Monday, September 12, 2011

Many kinds of grief

Last week I grieved from a distance with friends who had lost loved ones: a close friend I see fairly often unexpectedly lost her younger brother, with whom she was not close--that kind of grief brings its own special difficulties. My high school best friend lost her husband of over 50 years to cancer. I see few marriages that look, from the outside, to be truly happy but theirs was one. In the last months I've marveled at the grace and faith with which they faced this next step in their journey together. They have a large family, and my friend will have children and grandchildren around to comfort her. Still I wish I could have hugged both these friends.
Yesterday I grieved with the nation over the enormous loss of life in a senseless, brutal attack on America ten years ago. Like so many others, I went to church and prayed and I watched the memorial at Ground Zero. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones so suddenly and tragically, but in a way I felt a sense of triumph for America yesterday. I think Vice President Joe Biden said it best when, at the Pentagon ceremony, he said something to the effect that they thought they would bring us to our knees but they underestimated America. We were unified, and we drew strength from each other. I only hope that it does not take another national tragedy to unite us in these contentious times of political disarray.
Today my grief was personal. In a recent post I talked about the decline in my 19-year-old cat's health. After an episode yesterday, today was the day to put him to sleep. My son Jamie came from Frisco--Wywy had been his cat, and he said, "Mom, you should not have to do this alone, and I want to see Wywy." He did something I never would have had the nerve to: he asked the vet to make a house call. Dr. Minterley from University Animal Hopsital came to the house willingly and was kind, gentle, and compassionate.  Jamie and I shed a few tears and hugged but we know it was right. Wywy was struggling for each breath. RIP Wynona Judley, the cat with gender problems. We never could decide all those years whether to say "he" or "she," but he was a wonderful cat--fluffy and gorgeous and affectionate. I'll not get another cat. None could replace Wywy.
I know that there's no comparison between the death of a pet, no matter how well loved, and the death of a family member or the extraordinary death toll of 9/11, but it has its own special grief in the fact that, at least in this case, I had to decide to end a life, a decision made with much help from Jamie. As frail as he was, Wywy slept in his usual place last night--pressed against my feet. My feet will be lonely and cold tonight, and there's a void in the house. This is the first time in thirty years I haven't had a cat in the house.

1 comment:

Cinder Blog said...

So sorry, Judy. I think my poor kitty will be next. I have already been grieving for the last four months. Try to keep the good memories. That's what I plan to do. I thought I would never get over the loss of my dog in 1990, but now I just think of all her funny antics and laughs. They bring us such joy.