I was thinking about grief the other day. Thinking my grief over my brother’s and father’s deaths last year didn’t last long. The crying wasn’t overwhelmingly intense. Or at least it wasn’t more than a handful of times. I wondered what’s wrong with me. Why aren’t I more broken by the events of last year? Am I cold? Heartless? Unfeeling? Are the antidepressants numbing normal emotion?
And then I read a blog post tonight: Daddy’s Little Girl, and I posted a response. As I wrote, the deep, gaping cavity in my chest that I’d been clenching closed these past months broke open, the grief spilling out. Maybe I’ve been too consumed by my mother’s neediness to have enough stillness to access my grief. (She hasn’t called since she hung up on me a week ago.) Here are the words I wrote that broke through:
When I was growing up, I hated him more than I loved him. When I hit my 30s and 40s, the hate faded bit by bit (as did the abuse) and the love grew. When he was dying in hospice in October and it was just the two of us alone every night, all I felt was love.
Speaking of love, Sophie the stray cat had disappeared for an entire week. I kept telling myself she was fine; she’d found her way home. Last night when I pulled into the driveway after work, she was out front waiting for me. I couldn’t believe it. No more skulking in the shadows, luring her out with a trail of Greenies. There she was, waiting. I thought perhaps it was because she’d gone hungry over the week she’d disappeared. But tonight was even one better. When I got home, she wasn’t waiting. But when I went outside and called her, she appeared! We then made our way through the steps she has established for us over the past six weeks:
- Eat tuna that I spoon onto the saucer for her from the can, bite by bite.
- Stretch (downward facing cat, and then each leg straight out behind her, one at a time).
- Bathe, taking meticulous care each whisker is back in place.
- Meow once or twice as she walks back over to me. (She has a very high-pitched squeaky meow, much like her sibling to be, Sally.)
- A minimum of five minutes of intense petting, paying particular attention to her head, cheeks, and under her chin, while all the while she purrs quite audibly.
Sophie appears to be well on her way to becoming an inside cat. Will it take another six weeks? Stay tuned.