Saturday, January 27, 2007


I have been thinking about my dream today, wondering where the words I spoke came from.

I mean--why would I ever tell Dinky--or even Dinky's spirit--to "go on now?"

There is a folk wisdom, a racial memory, that suggests that having the spirits of the dead hanging around is a bad thing. That spirits have to move on to be happy or at peace. That is the way of things.

But on the other hand, I have always fancied that the spirits of our dead cats hung around our home, acting as guardian spirits. And I know that Dinky would absolutely relish the role of guardian angel. She was such a little busybody that I can imagine how she would enjoy having license to be involved in everyone else's business. That's right up her alley.

So, Dink, if you are out there--I hope you are watching over us.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Haunted By Cats

Overcast, 27 degrees
Northeast winds gusting to thirty
Three to four feet of snow on the ground, ten to twelve inches new

The winds came up again overnight, and the temperatures haven't risen as I had thought they would. Although the skies are overcast, there isn't any more snow.

I saw Dinky in dreams this morning. I was in bed with the cats around me and she came into the room and stood beside the bed. Although I knew she was dead, I put my hand on her back, to feel her silky-soft fur, but it was heavy and greasy-feeling, as it never was in life. Her eyes were large, though I took her expression to be one of puzzlement more than fear.

"You have to go on now," I told her. "I'll be along in a while..."

I just now realized, in writing this, that it has been exactly a month since she died.

Last night, when I was coming in from work, I saw what could have been cat footprints in the snow under the overhang. Only a stretch of four or five feet and no other sign of tracks any where. A ghost cat?

Or the elusive black-and-white cat? If I could get easily into the addition, I would put some dry food out, just in case he is holing up in there. There is no where else that I can imagine he could have access to right now, as deep as the snow is. I have been guilty of trying to ignore him but I really can't.

It has started to snow again.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I am moving into a less intense stage of mourning.

I cleaned the salt stains off my glasses and realized I hadn't cried for several days.

The pain is still there; it is just walled away. Sharp pain surrounded by a wall of numbness. I can go through the motions of my daily life and I am okay if I don't think about it, though I can still be brought up sharply by a half-glimpse of a white feline throat from the corner of my eye, or an almost-familiar voice.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Grief gives way to sadness . But I also feel a strange sense of--what--accomplishment? Completion? As if I've kept a promise. I saw her through her life. I was there for her from the moment she came to us--protecting her, loving her--until her life was fulfilled.

I kept faith to that dear little cat.

Monday, January 08, 2007

-4 degrees, clear
28 inches of snow on the ground

I was probing with my thoughts yesterday, looking for the ache in my heart that is the memory of Dinky, and couldn't find it. Of course, I was moving tenderly, cautiously, for fear of the wrenching grief. So I didn't move too close to my center and I didn't deliberately pour out the memories of her. I was just taking inventory of my emotional state and seem to be doing okay.

I presume this means only that I have walled the pain and grief off into a separate place in my heart, somewhere safe so I can continue to function without collapsing into tears. And sadly, I fear that I have grown accustomed to grieving, as I bury my heart--piece by piece--and move on. The terrain of mourning is familiar to me.

I know this place...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

But the ending always comes at last
Ending always come too fast..

I hold close the memory of my last days with Dinky. It comforts me that she came to us that last night, out of the closet where she had been secluded most of the day. As bad as she was feeling, she sought out our familiar bed and slept against me all night long.

The end was upon her so fast that I didn't have time to mark many of the "lasts." I can't recall when was the last time she climbed up onto my lap as I sat in the bathroom, nor do I remember which of the fading scratch-marks on my knees came from her claws.

I expected more warning of the approaching end, I guess.

Even when she came home from that last vet visit, I thought there was still time, still weeks ahead of us, time to relish shared moments with her, time to say a proper good-bye. When I printed up the medication schedule, I carried her name out to the middle of January, expecting that our daily sessions with fluids would be continuing into the new year. I had to re-do the schedule after she went, because it hurt too much to see her name there on it and have no more check marks to make.

I fought for you, Dinky--and I bless you that you never seemed to hold it against me. That no matter how much you disliked getting those fluids, you would be back beside me, on my lap or in my arms in a matter of minutes, all forgiven--if not forgotten.

It is your love for me that sustains me now as I mourn in my love for you, little one.

Friday, January 05, 2007

More Thoughts on Dinky

4 degrees, partly cloudy
About 2 1/2 feet of snow on the ground

I was up at 2 am to send Denny back to work. Despite the high overcast, the night was bright with moonlight. The thermometer was "on the wrong side of zero," according to Denny when he went out to start his truck.

After he left, I made sure there was plenty of wood in the stove before going back up to bed. I was hungry so I had a bowl of cereal and finished off the last of the vegies and dip, but not even that made me sleepy. So I opened the DVD MH had given me for Christmas--the first season of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." I watched the first episode before finally going to sleep.

I guess I need to give the series time. On the plus side, it is written/created by Joss Whedon, though perhaps that is a minus, since it gives me high expectations. Also the series has to overcome the negative feelings I have because of the enormous fandom and the hype I have been hearing about the series for years. At this point, after watching the first episode, it seems like a fairly predictable teen-show, despite the subject matter. I will withhold judgement until I finish the first season.

I slept in until 9:30. surrounded by cats. I still had to force myself to get up, feeling groggy. I have been hungering for cookies the past few days, so I started a batch of chocolate chip cookies while I fed and medicated the cats. I had hoped to get a start on the litter boxes but just didn't get to it this morning, so that chore will be waiting for me after work tonight.

Still feeling very fragile and close to tears when I think about Dinky.

She lives in my heart and is still an immediate presence to me. The sight of Slippers of Mimi or any other cat with a white throat, out of the corner of my eye, becomes her until I set my eyes in focus. It has only been in the last few years that I realized the depth of her devotion to me, that her constant presence around me was evidence of her love for me, that I was the center of her world. I just hope she felt that I kept faith with her, that I was deserving of her devotion.

I guess it shouldn't surprise me that having been betrayed and abandoned by the first people in her life, she clung to me and sought me out. The ties of love were strong between us. Maybe that's why it was so hard to let go of her body. Why I feel like my heart is in that freezer with her remains.

I know *she* isn't there any more. I don't know where that sweet spirit is. Perhaps part of it resides in me now. That might explain the energy I felt in her newly-dead body, the sensations that belied death.

She was--as they all are--unique and very special and very close to my heart. I wish I could draw comfort from thinking that part of her remains with me but what I really want is her back, the familiar weight on my hip or the warmth pressed against my side all night long. In that respect, I will be missing her for a long, long time.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Feeding The Birds

5 degrees, partly cloudy
About two-and-a-half feet of snow on the ground, 3-5 inches new

Birds Waiting

We started throwing seeds out a few weeks ago--mostly for the pheasants. The chickadees and nuthatches are not ground-feeders and are content with hanging feeders and the fat we put out for them. The gray jays have always found the cat food on the front porch very much to their liking.

But the last week or so has seen a huge influx of finches to our yard. Siskins and redpolls are crawling over the snow like so many ants, squabbling and fluttering and seemingly burning up more calories with their dust-ups than they gain from the seeds. They are, however, great fun to watch and the cats are much entertained.

A few juncos and even the long-absent grosbeaks have shown up as well. Despite their size, the grosbeaks seem shy and are easily frightened off by the smaller finches. They are beautiful to look at and to listen to. I wish I could keep birds but I suspect the ones I would like to keep aren't ones that do well in captivity.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Thinking on Dinky

12 degrees, partly cloudy
what...about two feet of snow on the ground?

So the new year begins. I wish that I felt more upbeat about it, but losing Dinky has just taken all the optimism out of me for a while. I know I will feel better in time but right now, it still hurts terribly. Losing Dinky blind-sided me.

I always have known that I will be devastated by grief when Punkin dies. I didn't give much thought to Dinky. Hell, until she got sick, the idea of her death seemed like a far-distant event. She was so bright and lively, I couldn't imagine her otherwise.

I mean, I *knew* she was sick, but she was doing so well for so long that I let myself believe she would out-live it. So I was shocked and unprepared when she suddenly wasn't doing so well, but was in fact gone before I could get my feet under me. When I got the bad news just before Christmas, I thought we were in for a couple of bad weeks or a month of terminal-care nursing. I never suspected that she would be dead within a week.

I have asked myself if knowing that, I would have left her for those two nights at the vet clinic. Two nights I could have spent cuddling her. Two nights I will never have with her again. I know that hospitalization wore her out and probably hastened her end. I could beat myself up feeling guilty about that, I guess. But I also wonder if those extra fluids didn't make her feel better. If they shortened her dying, perhaps they also made it more bearable, leading to heart failure rather than uremic poisoning. Yes, I would love to have those two night back, to spend with her, but I have to face that I would have always wanted more time, more Dinky.

Posted by Laura at 12:15 PM