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?