed, went to get a hug from Sargon, and when I came back, she put me back to bed with this vaguely disgusted air of "You are making me do this AGAIN? *sigh* I love you, stupid human, but you really need to get this sleeping thing figured out, 'cause this? This is just sad."

I remember thinking, as she was snuggling up to me for the second time that night, that someday she would tuck me into bed for the last time, that I only had a limited number of these moments left, and that I should appreciate each one as though I wouldn't get another. I snuggled her extra hard that last night, for no real reason I can articulate, and that was the night it turned out to be true.

On Monday, she came up to me during gaming night and mugged me for attention, and rather than doing her usual thing of climbing onto my shoulder and then looking disgusted at the company and jumping back down, she actually settled on my shoulder and lay there a while, purring happily. She got down when she was done and wandered off with her tail up and her britches wiggling, and that was the last I really saw of her before we found her on the floor. She was happy.

And now I am without her, like losing something as close to me as my own shadow. I will move on, in time, someday the grief will not be so keen, but it's something I will never get back. And, too, it's something I can never lose: that I had her. Or she had me.

Cats are often depicted as dense, uncaring, mercenary beasts that can't be trained and are inherently selfish, malevolent, and manipulative. To her everlasting credit, Tazendra managed to be absolutely the best companion any human could have asked for without defying any of those traditions. That is a rare thing in the extreme. The world knew her as a highly-evolved slime mold colony with a bad roast beef addiction and a seething hatred for all forms of life. She was a totally different cat with me.

And that perhaps is the worst thing. That no matter how eloquently I describe it, nobody else saw those sides of her, nobody else really knows what an amazing friend she was. Her in particular. I could try to explain it until my eyeballs bled and still nobody would understand how lucky I was to have her.

I was so lucky. So incredibly lucky.

Here we are in the dead of night
Will you keep me warm and hold me tight
All we have is until the dawn
Let the night be long and ease the dawn
I love you more than you'll ever know
It hurts to see you go
So darling sing me a lullaby
Oh, oh, oh
Bittersweet goodbye
Don't think about the future now
These few hours
Let the nighttime envelop us
Take us under
Bewitching spell, bewitching spell
Here we are in the dead of night
Won't see you past the morning light
So darling sing me a lullaby
Bittersweet goodbye
Remember me when you're away


Goodbye.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
I am sure I'll need to tell the story/talk about it at some point, but not now.

I was not okay last night. I made it through everything more or less functionally, holding up for her, then got home and threw up my toenails, developed a murderous headache, had a panic attack, and finally went to bed. It sucked. I'm too tired to try to describe how much it sucked.

I seem okay today, but I'm not. I'm not really sure what's wrong with me. I don't know why I'm not showing it more. I may stay in crisis-aversion mode until I have made arrangements for her body, which is going to take some organizing.

I am irritable, impatient, and I've slept most of the day. I'm angry. I don't want to be poked at or talked to. I don't understand. I'm trying to give myself the things I need, and I don't want them.

It's a defense mechanism of some sort, I can see that. But it's one that I've never shown before, and I'm wondering if that means this is going to get really, really bad before it gets better.

Those of you waiting on stuff from me, projects and whatnot, I can't promise anything. I will do my best.

She was a lot more than a frequently-amusing and very fuzzy cat. She was the reason I made it through that bad break a few years back. Her funny face, her making me go to sleep, her needing me to be there because she didn't love anyone, not a single living thing in the world, but me. Not "as much as," I mean "AT ALL." I lost something too big to see the edges of. We did everything together. She was almost always with me. I won't be back to normal for a long time.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
I am sure I'll need to tell the story/talk about it at some point, but not now.

I was not okay last night. I made it through everything more or less functionally, holding up for her, then got home and threw up my toenails, developed a murderous headache, had a panic attack, and finally went to bed. It sucked. I'm too tired to try to describe how much it sucked.

I seem okay today, but I'm not. I'm not really sure what's wrong with me. I don't know why I'm not showing it more. I may stay in crisis-aversion mode until I have made arrangements for her body, which is going to take some organizing.

I am irritable, impatient, and I've slept most of the day. I'm angry. I don't want to be poked at or talked to. I don't understand. I'm trying to give myself the things I need, and I don't want them.

It's a defense mechanism of some sort, I can see that. But it's one that I've never shown before, and I'm wondering if that means this is going to get really, really bad before it gets better.

Those of you waiting on stuff from me, projects and whatnot, I can't promise anything. I will do my best.

She was a lot more than a frequently-amusing and very fuzzy cat. She was the reason I made it through that bad break a few years back. Her funny face, her making me go to sleep, her needing me to be there because she didn't love anyone, not a single living thing in the world, but me. Not "as much as," I mean "AT ALL." I lost something too big to see the edges of. We did everything together. She was almost always with me. I won't be back to normal for a long time.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Tazendra

We had to put Tazendra down.

I'll be back online when I can. Right now I can't.

Comments open but not emailed. Just comment here. Can't cope with emails. Gaming friends exempt.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Tazendra

We had to put Tazendra down.

I'll be back online when I can. Right now I can't.

Comments open but not emailed. Just comment here. Can't cope with emails. Gaming friends exempt.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Heath Book)
In fairy tales, that's how long things take. A year and a day. It's a magical interval with the power to sever or reunite, to curse or to forgive. And the real world just doesn't work like that. Not even a little.

There isn't much to say about Heath -- you either understand or you don't -- but I don't want to let the day pass unremarked. I would try to be more pithy but I think Terry Gilliam says it all, pretty much. Worth reading that article.

I meant to create something to be finished today, I had a fun idea or two, but I've been sick, my studio still isn't painted, shit is not going too well, so I didn't manage. And I feel guilty about that, which makes me feel dumb. So I feel dumb and guilty, and also sad, which is not a good combination. Maybe for his birthday in April.

I'm pissed off, too. I figured the auction for his armor from A Knight's Tale would go way past the opening bid. I could have afforded the opening bid, and that's what it sold for. I feel bad that I didn't try, now. I still might've been outbid, but I would've had a damn good chance.

I watched A Knight's Tale today, since it's been too long, and since I also really love James Purefoy in that movie (and Alan Tudyk, and Mark Addy, and Rufus Sewell, and Paul Bettany -- everyone had a great time with their parts). It was fine. I know the movie almost word for word, I've seen it so much, so it wasn't as jarring or as sad as I had feared. It was okay until the letter scene, which broke me up a little, even though it's terribly cheesy. The worst part was at the end, where he's just jumping up on his friends like a big puppy and laughing that big, stupid laugh of his. I can watch him act, I can watch him do most anything, but I can't watch him laugh. He had the most alive laugh of any actor I know.

I miss him, and it's terribly unfair that he's gone forever. Trying to articulate it any further is pointless. There really isn't very much to say that hasn't been said by people with more right to say it than me.

"I guess it's always changing. What else can I say? I just wake up each day in a slightly different place -- grief is like a moving river, so that's what I mean by 'it's always changing.' It's a strange thing to say, because I'm at heart an optimistic person, but I would say in some ways it just gets worse. It's just that the more time that passes, the more you miss someone. In some ways it gets worse. That's what I would say."

-- Michelle Williams

"When he died, there were all these nonsensical stories coming out about Heath Ledger, James Dean and River Phoenix, all destroyed by the system - but that's bullshit. What happened was an absurd accident. I still don't understand it. I know he was exhausted - the last thing he said was that he was so tired and just wanted to sleep. You actually think at certain times angels come down to earth and Heath might have been one of them. And then he's gone and you think: this is all wrong, all the other people should be dead. He should be leading us all into a wonderful world of adventure."

-- Terry Gilliam
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Heath Book)
In fairy tales, that's how long things take. A year and a day. It's a magical interval with the power to sever or reunite, to curse or to forgive. And the real world just doesn't work like that. Not even a little.

There isn't much to say about Heath -- you either understand or you don't -- but I don't want to let the day pass unremarked. I would try to be more pithy but I think Terry Gilliam says it all, pretty much. Worth reading that article.

I meant to create something to be finished today, I had a fun idea or two, but I've been sick, my studio still isn't painted, shit is not going too well, so I didn't manage. And I feel guilty about that, which makes me feel dumb. So I feel dumb and guilty, and also sad, which is not a good combination. Maybe for his birthday in April.

I'm pissed off, too. I figured the auction for his armor from A Knight's Tale would go way past the opening bid. I could have afforded the opening bid, and that's what it sold for. I feel bad that I didn't try, now. I still might've been outbid, but I would've had a damn good chance.

I watched A Knight's Tale today, since it's been too long, and since I also really love James Purefoy in that movie (and Alan Tudyk, and Mark Addy, and Rufus Sewell, and Paul Bettany -- everyone had a great time with their parts). It was fine. I know the movie almost word for word, I've seen it so much, so it wasn't as jarring or as sad as I had feared. It was okay until the letter scene, which broke me up a little, even though it's terribly cheesy. The worst part was at the end, where he's just jumping up on his friends like a big puppy and laughing that big, stupid laugh of his. I can watch him act, I can watch him do most anything, but I can't watch him laugh. He had the most alive laugh of any actor I know.

I miss him, and it's terribly unfair that he's gone forever. Trying to articulate it any further is pointless. There really isn't very much to say that hasn't been said by people with more right to say it than me.

"I guess it's always changing. What else can I say? I just wake up each day in a slightly different place -- grief is like a moving river, so that's what I mean by 'it's always changing.' It's a strange thing to say, because I'm at heart an optimistic person, but I would say in some ways it just gets worse. It's just that the more time that passes, the more you miss someone. In some ways it gets worse. That's what I would say."

-- Michelle Williams

"When he died, there were all these nonsensical stories coming out about Heath Ledger, James Dean and River Phoenix, all destroyed by the system - but that's bullshit. What happened was an absurd accident. I still don't understand it. I know he was exhausted - the last thing he said was that he was so tired and just wanted to sleep. You actually think at certain times angels come down to earth and Heath might have been one of them. And then he's gone and you think: this is all wrong, all the other people should be dead. He should be leading us all into a wonderful world of adventure."

-- Terry Gilliam
naamah_darling: Sepia picture of Heath Ledger from A Knight's Tale with the words "I Miss You." (Heath Miss You)
Dinner with the family was great. I love my family.

The rest of the day sucked beyond belief. I'm in a lot of emotional "discomfort" right now. I'd be having a panic attack or something, but I'm drugged, so all I feel is a dull sort of hopelessness.

I'm not at liberty to talk about what brought it on, but I can talk about a stupid thing that's adding to my pain a whole lot all of a sudden. Well . . . I take that back. I'm not going to say it's stupid, because that's like apologizing for how I feel, and that would be stupid. But this Profiles In History auction contains an auction for Heath Ledger's armor from A Knight's Tale. This armor.

It's expected to go for around $6,000 to $8,000. I could afford that, but it would really, really hurt. I mean, that would be a fairly stupid thing to do, spending ten mortgage payments or more on a polyurethane prop. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to bid on it with all my heart. I want it so much it's . . . really quite painful, actually. That movie was silly, but it saved my sanity at one point, and possibly saved my life. Heath was a huge part of my mental landscape. Having even a very small thing of his would mean so much to me. Having the armor from my favorite character in my favorite movie would be amazing. Heartbreaking, but amazing. I feel like I should try, and I know I will feel guilty if I don't.

There's also an auction for a bloody Joker card from the Dark Knight set. I could conceivably afford that. If I could figure out how to put in an absentee bid. That would be stupid too, but . . . at least it would be less stupid. Only one house payment stupid. Forgivable stupid.

I know, I know, I shouldn't chase my tail over this. I have Lucian's jacket from Underworld, and that's all the movie memorabilia luck a girl has any right to ask for. I mean, by Palin logic, because I own that jacket, I have shagging Kate Beckinsale experience. It's awesome. So I know I should let this go without a fight. It's too expensive, I don't need it, it wouldn't change anything anyway, and I should let it go.

Hurts, though. Wow, it hurts. I didn't know I still hurt that much.

I hate this. I hate the futility of it, the illogical pain of it, and the senseless and monumental inability to just let it go, the way I always hypocritically complain that Elvis fans, Kurt Cobain fans, Marilyn Monroe fans, John Lennon fans, Jerry Garcia fans, and so forth ad nauseam, should just let it go.

(I thought about f-locking this, but . . . I don't see why I should have to hide what I'm thinking about, so I'm not. Just be civil. If you can't say something nice, you can let it go.)
naamah_darling: Sepia picture of Heath Ledger from A Knight's Tale with the words "I Miss You." (Heath Miss You)
Dinner with the family was great. I love my family.

The rest of the day sucked beyond belief. I'm in a lot of emotional "discomfort" right now. I'd be having a panic attack or something, but I'm drugged, so all I feel is a dull sort of hopelessness.

I'm not at liberty to talk about what brought it on, but I can talk about a stupid thing that's adding to my pain a whole lot all of a sudden. Well . . . I take that back. I'm not going to say it's stupid, because that's like apologizing for how I feel, and that would be stupid. But this Profiles In History auction contains an auction for Heath Ledger's armor from A Knight's Tale. This armor.

It's expected to go for around $6,000 to $8,000. I could afford that, but it would really, really hurt. I mean, that would be a fairly stupid thing to do, spending ten mortgage payments or more on a polyurethane prop. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to bid on it with all my heart. I want it so much it's . . . really quite painful, actually. That movie was silly, but it saved my sanity at one point, and possibly saved my life. Heath was a huge part of my mental landscape. Having even a very small thing of his would mean so much to me. Having the armor from my favorite character in my favorite movie would be amazing. Heartbreaking, but amazing. I feel like I should try, and I know I will feel guilty if I don't.

There's also an auction for a bloody Joker card from the Dark Knight set. I could conceivably afford that. If I could figure out how to put in an absentee bid. That would be stupid too, but . . . at least it would be less stupid. Only one house payment stupid. Forgivable stupid.

I know, I know, I shouldn't chase my tail over this. I have Lucian's jacket from Underworld, and that's all the movie memorabilia luck a girl has any right to ask for. I mean, by Palin logic, because I own that jacket, I have shagging Kate Beckinsale experience. It's awesome. So I know I should let this go without a fight. It's too expensive, I don't need it, it wouldn't change anything anyway, and I should let it go.

Hurts, though. Wow, it hurts. I didn't know I still hurt that much.

I hate this. I hate the futility of it, the illogical pain of it, and the senseless and monumental inability to just let it go, the way I always hypocritically complain that Elvis fans, Kurt Cobain fans, Marilyn Monroe fans, John Lennon fans, Jerry Garcia fans, and so forth ad nauseam, should just let it go.

(I thought about f-locking this, but . . . I don't see why I should have to hide what I'm thinking about, so I'm not. Just be civil. If you can't say something nice, you can let it go.)

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