Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Goodbye Old Man
Today was a very blue day for me. I had to put down my cat of twelve years, Jack (AKA "Jacko" and "Grandpa"). After at least a year of decline, where I paid more in vet bills than I care to admit, I had to come to the realization that it was time. After he was gone, the vet was able to really probe and confirmed he had a mass in his stomach that was untreatable.
The funny thing is that while I enjoyed this cat, I wouldn't say I was dramatically attached. He was just great to have around. Since I worked at home, he was around A LOT (notice the photo). When it came time to say goodbye, I was really sad. Lots of crying. My friend Steph consoled me later with this: "the time spent together represents a clear slice of life and the attachment defies reason sometimes." So I'm just letting go and not needing to make sense of it all as I get weepy over a darn cat. I feel like Jack Nicholson in "As Good as It Gets" when he sobs over Greg Kinnear's dog Verdell.
Then I remember that whenever I've put a cat down, I not only mourn the cat, but I think I also mourn what he represents. (Right now I'm remembering our cats Simon and Garfunkel from my childhood). I got Jack in '98, when I realized I would never have kids and I just wanted something else to think about. No no -- he wasn't my child. Please. Like I said, he was just good company and a distraction. And today I think I realized that saying goodbye to him also caused me to reflect back on the often turbulent times of these last 12 years, and far too many seasons of loss and grief.
So I allowed myself to shed many tears today and also smile at some fond memories -- he always sat in the laps of one of my students when they came to visit; he slept on my shoulder when I took a nap; he was very social with everyone who came by the house to visit; he loved shoes; he was never a snooty, aloof cat. He loved people and always wanted to be where the action was. Thanks Old Friend.