Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 21: A Picture of Something I'd Like to Forget

Why does the Thirty Day Challenge have to require a picture of something I'd like to forget?  Isn't the whole point of wanting to forget something the idea that you avoid thinking about it?

I believe that each person has about a gazillion things she would like to forget, ranging from daily minutiae to big dark secrets that will never see the light of day.  And while the blog is very personal and yet protective, since I just have to tell my secrets to a computer screen without looking at the face of another individual, I don't think it's quite enough to get me to share least not all at once.  And so I will focus on smaller things that I will find important and nevertheless wish that I could forget.

Things like people who abuse animals -- I wish I could forget about that.  I wish that I could close my eyes and it would all go away.  I don't understand how people could do something like that.  And I certainly don't want to post a picture because every time I see it I run to my own furry babies and hug them and wish that somehow that hug will protect them from all the evil in the world.  If this sounds like you, too, you might want to check out Patrick's Law, a website that is trying to get harsher penalties for people who abuse and torture animals.

Along those lines (in a way), I wish that I could forget that my Hero, my darling cat, died in October 2009.  I do, actually, sometimes forget...and then when I remember again I am crushed.  Hero was the perfect cat and everyone, even dog-lovers, loved her.  She was a cute little 8lb Manx and had been my baby since she was small enough to fit in my palm.  She was named after a character in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, my favorite play.

My mother had her as an indoor-outdoor cat for the first two years, but when I got married and was no longer moving every few months, I brought Hero to live with us. Honey was never really a pet person, but he fell in love with Hero (and we eventually wound up with a house full of furry babies).
Hero liked being outside, but we kept her on a leash or within our sight in the backyard.
 When she was diagnosed with kidney failure at age 10, I was devastated.  We gave her kitty dialysis for months here at home and I took her in to the vet on a regular basis.  We gave her herbs and supplements.  Still, she became weaker and weaker until she was so tiny, only five pounds, and she wanted to sleep all the time.
Lotus and Hero used to sleep next to each other.
Thankfully, Lotus, too, liked to sleep, and we would find them together on a regular basis.  Hero had not liked the addition of Canvas, another cat, to the house years ago (it took her a long time to get used to the idea), but she was fine with Lotus.

I knew that once the vet told me she was in a lot of pain that I would have to give her up -- I loved my baby so much that I didn't want to see her suffer (a reason why I support my state's Death with Dignity law).  Thankfully I did not have to make that choice.  One night at 3AM I heard the most horrific meow.  I do truly wish that I could forget it.  I jumped up and ran to find Hero, who was so weak she could not stand, but she looked up at me and I knew it was time.  I picked her up, set her in the soft, new cat bed I just purchased the day before for her, and carried her to the couch where we curled up together.  We sat that way for three hours, when I finally woke Honey.  It seemed that with that last contact, Hero said it was time and that was that.  My furry soul mate was gone.

I still can't believe it.  I had her cremated and put in something that doesn't look so creepy-urn-like:
and then I bought some "Black Hero" tulips and planted them in the yard:
I cannot begin to express how devastated I was, but those of you who have pets who are like family will understand, I am sure.  Hero's passing did allow us to expand our family...a lot.  I was already planning on adopting two manx kittens (from a litter that a former student & his wife had, a surprise from adopting a stray summer of 2009), and then I saw a beautiful tabby who looked a lot like Hero (except this cat had a tail) for adoption at the local shelter.  We ended up with all three within about two weeks of Hero's leaving.

I love my fur babies.  I can't imagine life without them.  And I am so thankful for the additions.  But I still miss my Hero.  And I wish that I could forget her meow and that last awful night.  My mother says that even though the evening was devastating, it showed my connection with Hero, because she wanted to wake me up (and she waited for Honey to get up), rather than hiding as cats are wont to do when the end is near.  Perhaps that is true.  It is comforting to think that it is, and so I'll run with that idea.

There are many, many more things in life that I wish I could forget: corporate greed, wars, plagues, pestilence, famine, genocide, and people who are cruel and inconsiderate just because they can be. Just because they are selfish.  The world is filled with awful things that would be really depressing if one just focused on that side and didn't see any of the good.  We could look at people helping after natural disasters, or people helping others just because, and realize that life is not all bad.  There are certainly plenty of glimmers of hope and beauty all throughout the world.

Perhaps because all of these things play into who I am, who we are, what the world is, maybe it's best to remember the slogan of Holocaust survivors: Never Forget.  After all, if ever there was a group of people who should be allowed to forget horrors, it's that group, and they remind us every day of the importance of remembrance.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your story and introducing us to Hero. I'm sure she loved you and wanted to spend her last few hours with you. That says a lot about you, she loved you.


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