We have family and friends coming in this weekend. Part of me can’t wait, the distraction, the love, the celebration of life, the very cute and tiny whittle baby schtuff. The other part of me is hesitant. Celebrating life so close on the heels of death, cleaning and scrubbing away the fur and tufts of carpet that won’t be replaced this time, putting on a happy face and telling and retelling the story of our greatest heartbreak.
A friend going through a difficult time of her own a few years back repeated some advice that she was given. It’s advice I try to embrace, especially now. The times you really don’t want anyone else around are probably the times you need them the most. And so we prepare. We work through the sobs and take moments to reflect when it’s too much. We talk to each other, share stories and memories. We keep her alive in our minds in all her quirkiness and try not to focus on her last days with us.
There are things I can’t give up just yet, and I don’t have to. We’d leave all the interior doors cracked so she could have free reign of the house, particularly our bedroom and the laundry room. I can’t close those doors; not yet. I still sleep with my palm outstretched, half expecting her to settle into the nook it makes and rest her tiny head in my hand. It takes a very great effort and a few escaped tears to turn my back on the space she would have been to hold onto my husband. And there are particular habits that I didn’t even realize I had developed, my good-bye routine in the morning, my coming home routine in the evening. And even though she isn’t there to hear me, I still whisper that she should be a good girl for daddy. And I’ll be home soon my principessa, such a pretty kitty.
And though there are times I would prefer to stay in bed or lie on the couch or hide under a blanket and stare into one of her secret corners, the kick in my belly reminds me that I should eat. The husband takes a deep breath and reminds me that he is also sad and I need to be there for him the way he is there for me. The alert notification reminds me that I have to be at the theatre. All the world’s a stage and all the men and women (and cats) merely players; they have their exits and their entrances. And I remind myself that taking a break from sorrow does not mean I have betrayed Bella. The show must go on.
I made it through the worst day, I can make it through this day. And I have friends and family who will take care of me in times of weakness.