Since I am still in shock, I feel like I'm moving through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief completely out of order. I've accepted that Rose is dead and I am deeply depressed. While I held her waiting for Adam, I knew she was dying and I was already angry and bargaining. When the vet said she was critical, I accepted and realized she was probably going to die. When she coded and they couldn't revive her, I accepted and understood, then went right on to bargaining again, blaming myself and how I just kept waiting. It became anger, wondering how the fuck a five-year old cat with a clean bill of health could suddenly present with congestive heart failure and die so quickly. I became angry that we hadn't figured it might be genetic. I became depressed that I couldn't have known. I still blamed myself for not finding a way to take her to the clinic sooner.
When we held her body, I went through acceptance and depression again, followed by deep gratefulness that at least she waited until Adam came home, that Adam got to hold her, that she knew how much we loved her. Depression again. Acceptance.
No denial. Slight isolation.
I updated Facebook right there in the clinic's comfort room, since in this age of instant communication it was much faster than a sobbing phone chain. We finished holding Rose and signed the private cremation form. We walked to the car. My best friend Beca called and all I could hear was her screams, and I cried. She and her husband James came over with food: Whole rotisserie chickens that I ripped into because I hadn't eaten all day. Alcohol because it helped dull the pain. Being a doctor, she commanded that I keep taking Klonopin, as well as baclofen, two to three times a day just to keep my mind and body from shattering.
I realized how desperately I needed them there, and she knew it, and late that night she brought me to bed, fed me my drugs, and climbed into bed with me. Adam was downstairs on the couch with James.
I clung to my plushie ginger tabby Haiku all night. Beca and James left early this morning, and Adam came up to sleep with me. I woke up and instinctively reached behind my head to the soft pillow where Rose would be sprawled out, and I made a soft whimper of intense pain, because she wasn't there.
And Jupiter has been meowing, softly. Meowing and meowing. I don't know how much he understands yet. Luna has been so quiet, but always there, always ready for a hug. It's only been a day. I've only shed a few tears. The real grieving hasn't begun.
People are gently discussing taking me across the street to the new shelter on Solstice or after Christmas, to let me adopt a cat. Others have suggested waiting a few months. I cannot wait. Because I don't believe in waiting for too long. My heart cannot take it. I cannot spent months mourning and empty when a pet dies, otherwise I may lose my mind. See... After Tuesday died in November 2006, I spent four agonizing months with a growing, burning, echoing hole inside me, until I begged Adam to take me to the old shelter on Rothgeb just to look, just to see... and that was where Luna stole my heart and filled my soul. And one year later, my other best friend Charlotte begged us to come see her former coworker's new litter of five female gingers, and Adam picked up one, looked into those wide bright sunny eyes, and announced she was coming home. And Rose took our hearts and ran.
I never expected the baby of the family to be the first to die.
I think we will always be a three-cat house now.
I want and do not want isolation. I don't want platitudes. I am completely fine with "I'm so sorry for your loss" - as "sorry" is shorthand for "sorrowful" and it helps me to know that others feel the loss and mourn with me. But I am depressed. And I don't know what to say.
We have been getting so many phone calls and messages.
She was only five years old. I guess it was genetic. She was so young.
Now, her soul resides in the gold-cream clay sculpture Adam had made in her likeness months ago. Adam absorbed her energy, stored it, released it, and made sure she would stay with us.
The house of Rose's soul.
Oh sweet Bast, please love Rose and care for her. Give her sweet cuddles and nuzzles and kisses. And give her as many treats as she wants.
With Adam Paul, the sculptor.