Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Grief

The last few days I've been trying to put my finger on exactly why Inky's disappearance and assumed passing are weighing me down so much. First of all, the lack of closure, cliche as that sounds, is difficult. I really truly believe that he got out to go find a lovely bush somewhere to die. In 17 years he has never even really tried to get out, much less succeeded. And believe me he's had ample opportunity over the years! Its just a gut feeling I have. But despite any certainty or lack thereof, his presumed death has been very difficult. For years I have wondered what this period would be like...when I lost him. 17 years is a very respectable stretch for a cat so I've been gritting my teeth for a few years now...wondering. About 3 years ago I ordered a special urn for him so I could have him cremated. Now I just have things that remind me of him in the urn. Maybe he knew I couldn't afford to have him cremated right now.

In the day after his disappearance, henceforth to be referred to as 'the loss', I heard this little voice in my head. Not one of the amusing ones. One of the little ones I'm supposed to take seriously. It was as though Inky wanted me to know that it was time for him to go because I can do it by myself now. Hell I've had him since I was about 21 or 22...perhaps I am a grown up now and I CAN do it by myself. For one I don't feel grown up, and I also don't WANT to do it by myself. damnit.

Anyway, the conclusion I've come to is that Inky's passing...'the loss'...symbolizes much more than just a dear friend leaving. Its the end of a long chapter of my life. His loss encapsulates the grief of losing my job, my self, my marriage, more jobs, love, dreams unfulfilled, hopes shattered, hearts broken...grief itself.

I have become well acquainted with grief.

As I typed that I was reminded of a verse that is apropos this time of year with Easter coming up this weekend...
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isaiah 53:3
I guess no one would know better about grief than Jesus. That was a point I had not intended to throw into this entry. Which brings me to a point...I write for myself (Jennnnaaaaaayyyy). I am honored that anyone reads this and takes anything away from it. I hope that "the book" someday will be able to touch people in a meaningful way. But when I write it, it will be for me, as this blog is. As I'm writing, things have a way of sneaking in. And it is in that way that I know somehow I am being used. That is why I bug you guys to comment...so that my fleshiness can be satisfied that it is useful.

Anyway, I have become quite familiar with grief over the last couple of years. Which is one of the reasons (warning: life story spoiler) that I am seriously considering getting my grief counselor certification. Those whisperings of my calling I referred to back in August of last year and earlier this year...that is a tiny part of it. itty. The whole picture is much odder and Van Gogh-like. I hope to be accomplishing some of it before I let you in on its strange beauty.

But back to my point...it occurred to me that one of the reasons I am having such a hard time with Inky's passing is not just because I loved my pet cat. I did of course. He was my baby kitty. But I have not come home to a home without that cat in it for 17 years!!! That is almost half my life and nearly all of my adult life! I have never lived in a home without him since I left my parents house! No wonder I don't want to be in my apartment. No wonder I don't want to sleep in my bed. I have known that cat longer than I have known my husband. He has been a constant in my life for 17 years! Something that was ALWAYS there no matter what I was going through or what was passing through my life. No wonder my heart hurts. I can still talk to my husband, even though we are separated. Inky was my silent partner. Without his presence in my home, it feels empty. And I can't pick up the phone and talk to him, or even visit a grave.

Closure.

Which brings me to another interesting point. My grief process after Paul's death was similar in some ways. I was wrecked when I learned of Paul's passing. And because of the nature of his death, and that I learned of it a month after the fact, I had no closure in that situation either. There was no obituary for me to read, no grave to visit. Just a fact hanging in the air. Very difficult. It took me years to come to terms with it. When I finally did, I realized that Paul is around me a great deal. Its not something I can explain, or care to. But I feel him around me. I miss him desperately.

Happy Birthday Paul...guess what I got for you? a CAT!!!! a big fat stinky gato! :) You are both very hairy. I suspect Inky will enjoy Bukowski and The Doors.

Love you guys.

Grieving Moi

5 comments:

  1. Kelly, I think you're so right about closure. Grief is difficult in any circumstance but when the loss is kind of left hanging in the air, it's so much harder. I had my 21-yr-old cat for 18 years, through many life changes, moves, husbands...I could relate to what it feels like to come home to an empty place after yrs of that companionship. I got two rescue cats a few months later, when I was ready. But the idea of a single loss being representative of many also resonates. Thanks for sharing this. Prayers, sympathy and blessings to you. We know that Inky is over the Rainbow Bridge having a ball, feeling great.

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  2. thanks Carol, I really appreciate it. :)

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  3. I really don't know why it took reading this to see the reality of what has happened in my life over the last five years..maybe cause i find it soo hard to see inside myself.Its it's almost like I think if i mess up bad enough Mom or Dad will come back and bail me out..well we know that won't happen..time to act like it. that is what I gleaned from this..but this week is about you..love u doll

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  4. Phillip, that's really pretty deep, babe. thanks for sharing that. I'm glad you took something from my rambling. thank you. love you.

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  5. I hear this so well. In the crappy, rainy, ill stricken month of April I lost both of my grandmothers. How odd is that? I totally understand your pain, it hurts so deeply sometimes that you can't even move. It is in those times that I try to dig deep & remember how damn lucky I am to have had them in my life. They were such a blessing, helped me learn how to love, showed me how to grow, made me laugh, taught me to cook, stood beside me while I made "choices" good & bad. True love... They were so great & I'm so lucky to have lived, loved & laughed with them.
    Love you!
    Nic

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