Tuesday is dying and it is the worst thing I have ever gone through in my life. I suppose I am lucky for never having lost a person I was close to but this is just the biggest pile of suck I have ever experienced.
This fucking came without warning. One day, she was there, 100%. Meowing that her food bowl was half full. Reminding me to get up, to be a little bit better to myself and the world than I was the day before. Resting her chin on me when I was feeling sad or lonely. Sleeping like a donut in a sun beam. Turtling on my outstretched legs. Eating the remaining egg bits from a pan on the stove. For 12 years she has been by my side, a talesman keeping me safe and protected from the darkness that lurks in the corners of the world. She has been my friend, and a beacon of hope in moments where all I thought I could do was give up.
Other than the lethargy which presented itself last Friday, I could smell it first. The smell of death starts with a change in pH. As the organs begin to fail and toxins no longer get processed it’s an unmistakeable scent. And you try so hard to deny it. You want to pretend that perhaps she just ate something or is feeling sad or sleepy but then you realize it’s so much more. And then death becomes more alkaline, and chemical. It smells like antiseptic and hospital floors and plastic.
And it’s cruel. You keep getting these glimmers of hope, like perhaps it’ll pass but you know it won’t. And knowing that at some moment, far too soon I’m going to have to make the hardest decision that I’ve ever made. And I have to make it because as she has always known, I know and it’s pain that no one knows how to express but it’s there. And she can’t tell me.
As much as I yearn for a partner, I’ve had this 12-year unit. The big, dumb cuddly one on my left and the sweet, sensitive, intuitive one on my right. My own yin and yang to keep me from truly feeling alone. My team and partners. We’ve moved across decades together, stopping in different homes, towns and states. Though my 20s she made me get out of bed every time I didn’t think I could, always giving me a reason to face whatever darkness was grasping hold. She’s survived boyfriends, undergrad and graduate school. She’s been apart of holidays and birthdays, and epic moves across the country where, turns out I wasn’t alone. My team was there. She’s lived through my depression, and economic struggles, and terrible choices. She’s lived through the hardest years of my life but she won’t live though kidney failure.
I wanted her to meet my future husband. I always just assumed she would.
The kicker is, that as her light is starting to fade, she knows how much it hurts me. She’s still the one comforting me in this sadness.
So this is what I now know. Love is real, after all. It’s this part of us we take for granted and at the same time, take advantage of. Love is moments, and lifetimes and feelings and it knows no shape or bounds. It is limitless and infinite and it is very much real. It transcends decades and timezones and species.
Tuesday is love. She is appreciating the smallest, most seemingly insignificant moments. She is greeting each day with a yell. She is barking at crows and squirrels and trying to communicate through glass, and time and across linguistically constructed barriers. She is a companion to read next to and a friend to watch terrible tv with. She is a protector from bugs, and evil spirits and self-spirals into depression. She is a giver, of affection and a teacher of patience. Tuesday is love.
This is by far the worst thing I have ever experienced. Tuesday, however has filled me with some of the best pieces and memories from a very significant portion of my life, over 1/3 of which she has been there for, commenting on in her tiny little voice.
I am not doing well, and very soon I will be doing much worse.
I am not sure how or when I will make that call, but I will have to. Because this is love. And it will momentarily ruin me, if not leave me temporarily catatonic. (Ha ha, she would roll her little yellow eyes at my attempt of a pun).
But then, from the great beyond a little chocolate chip muffin cat will start yelling at me that the bowl is still half full, and remind me to get up and make the most of a new day. And I’ll get out of bed, and try to be just a little bit of a better version of myself.