Live and Lose even in cohousing

As you can tell, I write a lot. I’ve kept a diary since I was 13 and enjoyed writing before then. But this post is difficult for me to write.

I thought our cat, Garfield, would go to the vet, get some meds, and perk up. His sister, Boo, acted lethargic and wasn’t eating about a year ago and they gave her meds and she was fine.  Garfield was a different story.  I thought he got into my too salty turkey. Nope, he kept not acting himself or eatting. So we went back to the emergency room and then the regular vet. She prepared me for the worst – a cancer mass in his stomach. Yet, I still had hope as I brought him to get fluids and stay overnight and get blood work at the Animal Hospital again.

I was driving home, planning to write on my blog about Garfield when I got the call. Come get him. It’s bad.  Take him home to say goodbye then make decisions. Incurable cancer.  I sobbed. Got myself enough to get the boys and go back to the Animal House.

I hoped the fluids would make him our perky Garfield. No, poor cat was really hurting and just lying around. I googled it and some cats in pain, don’t want to be petted. That was him – wanting to be alone.

I fell asleep and dreamed Garfield was cold in a snowstorm.  In the morning I called the in home hospice who come and take your pet away.  Less stressful than going to the vet.  So, yesterday was tough.  I cleaned the house (a rare occurrence) since physical labor seems to help with grief.  I keep trying to postpone death or fighting it off but it always wins.  That lack of control makes doing something like cleaning seem like we may have  some say in our lives.

I know you can schedule a birth (c-section) but I never thought of scheduling a death.  I set my timer for 4 to stop and have time to prepare but the vet called and said she’d be there early. I set the timer to his death.

We went out in the deck.  I don’t call it a patio because that’s close to the word catio which I built for him and his siblings in cohousing.  Ironic I thought they’d finally be safe. They wouldn’t be outdoor cats anymore since the HOA had rules on numbers allowed outside.  But it hasn’t protected them much from the Grim Reaper.  Dulce died soon after the catio was built, and now his brother, Garfield.

This is the first death since leaving cohousing.  Dulce’s death tested my neighbors and they came through with generosity and kindness.  Other tests did’t end up as well. Yet I”m also realizing you have no control over how people act and react and my happiness is not dependent on others.  I know it’s taking awhile and I”m still shocked how they did react to something I did to try to help. I didn’t expect that reaction and would’ve done things a bit differently. Yet, the reason I acted is still there. This week I got a taste of how they felt – in denial.  I was in denial about Garfield’s death until that call.  Denial felt good. There was hope. Nothing was really that’s bad.

I realized that’s why my cohousing neighbors were so calm. There was no problem and then when I made the call that there was, there was shock and anger at me and never did deal with the issue. It just makes me sad that their denial has meant more problems, especially for new families that move in.

It’s nice when you get a chance to walk in someone else’s shoes. And now I have new neighbors who have said their condolences for our loss of Garfield. He was a sweet cat and I have a hole in my heart.

I also have been thinking of that phrase – It’s better to love and loss than never to have loved at all.  I had a friend in Italy who told me it was stupid to have pets because they will die.I thought that was odd especially coming from him since he was a bit of a Don Giovanni (Italian version of Don Juan) who didn’t mind lovers coming and going (pun intended). But I also have thought of it in terms of cohousing. Was it good to have tried and lost? It is for me since now I”m (slowly) getting the idea of utopia out of my life.  And maybe I don’t have the right temperament to deal when it’s not what I expected. I’m not good at denial except around death.  I woudl have to lower my standards and realize they are just neighbors. But I also was extremely hurt by all of them and they are in denial about that (or don’t care).  Maybe it was worth it to love and lose. Other places take that risk too – some are almost utopia and others have lots of turmoil.  I do know I don’t want a hardened heart. I’ll never give up on love and relationships and bringing more love into this world, whether it’s for a neighbor, friend, lover, family, or a cat.

Garfield’s mother decided that our backyard was a safe place for her litter and it was a gift to us to have her kittens in our lives.  Garfield and his siblings showed up unexpectedly.  Sometimes that’s the best way to get the best things in life.  He gave us pure love and we tried to give it back, even in his last moments.

About CJ

I was a Spanish teacher for 5 years in the Public School system in 3 different states. I homeschooled and taught at a democratic free school. I heard about cohousing in 2010 and wanted to move in right away. I met a group building one in 2018 and got to move in the summer of 2019. It only took a year to want out.
This entry was posted in death and mourning, grief and grieving, pets in cohousing. Bookmark the permalink.

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