Today has been...better. Good, even. I'm still in a little bit of shock, but I'm better.
I called my brother last night. He must have been on shift at work, because it went straight to voice mail. My voice broke as I relayed my news to him. I knew he would want to know, because he's known Millie since she was a kitten and he's always liked her.
Aaron and I don't have a lot in common, really, but we both love cats. While Aar can struggle to tell how he feels most of the time, there's something about me losing a cat that brings out his sweet side. I woke up this morning to a voice mail left late at night. Aaron sounded so sad, and his voice paused a couple of times as though he was struggling with what to say. But the gist of it was lovely--how sorry he feels, how he knows I'm hurting right now, and I gave her a good life.
Then he texted me today. So you know, he's really an okay dude.
Tomorrow is "Ali Day," meaning Ali, our house cleaner extraordinaire, is coming. She comes every other Thursday to clean the floors, bathrooms, etc. She's wonderful, and my parents love her. I love Ali Days because the house is so fresh when she leaves. And I'm a huge clean freak. I can't stand a messy environment.
But part of me is having a hard time with her cleaning tomorrow. She'll vacuum the dining room rug, where Millie had been spending a lot of time of late. She'll sweep and mop my bedroom. While I love a clean house, a small part of me is sad to lose physical remnants of Millie--the bits of cat hair, maybe a stray whisker. It feels like erasing her from the house. I had the same feeling when I laundered the shirt I wore to take Harley to the vet on the day he died.
Is that weird?
I have their collars, and that will be enough. I'll also be getting a ceramic cast of Millie's paw print back from the vet after she's been cremated. I didn't want her ashes, but the thought of the paw print is lovely. They'll even inscribe it with her name.
I had some errands today, which took me past the veterinary clinic...I glanced over and saw the sign, and my first thought was, "Millie is there." I mean, maybe. I don't know whether her remains have been removed for cremation or not. Of course, this made me burst into tears (while driving). I had to sternly remind myself that even if the physical body is still there, Millie is not. Millie's little spirit is off, somewhere. No doubt going on a catnip rampage, with bright eyes and her tail sticking straight up. That thought gives me comfort, anyway.
I was twenty-one when I got Millie, so basically, my entire "adult" life, I've been a cat owner. When I lost Harley, it was so hard, but I had a feeling of, "Thank God I've still got Millie." Now, I have none. I remarked on Facebook yesterday that I'm a cat lady...sans cats.
It's a strange feeling, and I am having a rough time reconciling that. It's also tough to know that while I will have and love many more cats in my life, there will never be another Millie. She was just special--we all agreed. Even people who don't like cats liked her.
Of course, the immediate suggestion from a lot of people is to adopt again, but right now, it's not feasible. I could happily drive over to the local shelter and adopt, but I have to take into consideration my living situation. Mom has two cats, Bella and Duchess, who are ten years old and probably not inclined to take in a new kitten. They loved Millie and treated her as Queen Cat because she and I were living with my parents when Mom adopted them. They always knew her. Harley, they tolerated because he started off as a somewhat frequent visitor before I moved back home in 2011.
To bring a new kitty into the house would mean having space to quarantine, and we just don't. Besides, I do not want to declaw, and having a young kitty harassing the furniture would not be okay for my mom. So as long as I am living here, I will not be adopting another cat.
I had already decided I'd stay here for another school year, even though I'm going full-time with the new job, because it makes sense financially. I can sock a bunch of money into savings, buy a new car, and then, when I'm ready to move out, look into the option of buying a condo instead of renting again. It makes sense to hold off on getting kitties (and I will adopt a pair) until I'm in that situation. So until then, I'll love the stuffing out of Bella and Duchess, and donate to kitty causes whenever I can. Even though I will miss having my own cat, I know that timing and circumstances are important. Rushing out to find any cat wouldn't be fair to me, or to the cat. It has to be a good match.
If yesterday was a do-nothing-but-cry-and-check-Facebook day, today has been a little more productive. I went to the gym because I need the gym. It's impossible (well, almost) for me to cry when I have endorphins doing their thing. I had some stuff in my car that needed to be taken to my storage unit, so I did that. I went to Target for some retail therapy--new makeup, a cute top, two new books. The rest of today has been a "Me" Day. I colored my hair, did a face mask, took a 20-minute shower. I baked a fruit pie. I've been taking care of myself. Tomorrow I need to get back to studying for the personal trainer certification, and get back to my To Do List for the week. For now, I just need to take care of myself.
And So It Goes
Day Two. I'm okay. I'm sad. I'm able to laugh at stuff. I'm surrounded by wonderful friends and family who love me. I started the morning with the message from Aaron. A few minutes later, my dad poked his head in my room and said, "You okay?" He never does that. Summer texted while I was at the gym. We have a really fun adventure planned for early next week and she hopes I'm able to look forward to it. I definitely am. It will be good to get out, see my friend, immerse myself in Snoopy, and see a great concert (Ben Folds). There will be dinner out, a night at a lovely hotel, and some pool time the following morning. It's good to have something to look forward to.
Even a dude on a dating site has been really sweet. We were supposed to meet for drinks last night, so of course I cancelled. I wondered how he'd take it and he's been wonderful and understanding. As he should be. But not all guys are.
It's weird. She's gone. I hate it. But it's my new reality and I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.