Losing our cat, Mal-Mal, has been harder than I thought. No, that’s not exactly true. I knew it would be this hard. I just didn’t know it would be this hard for this long. I’ve occasionally been told that I share a little too much on here. I’m okay with that. I like being comfortable enough to share my failures as easily as my successes. I even felt comfortable enough to describe my vagina in more detail than my family would’ve liked. But, now I’ve found myself actively avoiding my blog for weeks. I’ve had several ideas for great posts in the works. Before he died, I put in a lot of time on the phone and online, researching topics that were important to me: ethical sources of down insulation, sociology of outdoor recreation, crime statistics on and off trails, and that completed gear list I keep promising. Every time I sit down to finish them up, all I can think about is how Mal-Mal would meow every time my husband sneezed, how he did this hilarious bobble head tilt to ask for people food that he thought was cute but really just made him look psycho, how he would groan if the t.v. was on too loud … I’m telling you, this cat had character out the wazoo. I sit and I smile and I think about all these charming quirks, but I don’t want to write about them. I don’t want to write about them because then I also have to write about finding the strength to get up off the shower floor. I have to write about the relief that comes after my husband and son are both out of the door in the morning so that I can cry without making anyone else feel bad. I have to write about changing my mind every time I try to make plans to finish the Lone Star Hiking Trail because now I’m irrationally convinced that something bad will happen to someone every time I leave. I have to write about the guilt of not noticing that our other cat, Tiny, had an ear infection for who knows how long, because we were so focused on Mal-Mal’s breathing. And about how I broke down in tears when I took him to the vet for the ear infection because they had this on the wall:
Though, I should probably keep to myself the fact that I watched and cried myself through 10 whole seasons of Grey’s Anatomy in an embarrassingly short amount of time. I don’t know why I thought watching a show where at least one person dies per episode was a good idea.
Well, I figure I haven’t held back on here so far and, hell, maybe it’ll even help me. Maybe if I admit that I’m not okay, then I can move on and write about the things that I want to write about. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m depressed, but I’m not okay, and I think that it’s okay that I’m not okay, as long as I know that I can’t be not okay forever.
Hurry up, time.
We collected every picture we could find into a slideshow. We set up his little cremation box next to a wire coat hanger (his favorite toy, I know, he was weird) and his favorite pillow for a mini-memorial service in our bedroom. I couldn’t think of what to say so we ended up just describing all of the pictures. A picture of him drinking water would pop up and someone would say, “He loved drinking water.” I’d intended for it to be serious but we couldn’t stop laughing. So, even though it was a giggle fest, I think it may have helped a little, especially because I wasn’t here when he died, to get to say goodbye.
And, in the spirit of laughter being the best medicine, here’s a picture of me being super excited about this strip map of the A.T. for my son! It’s not the noblest reason to donate to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy but it certainly doesn’t hurt. When I uploaded the picture to my computer, I realized I was totally holding the map upside down, and I laughed pretty damn hard about it. Instead of having my husband (who also didn’t notice, by the way!) retake the picture, I’m choosing to embrace it. I’m sure it won’t be the last time I unknowingly think I’ve got the A.T. in the right direction. :)