Ode To Contessa

 

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Contessa – my little one – my Missy – my Lady Cat – my gravatar partner – the one who happily, excitedly, ran to greet me each day as I left the bedroom – has died, and I cried like a baby!

It was not unexpected, but it was no less painful. A retired breeder, she was with us just over 5 years.  She was 16 years old, but many Bengals live to be 20.  She was supposed to be the wife’s cat, but she adopted me and kept me in line just like she did the dog.

A couple of years ago, she developed some sneezing, coughing and wheezing. It was feline asthma.  The vet warned that, when we lost her, it would probably be to breathing problems.  Month by month, the coughing grew more common.

About a month ago, she caught a head cold. Nose was stuffed up and runny.  From February last year, to her vet appointment this year, she dropped from 8 pounds, to seven.  Whether because she felt poorly, or just couldn’t smell her soft food, she stopped eating.  By the time we got her to the vet again, she was down to 5 pounds.

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He gave us some antibiotic, and some high-calorie food. We got the medicine in, but not the food.  When Bengals stop eating, it’s almost impossible to break the cycle.  They will starve themselves.  She spent a week in the computer room, taking the occasional sip of water.  She finally came out and collapsed on the carpet in front of the bathroom door.  The end seemed inevitable.

As I sat in the living-room, reading, I suddenly realized that she’d dragged herself downstairs and was on the floor at my feet. I like to think that she wanted to be near me at the end.  Minute by minute, her breaths became shallower.  I hoped that she would quietly, painlessly drift off.

I had called the daughter and asked what to do with her when she passed. Daughter said that, as soon as I was sure she was gone, to seal her in a plastic bag and put her in the freezer, until a decision could be made – burial with a marker in the back flower garden, or cremated, and her ashes returned?

I’d had a long, hard day with the wife in the hospital for a knee replacement. I left a plastic bag and a note for the son.  I tried to go to bed at my usual 5:00 A.M., but I couldn’t sleep, and I couldn’t leave the problem to the unsuspecting son.  Besides, if she wanted to be with me, the least I could do is be there for her at the end.

I put clothes back on and went and sat beside her, occasionally stroking her. I couldn’t read.  I couldn’t think.  I alternated between the chair, and pacing the floor, cursing Fate and the Universe, and crying.  It seemed each breath was a little shallower than the last.  At one point she raised her head to look at me.  I want to believe that she was making sure that I was still with her and was comforted.  Then she sank back down and I thought that had been her last breath.  A couple of minutes later, she shook her ears and moved her head.

Around 6:00 AM, she seemed to spasm. Her front legs didn’t work, but she used her hindquarters to scoot a couple of feet across the floor.  I was afraid that she was in distress.  I rushed upstairs to the computer.  Our vet is 15 miles away, and doesn’t open till eight, but there’s an animal hospital a mile down the road which opens at 7:30.  I could take her there as soon as the son gets home with the car, to have them end any pain.

Around 6:20, she rear-leg drove herself over into a corner, behind a scratching post. Cats want to die alone, with dignity.  She managed to flip herself over onto her chest and tummy.  She lowered her face, her mouth and nose into the carpet, and….

I lay beside her, gently touching and stroking her, and crying my eyes out. When the son got home, we bagged and froze her.  Next week, when the wife can walk, we’ll take her to our vet’s.  The price for a job-lot cremation is $25.  A single-animal cremation, with her ashes returned is $200.  The son says he’ll split the cost.  We’ve done it for the others.  Honor says that we shall do it for her.

I don’t know how such a small, little lady managed to occupy such a large part of our hearts and lives. She was definitely part of our weird family.  Like any human relative or friend, she will be sorely missed, and never forgotten.  I/we thank you, my regal little Countess.  Be at peace!

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***

I composed this post later in the morning that it happened, to help myself deal with her passing. Thank you for reading my very personal tale of loss.  I’ll be back soon with something a bit more up-beat.   🙂

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Hop To It!

grasshopper

A grasshopper walks into a bar, pulls up a stool,
and orders a beer.

The bartender pours him a tall, frothy mug and
says “You know… we have a drink named after you…”

To which the grasshopper replies, “You have a
drink named Bob?”

***

One day, after a man had his annual
physical, the doctor came out and said,
“You had a great checkup. Is there
anything that you’d like to talk about
or ask me?”

“Well,” he said, “I was thinking about
getting a vasectomy.”

“That’s a pretty big decision. Have you
talked it over with your family?”

“Yeah, and they’re in favor 15 to 2.”

***
Q.  The maker doesn’t want it; the buyer doesn’t
use it; and the user doesn’t see it. What is it?

A.  A coffin.

***

A father asked his young son if he knew about the
birds and the bees. “I don’t want to know!” the
boy exploded, bursting into tears. Confused, his
father asked the youngster what was wrong.

Oh Pop,” the boy sobbed, “for me there was no Santa
Claus at age six, no Easter bunny at age seven, no
tooth fairy at age eight and no stork at ten. And
if you’re telling me now that grownups don’t
really fuck, I’ve got nothing left to believe in!”

***

Mommy, Mommy! What’s an orgasm?
I don’t know dear, ask your father.

***

After several years of marriage, Debbie’s husband,
Mike, died suddenly. According to his wishes, Debbie had his body
cremated and placed the remains in a small urn. Several weeks later,
Debbie came home wearing a full-length mink coat and an eight-carat
diamond ring. She went into the living room, removed the urn from
the mantel and carefully tapped Mike’s ashes into a small dish on the coffee table.

“Mike, my beloved Mike,” she began, “I wish to talk to you. Mike, do you remember, for several years you promised me a mink coat? Well, here it is, Mike. Do you like it?” “And, Mike,” she continued, “Do you remember, for several years you promised me a diamond ring?  Yes?  You remember?  Here it is, Mike.  Do you like it?” “Well,” Debbie exclaimed, puffing Mike’s ashes into the air, “There’s that blow job I was promising you.”

 

April A To Z – By way of G

April Challenge

I’ve gone and got to G.  What shall I gab about?   I’ve got it!

Letter G

GUNS, GOD AND GRAVESTONES

Any of you who may feel that all three of the above are connected, haven’t been paying attention to the filing system inside my head.

Colt 1911

I don’t give a shit what the Nervous-Nellie, conservative, reactionary do-gooders claim. Guns don’t kill people! Guns don’t kill people any more than hammers build houses.  People kill people when the wrong people get ahold of guns.  I know of guns that are older than I am, and the only thing they’ve ever done is put holes in pieces of paper.

The wrong people get hold of guns when gutless Gus thinks he hears a burglar, and hides a rifle under the bed, and his 4-year-old ‘pretends’ to shoot the neighbor kid – when an armed Security Guard is too lazy to store his gun in his house, or at least in his car’s trunk, and lets his girlfriend and her 6-year-old use the car, and it slides out from under the front seat – when a lady shopper leaves a loaded, cocked pistol in her purse, next to her child in a shopping cart.

We don’t need ‘Gun Control.’ We need people control! We need  background checks, waiting periods, licensing, gun handling and storage safety training, and – instead of emotional, hand-wringing histrionics – an ongoing campaign like we have for smoking in public, or drunk driving, to get people to think, (Could happen) and take their guns, and their control of them, seriously.

OH GOD

God is!….And all the rest of you are wrong.

In the beginning, God created Man – and immediately, every Man created the God which best suited his selfish needs and mistaken beliefs.

The Muslim God is different from the Jewish God.   The Jewish God is not the same as the Christian God.  The Roman Catholic God is not the same as the God of the Greek Orthodox Church – and neither is the same as the Russian Orthodox God.

The Catholic God differs from the Protestant God, and the God of each of over 42,000 Protestant sects varies widely and wildly from the Catholics’– and from each other. In every case, at least one of them must be wrong.

‘Your God’ is a mean, vicious, vengeful, violent God, who would torture me for eternity for respecting all humans and their rights, even if some of them are gay, whereas ‘my God’ is loving, forgiving and inclusive.

The God of the insecure egotists, ‘sees every sparrow fall,’ but they fail to notice that the Bible doesn’t say anything about Him actually doing anything about it. If a greater being created the universe, It is not the God of the egotists’ dreams. It regards this little ball of rock called Earth like an ant-farm, mildly interesting at times, but not worth interfering with, no matter how much they vainly pray.

None of us have enough brains to know what an infinite ‘God’ thinks and wants, but too many of us also don’t have enough brains to keep our mouth shut, and prove our ignorance.

ENGRAVED IN STONE

I’m not going to get stoned – even though it sometimes looks like I am, when I write.

My maternal grandparents lie side-by-side in a double plot, in the old section of my home-town cemetery. Someone in the family must have had some money.  A four-foot high white marble obelisk sits on a sandstone plinth at their heads, with all biographical data professionally and artistically carved in.

Ever the prepared planner, my Mother arranged and paid for all funeral details long before she and Dad died. They (which may mean she) opted for cremation.  They purchased a single plot, and had their urns buried at each of the top corners.  There’s room for four more urns – two on the sides, and two at the bottom.

In the new cemetery section, the rule is that all gravestones must be flush with the earth, for ease of groundskeeping. They put two small sandstone slabs (about 8” square) over the urns, with only their names, and the word ‘husband’ or ‘wife’, no dates of birth or death.

Not exactly welcoming the inevitable, but like Mom, knowing that it should be planned for, I recently had a conversation with my younger brother. Since there’s room at Mom and Dad’s plot, did he plan to be cremated and buried with them?

No more religious than I am, he surprised me with a vehement refusal. No cremation for him!  He plans to be buried the old-fashioned way – embalming, body in a coffin, coffin in the ground.  He’s going to buy a single plot, and have a stone about a quarter of the surface area laid over him.

Like my Mother, I am not a believer in physical resurrection. I also want to be cremated.  The whole process, from beginning to end (actually, from my ending, to the delivery of the urn by Amazon drone) is about $2000/$2500.

I see no reason to rob my heirs of what little I can leave them, by purchasing a plot of land I don’t need, and a chunk of stone that, eventually, no-one will visit. I will be given, probably to my daughter, as a bagful of bonemeal fertilizer that she can sprinkle in her garden, and I will be resurrected as a rosebush, or a lilac tree. (Although, with my luck, I’ll come back as crabgrass.)  That’s the true ‘Circle of Life!’