Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Celebration

It was too soon for a celebration.  I am not ready to celebrate anything just yet.  It was a beautiful gathering with people who loved Spankee and who love me.  We toasted him with milk and ate tuna.  And everyone got to go home with treats for their kitties and their doggies...  I am so grateful for each person who sat in the sacred space of remembrance with me.  Thank you Kathi, Emily, Darlene, Jackie, Irene, Joseph, Will and Taz.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Celebrating Spankee's Life

Tonight is my Celebration of Spankee's Life gathering at my cabin.  In a way, I am eager to hear other's stories of Spankee and to share some of my own.  And I am also sad to be doing this at all.  I know that Spankee is gone and that he is not coming back.  But I am still very much in shock and deep in the midst of my grief.
I am grateful for the friends that will be with me tonight to honor him.  And I am grateful to have had the time that I did with Spankee.  I just miss him.  I just miss him.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Celebrating Spankee's Life

It took me a week, but I created an invitation card to invite friends and Spankee-sitters to a celebration of Spankee's life.  It took me so long because doing this was one more realization that he is really gone.

I am holding a simple ceremony at my cabin on Sunday, February 20th at 5pm.  I'll have some of his favorite foods: tuna and cheese.  The four wonderful woman who cared for him: Emily, Darlene, Kathi and Aulikki will have the opportunity to take a bit of his ashes and spread them in the woods around the cabin.  I look forward to hearing stories of their time with him.

I am still not able to let go enough to remove all of his food, toys and medical things out of the house.  Not yet.  And that's okay.

Every day, I am adding to my Sweetness of Spankee list.  I started this list of memories of our times together, the things he did that made him such a special and unique cat.  These include: drinking from the tap, hiding under the sheets when I made the bed, running down the driveway to meet me, growling when a dog came in the yard, and on and on and on.  It is a wonderful gift to myself to recall and focus on these memories.  They lift me, even momentarily, from my grief.

Each day I still feel such sadness and emptiness.  I went camping for the weekend and wrote about how I now feel totally untethered.  I put so many dreams and plans on hold to create a life that Spankee would love.  Now that he is gone, the realization that my responsibility to him has come to an end, opens and closes me simultaneously.  Opens me to the possibilities of recreating my life and taking those dreams that were on a shelf down and revisiting them.  Closes me because I never saw Spankee as a burden or as limiting my life.  I very happily chose to be still with him.  No regrets on that one.

Still, this feeling is new.  I sense a strong shift in my bearings; that is to say, this is a time when my grief can also move me towards a renewal of creating and recreating my life.  This is both amazing and scary.


I have been in my cabin for the last couple of hours. The first time since Spankee passed. I tried working in the office today, but I was completely exhausted and came here to rest.  I slept hard for two straight hours until I had to attend an online meeting.  I can feel Spankee's spirit and his energy here.  I have been asking and asking him to come to me, but he hasn't, until now.  

I have been feeling badly that Henry, Taz's cat, did not get a chance to say goodbye to Spankee.  The last time he saw Spankee was when we celebrated Christmas on December 15th.  Henry has now taken to laying in front of the heater, which was a place Spankee liked.  Sometimes he goes to the door and looks out and I wonder if he's watching for Spankee.  Probably not, but who can say for sure?

I expected to grieve.  I did not expect the toll this grieving is taking on my physical body.  I am absolutely spent and have little energy for anything but resting and reading.  I have been going for walks in the morning with Taz and Zip and an occasional beachwalk later in the day, but I am most often completely wiped.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


I am so sad today. It seems that my grief is endless and that there is no end to the guilt that I feel, believing that I failed Spankee in so many ways.  I know that I was  a good mother to him throughout his eleven years, that I did my best to care for him and to love him in so many ways.  That was easy.  But when he was diagnosed, I froze emotionally and the parts of me that should have jumped in to action, froze as well.  And this is where I feel I let him down terribly.  He was my responsibility, his very life depended on me, on the actions that I took, on the care that I sought out for him, and I failed.  I should have done more research, asked more questions, made sure that I was doing everything I could for him.  But I didn't.  I continued on with the motions of day to day life, working, interacting with people, going on vacation, all the while, dooming him to an earlier death than was likely his fate because I didn't want to face the truth of his dying.   When the vet gave me websites to research, when friends suggested different modes of treatment or other people to contact, I started the process of looking in to care options for him, but then I became so exhausted and I did what I always do in times of extreme emotional devastation, I shut down.  And in this case I shut down the very parts of me that he needed.  He needed me to do the work of finding how best to care for him, and instead, I went inside and sat with my own self: my feelings of loss, my not wanting to be without him, my 'how am I going to do this', me, me, me.  I am so selfish.  Taz keeps telling me that it wasn't me that killed Spankee, it was the kidney disease.  And yes, I get that.  I get that his ultimate death was not my fault.  But I do believe that the timeliness of his death, only three months after his diagnosis, was because of my inability to dig deep and find my inner strength and do what needed to be done for him.  So, in the end, I failed him.  Just like I failed my other cat Gidget.  Just like I failed my Dad.  And ultimately, just like I fail myself on a regular basis.  How do I find my way through this?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Moment by Moment

Today I spent a couple of hours with a girlfriend.  We talked for a bit about Spankee and her experience in losing a pet as well.  Then we shifted and shared about other things going on in our lives.  It was wonderful to have a reprieve from my grief and do something "normal".  I am grateful for my friends and family who have reached out to me during this time. I know that it is not easy to witness someone in their difficult moments of pain, but I also know how powerful it can be for both parties.  I am thankful for these people who know my tendency to go internal, to prefer to be alone and lick my wounds, and so those of you who have made the extra effort to connect with me during this time and encourage me to be other than internally-driven - thank you for your love and caring. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Fuck, fuck, fuck, shit, shit, shit.

The World Keeps Turning

Here I am, sitting at work, pretending to give a shit about all of this stuff that seems so unimportant.  How is it that the world just keeps on going?  I know that it is crucial that I keep moving so that I don't get "stuck" in all of this emotional shit.  I don't want to lose the memories.  i don't want to let go.  I don't want to face the reality of moving on without him. I'm still wearing my dirty pyjamas and holding tight to his blanket because I can smell him.  I can't face going back in to my cabin yet.  I can't imagine a time when home will feel like home again.  Spankee is everywhere, and this hurts and this is wonderful.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pissed Off

Taz and I took Spankee up the road yesterday, with him on my lap the entire trip. It was so hard to leave him behind.  As we got closer to home, I found myself talking and talking and talking, and quickly realized that this was my way of talking over top of my impending feelings of fear at being back in my house, surrounded by Spankee's things, without him.   I have lived in this cabin for eleven years, and not had one night without Spankee with me.

I stood in the entryway of my cabin for a long time, crying with Taz, unable to turn around and face the rooms filled with the physical connections to him: his toys, his medical supplies, his food, his litter box, the window sill he sat on, the chair and couch he snuggled in, the countertop he jumped on, the pot of water he drank from...

Taz encouraged me to spend the night at his house instead; to give myself time away from the emotional weight of and emptiness of what was my home with Spankee for so long.  I had to go to the loft to get some of my things, and this is where I broke apart completely.  The loft is where Spankee and I spent most of our time hanging out.  And it is where he spent the last twelve days of his life.  And it is where he died.  

How do I begin to let go?  How do I begin to say goodbye to him, when all I want to do is cry and scream and moan?  I want him back.  It is unfathomable to me that I will never feel him in my arms again, never hear him talking, never see his face in the window, never has his body snuggled up against mine under the covers, never hear him scratching at the door to come in, never hear him growl at an approaching dog, cat or person...

When we got Taz's, I cried and cried for a long while.  And then I was overcome with guilt and anger. I feel so badly that I left him for 21 days at Christmas.  I know my reasons were that he was doing so well, that the Vet said that he seemed fine, that I made the best arrangements for him to be cared for on a daily basis...  But still, I have to live with the knowledge that I LEFT HIM.  Did he feel abandoned?  Some people don't believe that animals can feel or think or have these qualities of time or space or emotion, but I believe otherwise.  I believe in my deepest heart that part of Spankee's failing in December/January was from the lonliness and separation from me.  Part of me thinks that this is egotistical, like narcissistic to think that he would die without me, and yet a larger part of me believes that he spent a great deal of his time waiting for me, wondering where I was, why I left, and when I was coming home.

Regardless, I will never know what he went through while I was away.  It is enough for me to ackonwledge that I was away, and that he declined drastically during this time.  I am angry.  I have been expressing this anger through tears, but what I really yearn to do is scream from the top of my lungs until I lose my voice.  The only reprieve that I have right now is to sleep.  When asleep, I lose all illusions of control, I can dream that Spankee is still with me, and I do not have to face this painful reality.

I am very grateful to have a wonderful partner who is understanding and patient.  He gets that I am sad and angry, and he does not take it personally when I am short with him.  I do not take his being this way for granted, and I also do not expect that he should feel the brunt of all of my emotions.  So I am trying to keep a connection with him, while I feel completely empty inside and have nothing to give to him right now.

Today was a cool day of rain, wind and stormy seas.  And I found this comforting and went out seeking solace it in, relieved to be in a space that echoed the storm lurking just below the surface within myself.

Tomorrow begins a work week that I can't avoid. It is probably a good thing to be busy, to have a schedule and to be forced to pull myself, even briefly, from all of this unrest.