It’s been hard, as you might guess. I realized that this is really the first time I’ve had someone this close to me die. I’ve never had a friend or a immediate family member die, and the pets I grew up with passed away after I’d moved out (and while I appreciated and remember my grandparents, I’m not sure I’d say I was close to them). But now I understand why friends who have had pets die in recent years have been so broken up by it. I guess you can’t really understand until it happens to you.

Yesterday morning I was sitting on the bed crying a little, and Blackjack came in and looked up at me, jumped up on the bed and nuzzled me, and then sat down next to me. I wouldn’t have guessed it, but he seems to be reacting to our emotions more than Newton or Roulette. Although I think Roulette has been looking around for her sleeping buddy from time to time. Today she got into the cat window and sniffed every corner of it before lying down in the cat bed; it must still smell like Jefferson.

The things that make me smile are seeing our cats doing their normal things. I think it reassures me that they’re okay, especially Newton who, after all, is Jefferson’s brother. Debbi bought some new food dishes (they used to eat out of two 2-sided dishes, and we decided it would be uncomfortable to use those and not fill one of the bowls each day) and they’ve all been eating. Newton’s still taking his pill every morning. He jumps up on my bathroom counter and licks the water after I finish shaving, and all three cats have come in to check out my shower after I get out of it. We’re getting full-on sun today, and they’ve all been lying in the sunbeam in the front room. I was able to get both Newton and Roulette to play last night. I cleaned the porch today and let them out on it; Blackjack rolled around on his back in happiness, and both he and Newton (the dummies) chewed on the surviving snapdragon.

There’s still a big hole in the house, though. In some ways Jefferson was the glue that held the other three cats together, and I think they’re figuring out their new dynamics. Jefferson was top cat, and I expect Blackjack will become top cat now, but he’s a lot more rambunctious than Jeff, so that will be different. Roulette I think wants to start cuddling up to Newton, so we’ll see whether that happens.

We’re going to try not to spend too much time at home this weekend, as it could be a bit morbid. I don’t want to leave the cats alone all the time, either, but then, midday is their prime nap time, and there are all these great sunbeams around.

It’s a bit of emotional thrashing around. We’ll get through it, but it’s going to take some time.

Meanwhile, here’s a picture of me and my cats from 2003 (before we got the kittens, I believe), which I think sums up our relationships fairly well:

4 thoughts on “Coping”

  1. You may or may not have read my recent LJ posts about losing a cat I was *not* yet particularly close to (because we’d only had him for 5 weeks). However, I have been through exactly what you’re going through. Five years ago, we lost, in a six month period, the two cats my wife and I adopted back in Ithaca and had had for 12 years. One of them, Chornaya Koshka, was very much *my* cat. She loved everyone–she was a very friendly, social, cuddly cat–but she loved me best. It sounds absurd on the face of it, but five years later, I haven’t really gotten over it. I’ve moved on, we’ve continued to adopt cats, and I’ve loved them all…but Koshka is still My Cat, and I miss her to pieces…

    After losing Mercutio yesterday, I’ve been also trying not to dwell on it too much, and to continue with my plans for the weekend. The sadness is there when I let it be…but life is for living.

  2. We love our pets and they become part of our families, so it’s natural you will go thru the normal grieving process. The hole will fill itself in time. Hugs Michael.

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