My lil’ Vashti

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.

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6 thoughts on “My lil’ Vashti

  1. Thank you for putting some of what you are thinking and feeling about Vashti into words…I am so grateful we could be together with her at the end…we will never forget!

    Thank you for caring so tenderly for her these many months when she was quite ill and loving her for all these years! How blessed we have been to have had her in our family…and also to have had such a kind and caring veteranarian, Dr. Levy, with his dry sense of humor.

    Hoping this is theologically correct, but perhaps she is now with her Maker, her sister, Whisper, and maybe even meeting her namesake, Queen Vashti from the story of Esther!

  2. Yes, it would have been so hard to go through it alone…I was so glad to have you there at the end. And yeah, that last bit’s a toughy…I’d like to think that, so I do. God MADE her (the creatures that move along the ground), and said that “It is good. And she was.

  3. Lisbeth–it is ok to laugh in grief. I think we do it partly because we know that death is not part of the original plan; it is absurd! So we laugh.

    And Vashti WAS a family member. I had a cat named Lina for awhile in middle school, and she was truly my best friend at the time. She was an individual, and when she disappeared, no one could replace her, because she was not just “a cat”. She was an individual, whom God made once and will never make again. Animals are beings, not objects, and I while the Great Lion only tells us OUR story, and not theirs, they are obviously stories that intertwined. We named the animals in Adam, after all.

    I’m very sorry for your loss, Lisbeth. [hug]

  4. So sorry to hear about your family’s loss, dear Lisbeth. Although I could never be near her when I was over, due to my dreaded allergies, I know she was a cherished pet (and family member). I do choose to believe, as do you and your mom, that animals do go to heaven! I can’t even picture heaven without animals to be honest!

  5. It’s good that you write and weep and write again. There’s something of God in a pet like Vashti. The unconditional love and desire for our lovin’ back. I will never forget her coming down the hall her last nite and plunking herself down sideways on our rug “saying” see me, pet me, love me one more time. The vet said she was 95 years old in human terms. I hope we all finish as well as she did in old age and with such grace and love.

  6. My dear friends, these comments have been a blessing to me all week. I’ve read them over and over, clung to your warm words that are so full of truth! Rachel, I love everything you said…Vashti wasn’t just a cat, but an individual. That’s it exactly! It helps to know someone who “gets it” too. I wish I could’ve met Lina. Maybe one day!
    And Jess, I too can’t imagine heaven without beloved creatures. And Daddy, you’re right, her unconditional love showed us Jesus. Thank you all for taking your precious time to comment, it has helped me these days more than you know.

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