Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Figs, and why I can't believe I'll see her again.

Please don't read this post if you're down.

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Today is Figgy's anniversary. I had to let her go 4 years ago today, because of a vicious cancer. We had the tumour removed twice, but it came back faster and faster each time. Once I had decided that I couldn't go on putting her through more removals, we had just a small operation to reduce the tumour, then hang on, hoping that she would get one more summer, as she loved being out in the sun so much.

Figs loved to climb up the stepladder so in the end, we put it up especially for her, in the back garden. Sometimes she'd be running up it before we'd put it up properly!

This last week of hers, the summer finally arrived. She spent it mostly in the garden, in the sun, or lounging between flowerbeds. By the end of the week I spotted -to my horror- that the tumour had suddenly got worse. I rang the vet; the next morning was goodbye. Couldn't bear to let her go through any more, not once I'd seen that it had worsened.

Fluffy wants out, Figs wants in! I can't remember who linched whom!

I sometimes berate myself that I was selfish, and that I should have let her go earlier. I know some people feel guilty about the euthanasia part, but I don't, because I think it's kinder not to let her go through actually dying of cancer. What I twist myself up in knots about is whether she was in pain that last week. She was slower, not interested in playing. I wish I had been braver.
Figs and me, 2003

I still can't think about her without getting upset. I was crying in the night, once I remembered what day it now was. I've lost other pets, other cats, but never had the pain of loss last so long afterwards. Belly-up in the sun. She flipped to this position a lot.
She would let me cuddle her tummy, and even blow raspberries on it!!!!

I wonder if the grief is lasting longer simply because my mother made me bury her while she was still warm, whereas I just wanted to stroke her, watch her. I know she was thinking of Figgy's sibling cats, Fluffy and Scooter, and was concerned that they not get upset. But I thought of that too, and wanted to put Figs in her box and put her in the shed for an hour, alone, "resting".
Figs had a 'baggy belly'. She wasn't fat, but it wobbled as though she had had kittens, but she never had. Here she is displaying said belly, as well as her wallpaper art.

I reluctantly agreed to bury her straight away. I was in no fit state to argue and didn't want the other cats to detect my being upset.

And so there she lays: in mum's back garden, alongside Mama Cat who preceded her by 2 years (also because of cancer). I planted carnations, sweet pinks, on her spot. I brought some home to my garden at the time and they came into flower again last week.

Figs giving her mum, Snowy-Mama-Cat, a wash.

I struggle with the subject of mum moving house, as I have nightmarish visions of someone digging up my cats. Some sicko playing with whatever is left of them. Or just throwing them on the bonfire.

I just want her back. Just want to hold her again and hear her chortle.
By far the worst thing about living without religion or spirituality is the glaring end that it means death is. The ultimate comfort would be to believe that I could hold her again one day. Please don't be offended if you still hold that faith. But I can't. When your medication has proven to you that things, sensations, horrible feelings, disturbing sounds, whispers, all these that you thought were real, were in fact hallucinations, it is terribly hard to believe in things, even if you can hear and see them, let alone the invisible.

And impossible, I've found, to believe that any feeling or experience that could once have been described as 'spiritual' isn't just another product of an ill mind. Those old feelings of being watched, or of living with hauntings, these were 'spiritual' too, but proved to be false.

When what you've seen with your own eyes and heard with your own ears for decades is proven to not exist, how can what you might sense as 'spiritual' be trusted not to be false also? See what I mean? What I used to call "God's presence" I now think of as my frontal lobe.

-I don't mean any of that to sound arrogant, or like I'm refusing to believe, stubbornly, with folded arms. I used to have a deep faith. Speaking in tongues and the whole shabang. I even spent a year in a convent. So I didn't just lose a Sunday morning habit, I lost a lot. I just can't trust any of it to be true any more, not after what I've experienced with my mad head.

And so I'm left with endings. Friends, human or otherwise, gone.


i beati said...

My dog died mother's Day and cat fathere's Day . i like you feel its so absolute and I want just one more moment very hard and I struggle with these same thoughts sandy

Julie said...

Helena I am so sorry that you are so sad. I always believe that those we have loved live on in our memories. I know I won't see my nan or my dad or friends or pets I have lost again but I rememeber all the good and funny times we had and I'm thankful for the ways they enriched my life. Without the advice of one dear friend who has gone I might not be with my DH today. I enjoy the remembered laughter including the laughter my lovely dog and cats brought me and try to forget the pain of their passing, especially if they had been ill at the end.

I hope you can find some comfort in your memories of Figs - she looks a beautiful cat.

Angel and Kirby said...

I agree with Julie. Take your comfort in Figs memories. It want put her back in your arms or build faith, but it will comfort your heart! She was a beautify cat. Thanks for sharing her memory

Feronia said...

A big hug to you, Helena. I'm so sorry that you are so sad. Loss is a very, very hard thing to bear. She certainly looks to have been a beautiful cat. I am having my own tussles with faith, and even though I don't have a solid answer about the afterlife and I don't necessarily believe that what the religions say about it is true, I really feel that death is not the end.

Hugs to you and hugs to dear Figs.

Di said...

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

With love and hugs


Lynda (Granny K) said...

Oh Helena, I feel for you. I've never got over the loss of our dog Lucy four years ago.

mrsnesbitt said...

I still miss Max I understand how you feel (((HUGS))))

Lorianna said...

Oh Helena, how I wish I could be with you! I understand so deeply what you are feeling. Tookie has been gone two years now, and I still sink to the floor sobbing and longing for my beautiful girl.
Figs passed knowing in her most purest of hearts how much you loved her.
There are things I want to believe and things I don't want to believe. But, wanting doesn't always make it so, as we have learned the hard way.
I watched a tribute for a kitty that had passed a few days ago. They played Coldplay's Yellow. "Look at the Stars, look how they shine for you"... Oh, did I cry. I sang that song, along with Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol to Tookie all the time. She used to lay next to me in the wee morning hours curled up in my arm and I would listen to that song. Now all I have are her ashes in a box.
I hope with all my heart that the people who buy your Mum's house are decent and respect your kittie's resting place. Do you know anyone with a thick skin who could move them to your garden or to your Mum's new place?
Sometimes I feel as if there's a kitty walking on my bed, when the other kitties are no where around. I dream about Tookie and she's happy and healthy. Sometimes I think I feel her soft fur rub against my leg. I want to believe...
You were the best kitty mum ever for Figs, believe that! She was a blessing to you and you were a blessing to her.
The memories of all the love you shared, all the silly times, are her gift to you.
I understand the sad. Sad and I are close companions. I try to give him a good shove as often as I can. Sometimes he leaves for a bit... Well, you know. :)
Always understanding,
your friend,

Dreadnaught said...

In the magic of life is a cinema, it is called our memory. A huge hard drive of information that is stored with almost immediate recall. Visit that cinema, re-live the good times, remember the fun, for whilst the physical may have left us, our memories will never leave.

To have loved, and to be loved is the greatest gift and Figs was lucky to have been part of that gift.

Anonymous said...

Figs lives on. In your heart, and still warm. =)

And I think she knows.

It's ok to be sad, I'm sad too when I remember my Muffin. But don't forget to smile when you're remembering her fondly. For if I'm right, she might be watching you. ;)

It's ok to feel the way you do. I just hope that you'll find your way to true joy. Meanwhile, relish your time with the other cats, and loved ones.