So I was crying because of Carl Sagan. Or spots. Or both. But most likely because of spots.
Let me explain.
I was cleaning up the living room and took a paper towel and some soap to the much neglected window sills behind the Up Against The Wall couch (as opposed to the Stick Out Into The Room couch). The critters love to get up in the windows and watch the world go by, so the color of these sills was more of an off-black than off-white.
So I was cleaning the sills, listening to the radio and I started crying.
Let me explain.
I was listening to the public radio show Radiolab and they were talking to Ann Druyan, coworker and wife of the late Carl Sagan. She was talking about the year they fell in love while working on the Voyager missions. Carl Sagan was an idol of mine when I was a boy, and of the many celebrities I’ve outlived, his death affected me in ways too lengthy and personal to describe here without veering severely off topic.
Anyway, I was crying because of Carl Sagan. Or was I? Maybe I was crying because of what I was cleaning?
Let me explain.
Flick, who despite his robust appearance turned to not be the healthiest of cats, had a weepy eye. It was a manifestation of a bout of the feline version of the herpes virus. The infection left his eye irritated, which caused it to tear up excessively, which made it drippy. The drip spots (looking like splashes of coffee) could be found in areas he favored, and one of the those areas were the windows behind the couch. Here I was busily cleaning some of the last remaining evidence of my cat’s existence and suddenly I was terribly distraught listening to a woman describe how she fell in love with a man I’d never met, and who died twenty years ago.
Grief is a subtle and necessary thing, far older than the part of our brains that make us the chatty, tool using, blog writing weirdos of the animal kingdom. We like to think our logical, self aware intellect is in total control, but like a baby in a car seat it’s really just along for the ride; far more mature forces are actually behind the wheel.
Its been almost two months since Flick died. “Plenty of time to get over a cat,” our overly sanitized, death denying culture tells us. But you know what? Those unconscious forces, those finely tuned ways of dealing with the world, don’t give a bloody damn about what the baby is crying about. They’ve got a job to do and they’ll take as much time as required to do it.
So that’s where I am right now. Not often thinking about, but still missing my cat who I thought would be with me much longer than he was. It isn’t fair and it isn’t right, it just IS.
4 thoughts on “Let Me Explain”
Yesterday I grabbed the sunscreen from the back door pocket in my car and came up with a handful of Lucas fur. I understand how you feel. I empathize. And you’re totally right: it just is.
It’s our burden as one of the longest lived mammals to witness our furry friends leave the road we’re all traveling before us.
I understand what you are going through. The toughest part about loving animals is that most likely you will be here far longer than they were. There is no time limit on grief, except to remind yourself of the wonderful life they had thanks to you love.
Thank you. Flick’s brief life would have been much more awful and shorter if he hadn’t been found by the dumpster and then put in my hands.