Week One Without Buddy

It’s been very rough. I’ve been going through the motions, although I have to say, going through the motions helps even if I don’t get any pleasure from them.

For instance, I’ve been swimming a couple of times. I haven’t been able to work myself up to swimming as much as I normally would, but when I swim, even though I don’t enjoy it, I feel less devastated afterwards. The endorphins are doing their job in a different way. Instead of bringing joy, they lessen the pain.

Finney seems fine. He’s getting more attention and of course he’s happy about that. I guess he’s always been waiting to become the king of the desk. Oh that doctor thing is just for a standard yearly checkup. I’m fine!

When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories by Molly Ringwald

Molly Ringwald once said some very nice things to me about my book Waiting For My Cats to Die (we met at a party). I remember her comments immediately made me think: she wants to write.

Well, her first novel, When It Happens to You, came out this month. Congratulations! It seems to be getting mixed reviews, but that’s fine. All my books do. Waiting For My Cats to Die has alternately been described as funny and heartwarming and as the most depressing book the reviewer had ever read.

One of Ringwald’s mixed reviews sold me however, and here’s why. Everyone who reads my blog knows my cat Buddy just died. A friend, who meant well, told me that it might be good to remember at this time that there are a lot worse things than losing a cat. I wanted to tell him, as a friend, to never say anything like that to a grieving person again.

One of the stories in When It Happens to You is about grief. I don’t know what kind of grief, but the reviewer says this:

When it happens to you, the narrator explains, you will not be comforted by reminding yourself of real tragedies, of floods and earthquakes and land mines. “Your heart doesn’t think,” Ringwald writes. “Your heart is stupid. It doesn’t consider the relativity of tragedy when it breaks.”

Amen, Molly. The heart can’t weigh which grief merits how much mourning. It just breaks. I would buy the book based on that insight alone. What others are saying about her book:

“When It Happens to You is absolutely lovely, a smart, emotionally sophisticated, intricately dovetailed novel of stories. World, I’m telling you now: Molly Ringwald is the real deal.” (Lauren Groff, author of Arcadia )

“Molly Ringwald’s eight electric stories are alive with Joycean insight-piercing, epiphanic moments of terror, humor, and transcendence. Together they offer a deeply moving portrait of modern life.” (Eleanor Henderson, author of Ten Thousand Saints )

Ringwald also wrote an interesting and thoughtful op-ed comparing writing to acting.

I took this yesterday while I was doing the laundry. I’m comforted when the weather matches my feelings. Sunshine is an insult. Tonight I’m going to a pet bereavement group. Hopefully. I was told to call first in case it gets cancelled.

9/11 and Why are Verizon Land Lines So Expensive?

I can’t bring myself to get rid of my land line. It’s mostly due to 9/11 and black outs. Land lines keep working no matter what. Also, the sound quality is so much better than cell phones.

But when all is said and done I use it very little and it’s costing me $75 a month. I emailed Verizon about how I could bring the price down. They said if I get rid of all the features, caller id, call waiting, and voice mail, I could bring the price down to $46. That still sounded like an awful lot for something I don’t use a lot and now has zero extras. I asked them to break down the charges.

They sent me this:

Verizon Freedom Value Price Guarantee $24.99
Existing Inside Wire Maintenance $7.99
Verizon Freedom Value Price Guarantee FUSF LD $1.06
Taxes, Fees and Other Service Tax $12.22

Estimated Monthly Charges $46.26.

I love the use of “Freedom” in their name for things. I asked them to explain why they are not competitive. They didn’t answer that and suggested this:

“If the overall monthly cost is your main priority, you can change your service to Measured Rate plus remove the Inside Wire Maintenance Plan and long distance. Your monthly after tax rate would be approximately $25.50 per month plus 9 cents per local call.”

I’m going to look at my usage for the past few months and mull this over.

I went out for a walk yesterday and visited a truck the ASPCA had set up outside a church on Houston Street. I was not tempted. Then I walked up to the Petco in Union Square, which also has cats. There was one very sweet cat which gave me a look. I don’t want to get a cat. Finney is old , I think I explained, and he would not appreciate a new cat around the house. But I wanted to get a glimpse into the future, when I would be happy again. I didn’t really get that, but it was a good try I thought.

Bunheads Finale

I’m thinking I can’t post about Buddy every day, although I want to. I keep coming up with different ways to torture myself, and today it’s about all the signs I must have missed which led to increased suffering and earlier death. I’m going to call my vet to go over everything, but I’m afraid he’ll think this is about what he missed.

But about Bunheads. Are you all watching yet? It’s on the way to becoming a really good show, and, more importantly, it makes me feel good.

The finale was positively enchanting. The quality of enchantment is my favorite in books, movies, tv, paintings, everything, and it is difficult to achieve without veering off into sentimentality or something overly romanticized. You have to be honest to get there, and you have to resist going a little too far in whatever direction you’re going. There were moments of enchantment all through the finale, but the best was probably Boo standing up at the microphone to apologize to Carl. The whole thing was an exercise in enchantment. She starts to go too far, and Fanny tells Michele to rescue her, and Michele jumps up. But Boo doesn’t go too far. She says all the right, honest things, and then she and Carl dance to a wonderful version of The Rainbow Connection (Weezer, I learned).

I made myself leave the apartment last night. I walked down to the river and stared out into the water, and for about five minutes it seemed like I’d made the right decision. I didn’t feel good, but it felt better to feel bad out there in the open, with life all around me, and the smell and the feel of the water, and the darkening sky.

But there were at least five different party boats out in the river playing at least five different loud, thumping, bad music and very quickly it turned into this horrible cacophony and I had to leave. I don’t know how I’m going to spend my weekend.

Torturing Myself

Some day in the next few weeks, in a more substantial way, I will thank everyone for all your support. Right now, I’m just sitting the couch watching the news, it’s all I can manage.

Today is as bad as yesterday, just a different kind of bad. Now it’s the undramatic ache of life without the creature I loved so much, enjoyed having around so much. He’s gone. Gone. We would have had a million different interactions between waking up this morning and now, and all of that is over.

I just sit here, unhappy, going over what I could have done better, opportunities lost. I’m remembering feeling so happy on Sunday, after taking Buddy to the oncologist. I had hope. I’m remembering the last time I felt over-joyed, when Buddy was eating with gusto.

It feels so much worse than the last time I lost a cat. Do we just get less resilient as we get older, or is it me?

I feel bad when people tell me someday I will just remember the good times. Because when I do that about Beams and Veets, for instance, I just feel sad and miss them. The sadness doesn’t hurt as much, but for me, it’s not like someday I will be okay about this. (Did I already post about this? Am I repeating myself now?)

I tortured myself for hours last night. Buddy had come to me yesterday morning around 5:30 for pets and to curl up. It was out of the blue because he has been hiding out and staying to himself (which helped confirm that it was time). I pet him but I hadn’t slept in days and I fell back asleep. It was my last chance, basically and I felt like I wasn’t there for him. I let him down.

Then, I couldn’t tell if he wanted me around him yesterday morning, he was back to hiding out. So I sat with him for some of the time, and some of the time not. Now I’m feeling like I should have stayed with him, talked to him, etc., etc., etc. That was also my last chance, my last morning with him.

I thought I might feel better posting about this, but now I just feel insane.

PS: I really really appreciate your comments, but I know that sometimes it’s hard to come up with things to say. What is there to say? It sucks. So please don’t feel compelled to comment. I understand.

I was feeding Buddy every 2 – 3 hours this last week. He preferred to hide out in the bedroom, but it was too hard and traumatic getting him out of his hiding spot each time, so I made him this hiding annex in the living room.