the printed thoughts of a woman on a journey towards awareness, truth, acceptance, clarity, and forgiveness...with some fun and fearlessness thrown in

Sunday, July 25, 2010

some kinda bad voodoo

When I lost Manny to cancer on June 21, 2009, I found myself in a single-cat household for the first time in 14 years. Eli, who had been the baby of my original clan, was now 13-years old and alone for the first time in his life. I wondered if he would enjoy some time as the sole kitty or whether he would rather have a feline compatriot. I watched for signs of a change in his behavior or attitude. I listened carefully for whatever message he had for me. We settled into a routine where he spent nearly every night in our bed, sleeping between our pillows with one paw wrapped snugly around my arm and purring loudly in my face.

I eventually realized that Eli would be content with any decision that I made. Eli just loves being Eli, and he loves that we allow him to be himself. As long as he is secure in that, I think that he will accept any addition to our household. It was not Eli who had to make the decision about adopting another cat. It was I who needed to determine if I were ready to open my heart to loving another. I was, and so I decided that I would.

After looking for at least three weeks, we found a beautiful, little, 7-month old kitten named Heather, and we adopted her on December 26, 2009. We hadn't been looking for a kitten. In fact, we had actually thought that we would adopt an adult cat, but we made our decision based on personality (had to get along with dogs) and type of hair (with a highly allergic person in the house, we have learned what kinds of hair are less troublesome), and all signs pointed to her. So, after some negotiation, Heather became Alla (he wanted to name her Marie Laveau, but that seemed unwise to me) and turned our house into a multi-cat home once again.

Now, just seven months later, I am once again facing the very real fact that I will soon be living in a one-cat household once again. Only 14-months old, Alla has been diagnosed as having FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis). A fatal condition, FIP has no cure and no treatment. Theories vary on how effective both traditional and holistic approaches are, but what seems clear to me is that Alla is going to die much, much, much sooner than I ever would have imagined. It is nearly impossible that she will be with us this Christmas, which would have been her first with us. It would be considered quite lucky is she is with us more than a couple of months. Each day, I simply pray that it will not be her last.

I do believe deep down that all things happen for a reason, but I am struggling to find a good enough reason for a cat to be doomed to live only a year and a half--or less. I am equally full of anger and sorrow, and my outward expression of emotion teeters tenuously between the two. I have heard others say that when one encounters a pet with special needs, he has been chosen to be the animal's earthly caretaker not only to provide the love, care, and support needed during the animal's life, but also to have the strength, bravery, and selflessness needed to help the animal during its transition out of this life. I do respect this idea, but I wonder how much I am capable of. I am merely human, after all, and heartbreak takes its toll on a person. I have lost pets before, and each loss is with me daily.

I don't know what the future holds for Alla. I don't know how long she will be here with us. All I know is that I love her. I love her, and I will do all that I can to give her as much quality of life for as long as possible. If there is any lesson for me in this tragedy, I guess it is that life is never guaranteed and that we should make the most of the time that we are given.

So, to you, my reader, I suggest the following: Hug your kids a little longer tonight. Kiss your significant other when it's unexpected. Give your pets more of your attention. Look up at the sky. Watch the clouds. Let the rain touch your skin. Squint at the sun. Sleep in. Indulge a little. Laugh at the little stuff. And when you feel stressed, breathe deeply and fully.

Now, if only I can follow my own advice....

Monday, July 12, 2010

ghosts of girlfriends past

I started this blog when I inadvertently killed someone else's blog. She had abruptly exited my life after three drama-filled years, then I told her off on her blog and she deleted it. She wasn't a friend, and I know that I (and everyone else involved) am better off without her, yet I still find myself thinking about her several months later. She was featured in a newspaper article a couple months ago, and I've read it more than once. I even found a picture that accompanied the article, and I'm pissed to see that she's lost weight!

And it's not just her! I do the same thing with another female who is no longer in my life. In that case, she was a best friend, in fact. After a BIG blowout and legal intervention, we went our separate ways over 9 years ago. I am glad not to have the drama and the worry anymore, but still I wonder about her. I feel like an online stalker! I've Googled her, looked for her on Facebook, even researched people who know her. I want to know where she lives, not so that I can contact her or have anything to do with her, but more just to feel informed, prepared, whatever.

What bothers me is that these people who negatively impacted me and my life (including others that I care about) continue to have a hold on me! I'm mad at these people for hurting me, but I'm even more mad at myself for obsessing on them! I hate that I have allowed them to rent space inside my head!

Maybe it's because I rarely have people react so negatively towards me. I mean, I know that not everyone likes me, but usually once people decide that they do, they don't suddenly change their minds. Maybe it's because I like directness and honesty. If you don't like me, I'd rather have you tell me than not. Maybe it's just that I hope that karma exists, and I want to witness her handiwork. Or maybe it's because the situation of being rejected by another female unconsciously triggers feelings of being rejected by my mother. I'm sure that Freud would have a field day with that one!

Anyway, I have nothing eloquent to say. This is just what's on my mind today. Maybe like speaking at an AA meeting or going to confession, writing about this will help me release some it from my mind. In the words of Ashley Holmes, as heard on tonight's episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey, "Love and light, bitch!"