Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Only A Month Ago

Just four weeks ago i was grieving the loss of both my feline friend of fifteen years and the jungle that was charitably called a garden by neighbours.  the absence of both is still rather raw and i miss the easy dance that Mr Cat and i had evolved over the years. he dictating the clauses of our coexistence and i avoiding the clawses when momentarily forgetting his supremacy.

As is the way with all losses the immediacy is dimming and adjustments are unconsciously being made daily.  the new garden is growing, though it looks sparse and spindly, and a furry called Fred is soaking up the sun on the chair so recently vacated by his predecessor.   life moves on and if we don't move with it we become like a needle stuck in a groove, repeating the same bars over and over again until all within earshot are rendered tone deaf by the refrain.  Or we sink so deep into the emptiness that the tendrils of The Dark wrap themselves around our ankles and drag us into the abyss.  when younger i wasted too many years, and damaged too many relationships, wandering steeped in sadness and refuse to take the road that leads that way again.
To fill the Mr Cat shaped hole in my home a Cats Protection vagrant called Fred who needed fostering has moved in for a couple of months. he was found starving, homeless, with a small, independent favela nation of fleas living in his fur.   my task is to feed him up, build him up, then talk him up so he finds a forever home.   he and Mr are as yin and yang, day and night, sun and stars, Laurel and Hardy.   where Mr was a white, fluffy, volatile, antisocial whirlwind of teeth and talon, Fred is a slinky black panther who seems to have a bottomless well of affection to share and a purr that would drown out the space shuttle Challenger's booster rockets.... i can even GROOM HIS TUMMY !!!

If the universe had a re-set switch i wouldn't hesitate to turn back the clock four weeks to the time when a Mr Cat and a mature green space were mine to enjoy, but the universe doesn't give us that option we can only go in one direction, always forwards, forever onward.  losses are unavoidable unless we abdicate from humanity but how we deal with them.... now, that is within our command.  as the wonderful writer Barbara Johnson, who experienced more tragedy in her life than you and i can conceive, said :   "suffering is inevitable, misery is optional so stick a geranium in your hat and be happy".

Monday, 12 September 2016

Kindness In Sadness

It was my fault.... i caused The Great Hexham Blackout, all twelve hours of it.  well, my garden did.... or if you want to be pedantic, the mains cable that runs through the garden of my flat, via the road leading to my cul-de-sac did.  and the evidence is captured above for all to see.... behold my ex-garden, in which is buried my ex-cat.

The universe decided a Bank Holiday Monday was a good day to wake jeni to a world without power, a trench where once grass, shrubs and all things green grew in abundance and a moggie meeting it's Maker.   losses that could be classed as minimal in a world where nation is at war with nation, natural disaster flattens entire towns and multitudes are sick and dying of preventable diseases.   minimal to many, but not to the individual at  the centre of the maelstrom.  it was a day when my commitment to positivity was tested and almost found to be inadequate.... almost.   
There is a misconception commonly held about optimistic people that they are emotionless or out of touch with their deeper selves, that they simply don't "feel" as much as other people.   of course, i can only speak for myself but.... NOT TRUE !!!   ask those who saw the tears dripping off my chin if this  putative positive person showed cold eyed, sociopathy  when Mr Cat joined the Mouse Master In The Sky, was reincarnated as a sabre tooth or simply added nutrients to the soil depending on your philosophy.   it's not that we have lives without heartache, it's  that we work hard to find some glimmer of hope in the midst of darkness to help offset the pain.

On that Monday morning the catharsis came in the shape of The Great British Workman.   when their mini digger came trundling round the bend the solution to the conundrum of where to put little Mister Cat was solved.  they dug a cat sized hole, gently took him from my arms, tucked his favourite blanket round him and lay him down to rest.   these big, tough, burly men all downed tools and stood silently at the barrier as the soil was, oh so gently, nudged back into place.   a child pulled from the rubble of an earthquake shattered village couldn't have been afforded more dignity.   they then found a large, round, leaf embossed slab and placed it on top of him to mark the spot.  

It will take a couple of years for my garden to return to it's lush, jungle like previous incarnation and i will miss the private little oasis it had become.  it will take much longer for the Mister Cat shaped hole in my heart to fill despite fostering homeless furries.  but when i look back on that cheerless Monday i have a choice of what to focus on and speak about.   i can allow the losses to take precedence and drag me down by the roots, into the depths or i can remember the kindness of those big men shown to a stranger, smile and be thankful.