chantico: (Groggy)
Cottonhead is bad today. I feel like I'm looking through bottle-bottoms. Everything is a little swimmy and thick and just this side of warped. Is stayed up way too late last night because I didn't want the week to start and I'm paying the price. So sleepy. I used up my whole lunch taking a jittery nap in the break room downstairs. Every time I woke up a little, someone was watching me. It was off putting. I was put off.

I can't believe it is almost mom's birthday. January disappeared.

***

Happier note: playing Fallout: New Vegas. After I royally pissed off the Legion by murdering an entire garrison (seriously they are dicks this isn't a problem), quest asks me to go to their homebase and steal something. Fuck, okay, I've got Stealth Boys, I can do this.

I could not do this. Not stealthily, at least. Well. Sort of.

So I kind of killed the entire camp included Caesar. Hope as the main villain he wasn't *too* important to the rest of the game. His armor looks really sweet on me, though. I really did try to do it without all the slaughter, but every time I set foot in the tent his stupid dogs sensed me, and then he and all his guards ran outside to follow me and I only escaped by the skin of my teeth because my poor companions stayed behind and died repeatedly to keep them occupied. I salute your pain, brave companions. I'm sorry I ran away to hide, but not too sorry, because that allowed me to stage a war of attrition against not only the Caesar and his elite guard but against the game itself, which I guess didn't expect em to waltz in at level 21 and try to kill *everyone*, because it kept crashing. Whatever. Sneak and Snipe wins the day again, and I sang a victory song while seated in Caesar's throne. LONG LIVE THE KING.

***

There was a backload of laundry I took care of this weekend. Struggling through the drifts of dirty clothes, I scooped up everything in sight that looked spotty, not realizing my mistake until I pulled a long, black sweater out of the dryer. Poor J looks up from his videogame to see me wearing it, tears in my eyes. "What's wrong?"

"I didn't mean to wash it!" I blubber.

"Did it shrink?" Head shaking. "Did it tear?"

I've been avoiding washing it for over a year, because a some point, Ralphie made a little nest of it, and it had been covered in his fur. Even if it kept me from wearing the sweater, I didn't want to erase that last marker of his physical presence. I miss him so much. This is my first real experience with grief--- those dead I have known were just *done*, or we weren't close, or they were in so much pain it was a relief. Sometimes I feel guilty I'm mourning Ralph more than I have mourned any of my grandparents. I think they would have been sad to know that.


***

A little bit of emotional whiplash in this post.

Ralph

Jan. 11th, 2013 04:51 pm
chantico: (Sad)
I have not updated this journal in some time because I don't feel right talking about anything else when there's a big, empty whole in my heart. Two days after Christmas, while sitting down to lunch, my Mom called us and managed to choke out that she found Ralph, our adored cat, dead in the hallway that morning. I have no shame in admitting I made a scene in the restaurant, tears, trying to figure out what happened, trying to call people I cared about and people who cared about him . . . grasping at straws, really, that last threads of an unweaving life already gone.

I could write paeans to this cat. He was our darling, our furbaby for real, lying between our sleeping selves as a child would, greeting us every day when we came home. I have had many cats in my life, far into the 20's, and none of them have ever come close to matching Ralph in size of personality (or body). We joked that he was a wizard who had transformed himself into a cat and decided to stay that way, so *human* were his affectations; the way he used his paws as hands, to reach up and pluck people food from your fork, or his jealousy of other cats getting pet, or even his gaze. Everyone says they have the best cat, but Ralph was the only one I knew who had *other* people saying he was the best cat (though never tell their own babies that).

When we got him, it was to help me cope with my depression. Jason hated cats and always bad, so when we walked into the animal shelter, what I asked them for, specifically and verbatim, was "a cat that acted like a dog."

The woman blinked, her eyes wandered over to the kennels. "Funny you should ask . . ."

He started purring as we approached. As he hefted all 18 pounds of him up, he immediately gave us both a kiss on the nose, a habit he perfected quite quickly and responsively: Ralph, give momma a kiss! *lick* Thank you! While we saw other cats, we were back the next day with no doubt.

When we adopted him, he was four or five, though as in all shelter adoptions it was possible he was older. We often ruminated on how *anyone* could give up Ralph. His only defect was a stunning capacity to live up to his name-- our carpets never recovered.

There was no sign or warning. Mom said he was being an absolute doll the night before, so happy you could feel it coming off him in waves, chasing the other cast around the house, reveling in the found energy that accompanied his recent successful weight loss. He was a lean-mean, fighting machine, back to all muscle, and streaking around the house constantly. When she came in the next morning, his food bowl was empty, so he ate with his usual gusto, I'm sure. He was laying in the hall, looking like he'd just taken a rest.

We think it was a heart defect. Larger cats often have them, and they tend to kill at about eight or nine years. He went quickly and with little pain-- mom said he was peaceful, and there was no foam in his mouth, or any signs of poison or sickness or struggle. His eyes were open, as if he disappeared before he knew to close them.

Grief is a new emotion to me. It is the heaviest thing I've ever carried, but clean, pure in a way other sadnesses are not. There isn't a point in telling it no, to go away, that it shouldn't be there. Maybe it's just that I have no hang ups about giving in to the grieving, but when it comes it is in swells that lift me up sure as the ocean and it seems so pointless to flail against it. Just ride it, and eventually it will deposit you on the beach of a foreign shore, one where someone so important to you as to seem indispensable will never set foot, and the land where they are stuck a dim shadow on the horizon, disappearing into the mists.

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chantico

May 2014

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