After the heart breaking life event we had to endure on Sunday, it's certainly been a very rough week. If you missed that, here is the link, please keep the kleenex nearby and don't say I did not warn you. It's a happy sad mostly though.
I am rather drained. I know stress is exhausting but didn't think being so sad would do it too. How I long for a solid night's sleep!
We've had unbelievable amounts of outpouring support from family, friends and so many people we've not met but who love their pets and understand what we are going through. Gotta love social media! With so many comments, one does stand out from our bud Lee, after stating her dehydration from reading my tribute to Meadow, she nailed it with a part on how Meadow was a bit of a celebrity in the eyes of all those who never met her. Meadow was a regular through my social media, be Facebook or Twitter, and I never realized how many people enjoyed our shenanigans. She was there so often and not in the background.
As Angie and I spent Sunday at home, trying to enjoy the beautiful day it turned out to be weather wise, we did have some difficult moments. Sitting on the back deck, we could not help but look directly at Meadow's favorite shrub, envisioning her there. She went to this shrub with every visit, no matter the season, but of course just loved it when it was in bloom, smelling and licking the flowers (last photo I shared in the blog linked above).
Watching over the shrub everyday now, waiting for signs of it coming back to life.
Sunday night was difficult. As per usual, Angie goes to bed a few hours earlier than me because we work different shifts. I am so used to the routine of Meadow and I stretching out on the couch, her snuggling in my arm pit, and I put a dvd on. She purrs for a long while, I watch whatever, and we both eventually drift off to sleep. No other way to put it other than it just plain sucked not having her there with me.
Monday morning wake up, no kitty coming out to the kitchen with me as I boil the kettle for that first morning coffee. No kitty getting up on the table while I enjoy it. No kitty jumping in the window when I open the shutters. Ugh! I spent over 3 hours that morning doing the tribute blog, smiling, crying, back and forth. I went to work that afternoon and was greeted by some of the guys with sympathies, hand shakes, man hugs and lots of talking. Not a bad bunch of guys I work with.
Early in the shift I was contacted by some wildlife rehabbers about a unique situation that they hoped I could help them with. It would involve me meeting an individual the next morning, early in the morning, more like middle of the night to me, meeting this person in a sort of relay system to get an injured bird to the help it needed. I jumped at the opportunity despite how screwed up it would be for my sleep. To me, this was a really good distraction and kinda boosted my spirits temporarily. I wasn't happy that there was something sick or injured and needing help but the ability to help others, especially wildlife, did. Unfortunately the animal died before this got to happen.
Work went by slowly, and a few times I caught myself about to get choked up, lost in thought with memories of Meadow, but I would stop myself. As much as I looked forward to coming home after work, I dreaded the dead stillness of the house without Meadow. It was a mild night and I went out back for a while. I like to fill the bird feeders at night when no one is around, well, no humans anyway. I don't mind the passing critters such as Raccoons, Opossum or a Skunk (from a safe distance). But tonight I was treated to the sounds of Coyote howls very near our house. How near? Maybe a 1/4 km away. They were so close! In the near 13 years here I've not heard them before. My spiritual animal lovers said to take it as a sign from Meadow. It sounded very much like this.
Tuesday I run a few errands like I normally do, stopped in some local bird spots close to home and saw my first of season Yellow-rumped Warblers, a Brown Creeper, a Tree Swallow and a brief view of a Turtle. I was curious if it was a Red-eared Slider that someone tossed in the pond a couple years ago.
I'd been meaning to get in touch with my friends at the Humber Arboretum as the last couple Springs we've been working on a nest box or two, experimenting with positioning them better, and critter proofing them. Each year we've learned something and make adjustments. I've learned a lot from the Ontario Eastern Bluebird Society about such things. The meadow at the Arboretum is full of Tree Swallows and on occasion I have seen an Eastern Bluebird. It is our goal to help the Bluebirds and maybe get a nesting pair. Of the 3 Springs we've done something, I'd say this one is offering the best for a Bluebird and the returning Tree Swallows. Jimmy from the Arb built a nest box for Angie and I and gave it to us as a wedding gift on behalf of the Arb. We set it up the Spring after we were married. The first year we got a dummy Wren nest. Male Wrens will build a few nests and let the female pick out the one she wants, at least that is what I've been told. Should I have been offended she did not want this nest? The second Spring we got a pair of Tree Swallows but sadly they abandoned the nest and 4 eggs due to ant infestation. Here we go again and no way them ants are getting in the houses this time around. Wish us luck! Shit, I just jumped ahead a day with the last bit here. That is how I spent my Wednesday morning. It was great to see Jimmy and mess around with him for a couple hours working on the nest boxes. Another great distraction plus we're hopefully helping some lovely bird species. It gives me inspiration. It gives me the drive I need, something to look forward to, something to watch over in the coming months.
Now let's go back a few hours, Tuesday at work wasn't as hard as Monday, but I still caught myself in a few moments of misery. I probably will for some time yet. I will always miss Meadow but I guess over time the pain eases. I can look back with fondness and not the heartbreak. I just remind myself on how sick she was, how quickly she turned for worse, and she is not suffering anymore. I'd rather think of the happy healthy sidekick I had with that cat but for the time being giving myself the dark reminder is helpful.
Work ends Tuesday night and I am on my way home. What do I see in my travels? Two Snowy Owls! One at Hwy 401 and Hurontario, plus one at my Eglinton exit. I was in awe! This is the latest in the season for me to see Snowy Owls. I wished I had my camera to get some crap record shots. I get home, it's another mild night, I'm filling the feeders and wondering if I will hear the Coyotes again? Nope. It's quiet for the most part minus a Raccoon that comes racing over a few fences to join me. Someone has been feeding them and a couple have become quite used to human presence. I'm sure my dropping of whole peanuts and not minding their clean up does not help but whatever, it's like a score to them, a little snack as they search out food. I won't chase them away as long as they aren't messing with our house. So he's snacking on a few when through the side gate comes an Opossum.
He's looking for the apple core I normally toss out to the back lawn after work. Lucky for him, I threw a whole mealy one out tonight. He sees it, takes it in his jaws and goes under the deck to feast. A one minute video link.
I go back to filling the feeders when I spot a second 'Possum at the back. A smaller one. Perhaps a female and the big guy I encountered moments earlier was the male? A great hour or so out back with these furry distractions!
Wednesday, as you know what happened. Jimmy and Taurean are great guys and we had some laughs.
One of the nest boxes we moved had Tree Swallows take to it in minutes.
I didn't want to leave and go to work but I did. Work wasn't much different than Tuesday, good times, a couple rough moments, but I just kept at it.
It was another night I was dreading though because this is after all Whiskey Wednesday. Angie will be in bed and my usual drinking bud won't be with me. Meadow was great on Whiskey Wednesdays. She never said anything, was just there with me. We enjoyed the peace and quiet after a long night at work. We loved looking out the kitchen window to the darkness. She always spotted the critters long before I did. On occasion did the whole back fur raising, ears popping, and then run around the house like a maniac before coming back to the window with her eyes bulging out, staring at what I cannot see. Such fun! But this was not going to happen tonight. I shared this photo on Facebook, talking about my first "WW" without her and anyone wanting to raise a glass to her memory with me.
The mass of friends saw my post and made many cheers and toasts to Meadow. Heck, some even took pics of their drinks and shared them not just on Facebook but a few photo texts to my phone as well. How freakin' awesome! There are a lot of shit heads in the world. I am happy to say they don't exist in my circle.
My ride home had me spot 2 Snowy Owls yet again. This time the birds weren't more than 50 ft from each other in a field near my exit. Damn, no camera again.
Home now, Angie waited up for me, she did a shot and then went to bed. I went outside again, met up with my masked friend for a bit and then the Coyotes started their chant about 11:15pm. Their yelping intimidated my Raccoon friend and for whatever reason, he moved in much closer to me. I've always had Raccoons drawn to me through my life. If they ever did my totem animals, I'm sure the Raccoon is on there somewhere.
So now it's Thursday morning. I should get out for a bit since it's another lovely morning. I have some bird buds I've not seen in a while and we keep talking about meeting up, they have checked in on me this week and remind me they are there if I want to get out and chat. I will. Just not today. Blogging this is good therapy for me. I turn on the radio and Luba's "Everytime I See Your Picture I Cry" is playing. OMG! A song nothing to do with this life story we are facing but that one line... ei yi yi... some hard moments looking back on old photos.
I'm unsure how interesting anyone will find this but this one is for me.
There are 5 stages of grief... denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
I know I don't have denial. There is no denying Meadow is gone. Meadow went to sleep in my arms. I will never forget her last breath.
Anger. Yes I have anger. I get angry when someone says "oh that's too bad. My cat is 16 years old and has never been to the vet other than to get fixed." I'm sure it wasn't meant in any ill way but I still want to say "shut the fuck up!" Some people don't think before speaking. Anyway, that's about the extent of my anger. Anger is for the most part a useless emotion. It's toxic to your body and spirit, and a waste of time with the remaining life you have.
Bargaining. I don't get that one really. I will be a better man, let her remain with us? Meadow was really sick. She is at peace now. The cat in the last days was a shell of her old self, just tiny snippits of the old Meadow came out briefly. It would have been cruel to try and hang on to her. Cruel to her and cruel to us. Nope, no bargaining for an extension on the sickly life she had. Maybe guilt could be a replacement? I have brief moments of that, like I should have done more.
Depression. Yes, that is lingering. I have moments of "why bother?" Hence this blog, sharing the things I've gotten into to keep myself going, just got to keep busy. I have a difficult time remembering the last time I washed my hair. I know my eating is off, 2 meals a day right now. I wish for Meadow and I to be together. That is not a hint at anything crazy like suicide, I just miss her so much. But if I were to look death in the face right now, I'd wouldn't be afraid, I know Meadow is there waiting for me.
As Angie said the other day, which is something I could never forget even if she did not say it, we have others that need us, and cannot neglect. The Budgies Misfit and Moonie. I am happy they have each other to keep company in my off moments. Ralphie the Newt and Ash the Frog. Not the most social buggers in the house, just feed 'em and they are good. While I may not always feed myself, the "kids" will never go hungry. Then there's Norbert. He's got such a welcoming face every morning I get up and turn on his light.
Always smiling, so it seems, and he's left me a cricket leg, reminding me I gotta eat. LoL!
Pierre and his lady, along with others, have been arriving daily once again. Usually here when I get up shortly after 7am. I'm not ready for our visits at this time of the morning, head is too cloudy, and I've got not much more on than the boxers. Handfuls of grub are tossed out to tie them over until I see them a little later on.
On top of all our animal buds, there's us. We need each other.
Our human friends need us too, as much as we need them.
As the weekend comes, Angie and I will be there for each other. We already have some afternoon plans for Saturday, a great distraction as we visit our friends at the Mountsberg Raptor Centre.
The final stage of grief is acceptance. Done that. Meadow is gone in the physical form. I know that. I accept that. But I still don't like it.
I have a long road ahead, struggling with this loss. As I said in my blog about Meadow, I lost one of the most precious things in life, something I loved more than my own life. Words that are so true.
I thank all that is around me, family, friends and acquaintances who all "get this" and are here for me... for us.
I am thankful for all the animals I share life with, the ones I cross paths with, past and present... they help me through all the rough moments and the negative times. My experiences with them help me take away the bad in my life and turn into beautiful memorable moments. Meadow gave me countless of these.