How do I write about Vashti’s death and not sound false? I don’t know.
When I cry about her, it’s in fits and starts. It’s not smooth or natural. I’ll remember waking up with her every morning, her whiskers disturbing my face, wide peerless eyes mirroring mine. When I remember something like that, the crying gets more hysterical. Then, at its peak, the thought automatically comes to me, “Come on, Lisbeth, pull yourself together.” (Where does that thought come from, by the way?) And for some reason, I automatically obey; I breathe out heavily, my eyes greedily search for something to busy myself with because I think that will help calm me down. Why do I have to stop? What would happen if I stayed in that hysterical stage? I think our bodies know we can’t sustain such raw grief, so we breathe, look up and wipe the tears resting on the crest of our eyes, and attempt a smile saying, “I’m okay.” And then I’ll joke sometimes…is that okay to have happiness or laughter in our grief?
After we buried her I went straight up to my room, dreading it so much. It felt so empty. That‘s when the hysteria rose up again. How much harder would this be if this were a family member (a human, that is), or a friend? How then do you handle empty rooms?
Two things I kept looking at today. One, my right forearm where there was some dried blood on it (I apologize if that’s gross, it’s just been my life lately). I held her as we drove to the vet. She rested her chin on my right forearm. The blood was from the burst tumor on her mandible. The second thing I kept looking at was my shirt…even now, I see that it still has traces of her hair scattered on it. Normally, hair on my clothes would frustrate me, but today it doesn’t cling to me…I cling to it.
As soon as I could I washed my sheets, vacuumed my floor, and erased visible evidences of her. Am I cruel? Unfeeling? I’m relieved that I can live in a clean room again….is that selfish of me? Does writing so soon about my cat dying make me insane? I think writing about her is like how we work out our woes in dreams…we process, we decompress….
I find that my grief expresses itself differently in the type of thought that I let take hold of the reins. Right now, the thought is an image. I can picture her in that box, curled up, still my precious kitty, but not really there, and the tears come again….my lil’ Queen Vashti.
Whenever I am up to it, I’ll post some pictures of her.