Tuesday, June 7, 2022

The Mushroom Diaries - Vol. 20-21 Syd

 I'm sure to the average person i may be a bit of a basket case, i mean how many grown men fall into a funk due to their little cat passing away? The loss of Syd has hit me hard and while each day that passes eases the melancholy there is still this weight of her loss which bums me out. It was after she was gone that the most apt description of her popped into my head, pure joy, that's what she was, i believe i heard her hiss maybe twice in her 7 years and that was when we brought home what became the BW's baby, another female cat that Syd was none to pleased to meet but for the most part she was nothing but sweet, her little trot, her big blue eyes looking at me, her little chirps and meows when i was petting her, her little motor purring away when she lay next to me or on my lap. There are times i still catch myself looking for her.

And so the Saturday after she left i decided i needed help, to cope with the grief i was feeling i figured the best way to help get through it was a dose of boomers and a night on the couch in the dark working through this loss. It started in the usual way with me sitting there and waiting for the fungi to kick in, then of course the obligatory run through a bunch of videos that i half watch while i start to drift in and out of that place, that cosmic hum that means nothing and everything all at once. The house was dark and the settled when i shut off the television and lay in the quiet and the dark, usually around now Little Baby Kitty would be laying next to me purring away, content to be with her Mama-dada, there were times over these last few months when i'd lay there that she was ever present. When i hurt my back she was my constant companion and when i stopped and realized that was the last 6 weeks of her life or so i was happy that i got that chance, maybe it was the universe evening out the cards it dealt before we both went bust, and then of course came the tears, laying on my back and staring at the ceiling and thinking of her i just let them come, they rolled down the side of my face, i knew there was no reason to ask why but i did, why her? why my baby? i was haunted by a thing i had told her a few weeks before... it was a particularly shit  night around the casa, the BW and the eldest boyo battling, it was tense and trying and a level of unhappiness had settled over the place. I had retreated to my bunker and lay down, Syd immediately jumped up and looked at me the way she would, big eyes, motor humming, the hi! mama-dada, it's me Syd, i scratched her head and told her i loved her and talked to her about being my best friend, i thought about her age and told her at the very least we'd have another five years and that i was glad because she was my sweet baby kitty. I knew my statement had nothing to do with what happened yet it still hurt, as if i had somehow jinxed it, we humans are well schooled in how to blame ourselves for things we cannot control.

The next day i couldn't exactly say the melancholy had lifted because it had not. It's still here now but like the waves it seems to come further and further apart. The boyos have been great, they lost a friend as well and they both were sad but they knew that Syd was there dad's cat and understood just how much their old man was hurting. Just the other day Disaster said something about her then stopped and looked at me and said sorry dad, i told him don't be sorry, that i like to hear his memories of her and that even though i miss her i'm glad i knew her and that hearing those things helped. One day i was sitting on the steps, i was thinking about Syd and how the place didn't seem right without her, i said nothing about what i was doing but Disaster was at the top of the steps, he looked down at me and said, "are you alright dad?", i told him yeah son i'm okay, then he said look at me, i turned and looked at him and he studied me for a second and said okay i was just checking. He asked what i was doing and i told him thinking, he asked about Syd? and i told him yes. Then he walked down the steps, gave me a hug and told me he loved me, then bounded towards the door to go play basketball. Even the I-mac in all his hormonal teenage moodiness was being cool to his old man. He'd ask how i was doing, he'd tell me how he missed her too and we'd talk about her for a minute, we'd laugh and smile at the memory and then go on about our business. It's been moving slowly, this grieving, but it's moving. 

Then of course there is the Breadwinner. The BW and i have very different views on almost everything i'm starting to realize... Way back in 2008 when Pablo, cat of the people, passed away she immediately wanted to go out and get another cat. At the time i understood, in the span of seven months we'd lost two cats (Sylvia, my first girl) and she'd lost her mother to brain cancer. Pablo had always been her boy and he was the coolest cat around, a people cat if every there was one, an excellent hunter, he'd often go wander off to the neighbors and at night when she was looking for him she'd call them and ask if he was there, they'd say he was there on the couch watching television and then she'd say to send him home, she'd go out back and call him and the neighbors would tell Pablo he had to go home and he'd run out the back door and down the steps, across the yard and into the house and up the steps to her room where he'd plop down on the bed ready to sleep. He used to put his front paws around her neck and hug her and practically climb her leg to get picked up. He was a brown and black tabby and so the BW went out and got another cat that looked just like him, Pedro, and then proceeded to be sad that he wasn't Pablo to which i said that no cat could be because like people we're all different. She claimed she knew that but was still upset Pedro didn't do the things Pablo did... 

These days she likes to show me pictures of cats and kittens on a web site, in her own warped way i think she feels she's helping and i do my best to feign interest. She's gone as far as to find ragdolls, the type of cat Syd was, and show me those, Syd was free from an employee of hers, ragdolls are not and with the number of cats in the world i refuse to pay for a cat when there are a lot of great ones sitting in shelters already, i find those cats really appreciate getting sprung from those cages and brought home... yes i'm the cat whisperer. I actually stated i didn't want to buy a cat that "looked" like her becasue ultimately it was not her and there wouldn't be another Syd and i understood that. Didn't change the fact that i still loved and missed my sweet little girl but i know at some point i'd be ready for a new cat and that Syd, like Louie and Claudia and Sylvia and Pablo would remain with me, as my best friends, i have a habit of doing laps for them in the pool to honor the fact i knew them... yes i'm a weird one.

So when i took a dose again last week i went into with the mindset that, you know, everything was gonna be alright... and it was... i drifted in and out of the nothingness more than usual and it was a beautiful thing, i caught myself smiling at the memories of my little cat, yes there were times when i had to wipe at my eyes and i wished that she was laying next to me purring away or jumping up on my chest when i lay on my back so she could put her face close to mine... i know they say that grief is the price we pay for love and i'm paying a heavy price and that's fine by me, maybe somehow it helps me to understand my capacity to love other beings not named I-mac, Nick Disaster or Pops, maybe i always knew i had that capacity but needed reminded of it. On this trip as it wound down and i turned some music on softly and drifted off into the tingling void of the psilocybin slumber... i woke the next day calm and relaxed, i understood she was gone and there was nothing i could do but to keep on loving her the way i always had, to talk to her the same way i talk to the other people and cats i've lost, i missed her but i was going to be okay... which is what Little Baby Kitty would have wanted for her big, hairy, Mama-dada... 

In my mind there is a Kitty Valhalla, as i call it, a place filled with catnip and cat treats, things to chase, a bunch of places where they can lie in the sun, stretched out and purring. It eases my mind... and these days sometimes my mind needs easing... it's quite true what they say about these creatures, these cats that keep us as pets, that we are better for having known them... and i know i'm better for having known all mine and in particular Sydney Sweetpea  or Syd or Little Baby Kitty as i usually called her... now back to our regularly scheduled program.


Epilogue - On the way to say goodbye to Syd this song came on the radio, the car was quiet with the BW and boyos speaking in hushed tones if they spoke at all while i drove misty-eyed to do something that hurt more than i could put into words... music, where would we be without it? listening to the words i was thinking of my cat and the time we had and how yeah, some you win and some you lose... that Tuesday started with blue skies and puffy white clouds, by the time i was driving to the animal hospital the blue was mixed with that encrouching gray that signals a storm, as i held my cat in my arms for the last time i kissed her head and when it was all over i walked out into darkening skies to the west, blue skies to the east, the faint rumble of thunder in the distance, i thought back to this song, as i got in the car and drove home the rain and lightening came, it poured down in sheets, the wind strong and it seemed that Mother Nature and the universe was providing her own backdrop to the events... and so this song has stuck, a part of the story of Baby Kitty and her Mama-dada, there's a bit of everything in it, Arcade Fire being adept at writing the anthemic, it can now make me smile or wipe at my eyes depending, sometimes both at the same time, as i walked towards the car i heard the thunder moving closer, i waited for the lightening that didn't come, i felt the wind drying my face, as Syd went to sleep in my arms that final time i knew her pain was gone, i knew that i had kept her from suffering uselessly and living in a hospital cage hooked to IVs, i knew somewhere in my heart that she understood and that the only place she would want to be in that moment was in the arms of her Mama-dada.... i am a hard man with a very soft center... Syd got right to the heart of that soft center... and her Mama-dada was all the better for it... 

1 comment:

looby said...

Oh dear...that's really moving kono. I have been through cat-loss myself. I loved the purring and the stroking too. They are just such beautiful creatures.

Great that you're not joining it with the marketplace for cats. That's a terrible human invention. All the best mate.