January 18, 2017

Paying it forward

Posted in November at 11:24 am by viewfromthisdesk

Or attempting to at least.

On New  Year’s Eve, I agreed to participate in a pay it forward thing for 2017. I was super cautious after the mess I made of random acts of kindness but I decided that this year it would be one act a month and would cost no more than five quid. That way, I can’t get carried away and it’s fairly subtle.

This morning I saw some flowers in a shop. In a colour I’d never seen before. I knew these flowers were someone’s favourites. It made sense in the shop to get them for this person.

Then it got super awkward. I’m stood on their doorstep realizing I hadn’t thought it through. How to explain why I’m suddenly buying them flowers? I did make a hash of it to be honest. I repeated myself about ‘I know you like these’ I thrust the flowers out like a jousting pole, I fidgeted on the doorstep like I was stood on hot coals. I was not in control.

But this person has flowers and I’m now aware that I need to try harder next time to not be a wittering idiot. The first time is always the hardest, right?

 

In other news, I still miss Pirate Cat like crazy. Her memorial beads are in progress  and I have super amazing mates who have contributed. I also have the lurgy, my throat is lined with razor blades and broken glass, my head is going to explode.

January 12, 2017

January again

Posted in January tagged , , at 11:52 am by viewfromthisdesk

Almost a year ago I wrote a post about death.  At the time, there had been many high profile celebrity passings and society was in shock at the loss of talent.  For me, the date that I wrote was the anniversary of my Dad’s death and as this looms on the horizon again I find myself in a pretty dark place.

Celebrity deaths last year were frequent and many people were upset at these.  Music and the arts affects us all, we each have a song that takes us to a magical memory, a favourite film or album for all occasions.  I must confess, I wasn’t upset at any of these.  Shocked and surprised for a moment, but never upset.  Growing up, death has just been one of those things and for a long while I’ve wondered if I’m immune to feeling any emotion when it comes to death, I’m all out of feeling, I used it all up.

But at the end of January 2016, Patch Cat died.  It was a Sunday afternoon, we were not with her.  She was 16 and had been everyone’s favourite cat.  She loved boys, tolerated girls and would run off in an open van in a heartbeat.  She did honestly once elope with the RAC man who had come to fix next door’s car once.  If you were allergic to cats, she loved you more.  She was old but was the Peter Pan of cat-ness.  She always wanted to play and had this look on her face that was always kitten like.  She wanted nothing more than to chase after a scrunched up ball of paper or to lie as close to the brick hearth of our open fire as possible, even if it meant singeing her whiskers on occasion.

Pirate Cat didn’t seem bothered that her sister had died.  They were never close to the point of ever curling up together.  They had their own favourite places and these never overlapped.  Pirate had a permanently worried look about her, she was much more quiet and took her time getting to know people.  It wasn’t that she liked girls more than boys, she didn’t like anyone much because she just didn’t trust anyone.

But Pirate Cat chose me.  She would let me fuss her, she would on occasion sit near me.  A few years back, this progressed to sitting next to me on the arm of the sofa on the condition that I didn’t move, attempt to stroke her or acknowledge that she was there.  And then one day, she sat on me.  We must have had the cats for at least ten years, if not more by this point.  It was for less than a minute but I remember the shock and excitement like it was yesterday.  Neither hubby nor I could believe it had happened.  She was not a lap cat.

And then I got ill.  And whilst I had been ill for a bit, it was around the time that I was not managing my crashes particularly well.  I was not listening to anyone and I was just in a cycle of making myself progressively worse.  Hubby got me to sit on the sofa one day and all of a sudden Pirate Cat was sat on me.  I was so shocked that I didn’t move.  And so it began.

Pirate Cat became a kind of service cat if that makes sense.  Her sitting on me made me stop.  It became a statement in our house that ‘Pirate Cat says rest’ and it was the only thing I’d listen to.  No human could get me to take any notice of how I was feeling or how bad I was making myself.  On occasion, hubby has come home to find me asleep on the sofa/floor/bed with Pirate Cat on guard.  She wouldn’t leave me until he’d acknowledged her.  It was like she was making sure he knew he was responsible for me now.  She would calm me, look after me and make sure I knew I was to stop.  She was the cat guard of my duvet palace.

Just before Christmas, Pirate Cat was noticeably old.  We had celebrated her living with us for 16 years in November and knew that as she was at least 17, this was a proper stonkingly good age for a mog.  She slept more, she ate less, her joints began to click more than mine.  The tables had turned and it was us that was looking after her.

Last Friday, at 6.20pm, Pirate Cat died.  The details are irrelevant, but we were both with her.  We said thank you and goodbye and she just deflated away.  I haven’t cried the way I did on Friday for decades.  She has left an enormous hole in my life that I’m struggling to cope with.  Last night I apologised for sneezing because sneezes made her jump, then I remembered she wasn’t in the living room to be startled by it.  She used to let herself in the downstairs loo and lick the back of the door, we have no idea why, she did it all her life but she would often get stuck because she’d lick the door shut.  Before we left the house, we’d have to make sure this door was properly shut and I’m still checking it each morning.  I am leaving the bedroom door open just in case she wants to curl up in the duvet even though she hadn’t made it upstairs since late November.  I’m convinced I hear her clicking along the laminate in the hall.  I was certain I saw her the other night walking around the edge of the sofa.  Hubby and I have both heard her chattering in the night and then remembered it’s Jack from down the row, not Pirate.

I’m not ready to think about new cats.  I don’t want new cats, I want Patch and Pirate back.  I don’t want it to feel like I’m replacing them.  I’m sure in time it will happen, it certainly is very odd having a cat-free dwelling and it is true that ‘a house without a cat isn’t a home’ for us.

In the meantime, I’ve found a company that does memorial jewellery and I’m in the process of sorting that.  It isn’t cheap and I’m going to ask to friends and family to consider getting me a bead instead of birthday and/or Christmas gifts this year.  Certain colours mean different things in the honouring of Pirate Cat and it’ll mean she’s always with me.