Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One More Goodbye

As poorly as she looks in this picture, she looked so much worse during the last few months.

I buried Pooky this morning, in a nice spot in the back garden.

Pooky, nee Spooky, makes me feel like a hypocrite. She was such a pain in the neck for -- at least -- the last two years of her life, and especially since moving into the new house. . . it was like living with a force of nature.

But I didn't want her to die. Even when I threw her out of the house a couple of weeks ago, it was because the alternative was to take her to the vet and have her put down. I couldn't stand the thought. I've had enough of death. It's breaking me into tiny little pieces.

I have to wonder if the couple of days she spent outdoors contributed to her death this morning. I don't know. She seemed as healthy as ever (I mean, as healthy as SHE could be) when I found her and brought her back in. Better, really. She was cleaner and cuter than she had been in a while. She still ate as well as ever, still shrieked at me for her food as loud as ever.

But two days ago her shrieking began to sound muted. On Sunday it turned into more of a constant whine than the usual shouting at me, nagging me for faster Food Service. She sat in the middle of the kitchen floor a little more hunched than normal, and said, "Wah. Wah. Wah.".

Then, just yesterday night, when I set her food down, she went and took a couple of licks off the top, turned away from the plate, looked up at me and started whining as if I had not fed her anything she could eat.

Around 9:30, when I had finished the evening's first feature on TCM and got up to do the dishes, Pooky climbed into my easy chair and nestled down in the newspaper. I went up and took a shower. When I came down again the second feature was just underway and I got engrossed enough in it that I wanted to sit down and watch. I moved her (and Patches and Honey) out of the chair and watched Vincent Price doing his silly old thing for another hour.

It was ten o'clock when it ended. I found Pooky crouched in the cat box, hunched, snot running out of her nose, looking more pathetic than I'd ever seen her. I moved her back into the chair -- she weighed almost nothing -- and although I did get engrossed in the third feature, I stood behind the chair instead of moving her out of it.

At six AM I woke and could not find her anywhere -- until I stepped out onto the porch and at the same time stepped on Pooky, lying there on the thick rug, flat on her side, wearing the expression that all animals wear when they can see death coming for them.

I got down on my hands and knees. My left hand landed in a puddle of her shit, except that it wasn't like excrement anymore -- it was black and thick as tar.

I got a towel and covered her over from the neck down. I sat down in the doorway and stroked her head and talked to her for some time.

The thing is, life will be so much easier without her. Ninety-five percent of all the laundry that I had to do, I had to do because of her. I was forever on my hands and knees cleaning the floor because of her. Her nagging screams for food every morning and night drove me crazy. There is a part of me that's happy that it's over at last, for her and for me.

But she was closer to me than any human member of the family that I have left. We went through a lot together, especially in the last year. When I saw that she had gone I closed the porch down, drank myself silly and went upstairs to flop on the bed.

By ten I was awake again. I set about picking up all the newspaper around the house and throwing it away. I wrapped her body in paper towels.

Once the hole had been dug, I sat on the garden bench for some time, holding her and weeping like the hypocritical moron that I am. It seemed to me that there was some warmth still coming off of her body; but it was just warmth from my own hands.

Goodbye, Pooky. Goodbye, Mom.

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