Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gopher Girl

Rocket Socks died Friday the 20th. She did not go gently into that good night. Her behavior began to change Thursday evening at about 8pm. I knew she was dying and I stayed with her. As she died she became increasingly debilitated and wild. Was awful to watch my gentle cat fight to live. I wanted her to die at home without the stress of going to the vet again. I couldn't do it. We took her to the vet as soon as they opened in the morning. Mark had to put on leather work gloves to pick her up and put her in her carrier. She could no longer walk but her teeth were working big time. She yowled and drooled the whole ten miles to the vet's office. I held the carrier and cried.

The vet and her assistant were wonderful. Kind, caring and very practical. They sedated Socks and then took her out of the carrier. I am not quite sure how, but we all ended up sitting on the floor around her as she slowly relaxed into the bed they brought for her. I petted her and cried. Not just a few tears but sobs and snot. Believe me when I tell you NO ONE ever hears me cry. I might shed a few tears in public but I never make a sound. When I could talk again the vet asked, "Now?" Mark said yes and the vet found the vein and injected my Socket Set. It finished quickly, from gentle breathing to no breathing. Death is peace. I always forget the silence. Dying takes tremendous energy. When it finally occurs there is relief and rest for the first few seconds/minutes afterward. We all just sat there.

Mark was the first to move. In a strangled voice he said, "I'll go get her basket." He was gone a fair bit of time. When he returned we put her in her basket. I tucked her blue rat under her chin between her paws and straightened her collar and bell. The vet wrapped her long fuzzy tail around her. She looked like she was ready for a long nap. Mark covered her with the towel in the basket. We all got up. I still had on my coat. I'd never taken it off. I put on my gloves and picked up the basket. The familiarness of the warm weight in my arms was such a comfort. I blew my nose and tried to look normal. There were kids in the lobby.

The drive home was way too short. I held her and cried. Mollie sniffed her and then sat quietly in the backseat. I wanted those ten miles to be a hundred. I wanted to hold my kitty and never let her go. But all to soon we arrived home. Mark pulled into the garage and turned off the car. More silence. I couldn't move. So we four just sat in the cooling car. I began to pray. I thanked God for love. My love. My ability to love. My opportunity to love. My Rocket Socks who was love. I was and am so blessed by the cheerful long haired tuxedo cat who wandered into my life one fall day, collapsed in ecstasy into the leaves at my feet, and then stayed for eleven bliss filled years.

After the prayer, of which I remember not the words but the feeling, I got out of the car and took Socks inside. I put her basket in its normal place in front of the heater. Whomper immediately went over and sniffed her. She then walked off and did not look back. I sat on the edge of the sofa in my coat and gloves and cried. Mark went outside to take the plastic bags of dirt out of the hole we had dug behind the rose bush. The bags of dirt were frozen so this took some time. I finished crying and picked up Socks and took her outside. I sat on a cold bench and let the sun shine on her while Mark finished enlarging the hole. Socks loved sunshine. She would lay on her back in a sunbeam and I would sing the first verse of "You Are My Sunshine," and she would meow the second verse. We were a big hit at daytime parties. When the hole was large enough I went over and placed her at the bottom. I then got a big trash can and filled it with leaves. I took them to the hole and let them fall over and cover her. Mark cried. We took turns gently putting the earth back into her grave. When we had made a little mound we patted it smooth and went to look for rocks. The ground is frozen so it took a little time to find and dig out the right size and amount of rocks. I cried while I pried out the rocks. Oddly enough there was no one around. In our little hamlet there is always someone out and about doing something. But not that day. Just us in the cold clear sunshine. When we found enough rocks we covered her small grave to make a perfect oval. We moved the shovels, brushed the dirt off ourselves and stood one on either side of the grave. We held hands. Mark said a prayer and thanked God for "Our friend Socks." We cried some more. We were finished.

Grief is hard today. It was hard the past three days. I imagine it will be hard for the next few weeks/months. Friend Kim who just lost her beloved Peg suggested I get out pictures of Socks. This I have done. I have one in every room so I don't feel so alone. Before Mollie this cat was my dog. She followed me everywhere. When I sat down she was on or near me. TV watching is no fun without her. Doing my devotions in the morning is agony. Everyday we would have a fight over my Bible. She loved the feel of the thin pages and would lay on it and lick the corners. Very hard to read something with a ten pound cat right in the center of it. Phooey. I believe there are animals in Heaven. If God worries about sparrows surely cats HAVE to be included. I will see her fuzzy little self again.

But right this minute, I miss my cat. It snowed five inches shortly after we finished her grave. I can't even see it. I want her to come back to me. Phooey. Guess I will cry some more.

Take care. Love Bea

P.S. Gopher Girl: A cat who sits up on her hind legs with her front paws at her chest and waits patiently to be petted.

Friday, November 13, 2009


I wasn't going to write about this but what the heck. I ain't getting any younger. I am being marginalized in society and it has nothing to do with my fat. I am a traditional Christian Republican. And I am increasingly hated. Hated by those who preach tolerance and acceptance. Go figure.

At friend Kim's wedding reception I was seated with some fun people and we were having a fun conversation. Being a group of mature nurses, we were discussing the good old days of health care and decrying the loss of compassion and concern in our chosen profession. This led to a discussion about the decline of civility in the culture in general. This reminded me of something I had heard on the radio so I said, "That reminds me of something Rush Limbaugh said yesterday." Well...the general intake of breath sucked the flowers off the center piece and put out the candles. The shocked looks of all and sundry was something to see. And this from a group of women who routinely discuss excrement and body fluids during lunch. The woman seated next to me scooted away, and a huge silence filled the air. Finally one of these ladies said, and I quote, "Anyone who listens to Rush Limbaugh is a stupid homophobic, racist, Nazi, fascist." Silence on my part. Then she smiled and offered me cream for my coffee. With this offer the conversation resumed around me as though I hadn't spoken. But I was marked.

Now I don't listen to Rush on a daily basis but when you are trapped in a car for two days with a broken CD player, no Ipod, and you have run out of conversation, you want to listen to something. Mark listens daily and has for years so it was no stretch for us to tune in and listen. I kind of like Rush. He's smart, sassy and his struggle with addictions (pain killers, food) is a sometime uplifting topic of conversation that I can relate too. But, I am by no means a political wonk and all that in depth stuff about Congress and the President just bores me. Or at least it has in the past. I find I am getting more political by the day. Each time some perfectly normal nice person calls me a "stupid homophobic racist Nazi" and seems to take pride in the rude idiocy of the comment I drift a little more to the right. I am not yet a total Conservative but I am heading in that direction.

One of the songs we listened to on our journey to Nevada was "Life's Been Good to Me So Far." I love rock. The louder the better. I love this song. The louder the better. A favorite line in the song is, "Every body's so different but I haven't changed." This is what is happening to me. The culture shifted and I haven't. I have what used to be pretty run of the mill Protestant and Patriotic beliefs. I was never very political, or if truth be told, very Christian. So it is still a shock when my formerly common place beliefs are now held to be way right of center and militant. Militant, me? Must be some other poor fool who has the temerity to still believe in sin and self reliance. And to voice those beliefs in the land of free.

God Bless America. Love Lynn

Thursday, November 5, 2009

10 Lives

Rocket Socks is still hanging in there. She is thin and doesn't eat/drink or eliminate much but is up and around and annoying the heck out of the dog. I am giving her subcutaneous IV fluids as needed. The antibiotics are finished and we are both relieved. She goes outside and stalks around the yard like her old self for a few minutes, then is pooped and comes in and sleeps. She seems happy enough. I guess I will know when the time is right to let her go.

Life here is returning to normal after the hubbub of the summer. I am glad. We bought a snow blower so I won't have to kill myself shoveling this winter. I washed the windows and we put up the storms. We have been having some nice days so I washed all the blankets and rugs and dried them on the line. I am back to teaching adult Sunday school, and choir practise starts tonight. I am thinking about volunteering at the Senior Center one day a week delivering meal-on-wheels. I went for a ride along yesterday. Threw me into an unexpected emotional tailspin. Too much like nursing I suspect. I am not sure I want to start driving around in blizzards and fending off dogs again to visit people in their homes. But I have to do something. I am seldom out of my comfort zone anymore. I do not think that to be a healthy situation. (The neighbor's four ducks just strolled by, Huey, Duey, Louey and Donald. Three black and one white. They walk upright like penguins, chatting up a storm the whole time.) I love being at home but I am losing touch with the wide world. It worries me.

I was counting on the new computer to pull me out of my backwater and into the river of life. No money for computer. Snow blower and vet bills took our stash. Phooey. Mark has screwed this old computer up so much I now can't get to one of my email accounts. He broke another printer so I can't print off anything, and the mouse pad has gone missing. I am currently using a piece of cardboard for a mouse pad. Like Virginia Woolf, I HAVE GOT TO HAVE A COMPUTER OF MY OWN.

Okay rant finished. About the comfort zone thing. What do you think, is being content at home worth the trade off of letting "life" pass me by?

I want to stay at home and be a sheltered housewife and write. I love being able to see the ducks walk by and hear the pigs snore. I love the silence of the house. I love hanging clothes on the line and seeing the mountains. I love doing the dishes and gazing down the valley through my kitchen window. I love being at home with this silly dog. I love not being responsible for anyone but myself and my immediate family. I do not love not having current marketable skills and being out of touch with the times. I still write letters and send them snail mail for God's sake. I do not love not contributing anything to anyone. Phooey. I fear I am becoming an anachronism.

Okay whine over. Take Care. Love Bea