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6 March 2014 / stageivhope

Staring at Cats

I haven’t written here in a long time.

Not because I don’t have anything to say. In fact, I compose posts in my head on an almost daily basis. It’s just that I do most of this thoughtwriting late at night, right as I go to bed. And sometimes it gets the best of me, and the pain and sadness come rushing in, and all I want to do is stop crying and thinking and fall asleep, but I know that if I get up and start writing for real I won’t be able to stop until it’s all out, and I’m not as young as I used to be, so being up at 3am is less appealing than it once was. So, instead, I push it out. I think of something else. I tell myself I will save these thoughts for a better time.

Of course, at better times, I’m not thinking about this. I’m wondering what to make for dinner or doing work or out attempting to be social or generally trying to live again because that’s what Arijit would want. Or I’m looking off into the middle distance, thinking about nothing at all, because my ability to focus still hasn’t fully returned. Or I’m staring at the cats. I do that a lot. They don’t seem to mind. I think they appreciate the audience.

The thing is, though, we are creeping up on the one-year mark, which leaves me with a lot of emotions to sort through.

I can still picture so much from that day. Watching his breathing slow. Telling him I love you. Holding his hand. Our cat asleep in his lap. Hearing his hospice nurse say, “I can’t find a pulse.” Hearing myself respond, “I’m not surprised.” Feeling like that was a terrible response. Wondering what a better response would be. Realizing there probably isn’t one. Flurries of phone calls. Pouring his liquid morphine into cat litter because it was a way to be useful. Kissing his forehead as the morticians took him away, startled by how unexpectedly, though entirely expectedly, cold he was. Sitting alone in our suddenly quiet and empty apartment, confused as to why I wasn’t crying. Sleeping on the couch, which was still in the middle of the living room, next to the hospital bed, because that’s where I’d been sleeping for the previous month and nothing else made sense.

I don’t know how I feel about this day. I’m not looking forward to it, but I’m not dreading it, either. I feel like I should be, though. But maybe I shouldn’t. I don’t know, I have no point of reference. Every other first without him—our anniversary, our birthdays, the holidays—were days I could celebrate. This is not a day you celebrate. It’s a day you survive. And if I could survive that day one year ago, I can certainly survive it now.

It’s not a day I want to remember, but it’s a day I can’t forget, even if I wanted to.

But I don’t want to forget.

I won’t forget.

So now what?


Leave a Comment
  1. Amber Wilson / Mar 7 2014 9:52 AM

    Hi Heather, you and I have never actually met, but I’m good friends with Katelyn Parady and I even had the pleasure of interacting with Arijit via news article exchanges online because Katelyn had told him what I was studying for my master’s thesis (actually, it was never a proper “exchange,” he and all of his everywhereness on the internets always found amazing articles that were helpful to me, I don’t think I was ever able to return the favor).

    I read your post and my heart just breaks. Especially when I read the last line. I wish I knew what to say. I thought you might appreciate an excerpt from a blogpost that a dear high school friend of Katelyn’s and mine wrote to another of our classmates after her significant other passed away. The whole post is here:, but the most important part is:

    “on days like today, and on days like the ones that will follow, i think we all wonder how to go on. i wish i knew.

    i think you live your life in honor of the one they no longer have here on earth. i think you cry as much as you need to. and i think you take as much time as you need. you remember those moments of drives to no destination, inside jokes, pointless fights, and endless laughter. and you capture them. you collect every memory you have and don’t forget them. you put one foot in front of the other and sit down to rest when you need to. you don’t let go of the love you have. you fight for your life. you look for your smile. and you remember. you stay close to him in whatever way that you can. you celebrate his life. the love you had. and the impact he forever has on your heart.”

    I know no one can ever truly understand what you’re going through, but I hope you know that you have people who care about you and support you – even those of us who you don’t exactly know very well (or I suppose, at all).

    Hang in there.


  2. tammycarmona / Mar 7 2014 11:10 AM

    This makes me think of my husband without me. It breaks my heart.

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