by Pierre le Roux
This weekend was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for us and not in a fun way. It was an emotional roller coaster in the sense that it made me feel nauseous, anxious, inconsolable, had me weeping like an emotionally disturb child and also made me feel blissful and optimistic. And no, I was not on drugs or experiencing some adverse reaction from my prescription medication. You see this weekend we had our baby shower and on the eve of this very special day our cat died. The death of our beloved cat was a very traumatic experience and caused both hubby and I to have a serious of emotional clusterfucks, the timing of which could not have been anymore inconvenient.
Our baby shower’s planning started in November last year already. So as you can imagine a lot of work went into it and there were quite a few helpers. Hubby’s best friend from work decided to captain this ship and as one can expect from her she did a stellar job. By Friday afternoon all was organized and all the preparations were completed. So by Friday evening we were satisfied that the baby shower would go off without a hitch because all the i’s were dotted and all the t’s were crossed. Unfortunately, as things go in my life, nothing is ever simple. I have always said optimism has never served me well and this was no different.
On Friday evening hubby went to bed at around 9:30pm to get his beauty sleep for the next day and I stayed up watching television. I have always been a night owl. At around 10pm I heard a commotion coming from my study area. In the study area is a large multi-leveled scratching post where our cats like to sleep. As I rushed towards where the sounds were coming from I was horrified by what I discovered. On the floor was our oldest cat surrounded by our other four cats and she was having convulsions. She was dying. Instinctively I rushed to our bedroom to wake up hubby and in a very distressed and high pitched voice I screamed “Mizou is dying! YOU HAVE TO WAKE UP!” This is not the best way to be roused from your slumber.
I woke up my husband because I knew he would want to be there for her during her last moments. As we got to her I picked her up and placed her on my lap. She was still having convulsions, sounded like she was chocking and her tongue was turning blue. She fought off death for what felt like an eternity but was in fact only a few minutes. At 10:10pm she died. Her death was sudden and completely unexpected. As the stroke hit, she fell off the scratching post defecating on her way down. Both hubby and I cried while her limp body lay on my lap. She looked at peace but it was very hard to come to terms with what just happened. Mizou had been with us for sixteen years and it was hard imagining our life without her.
We sat with her crying for a while. She went blind a couple of months ago and both of us were very impressed with how well she coped with her disability. At the time the vet did tell me that she was a prime candidate for a stroke as she had suffered from glaucoma, high blood pressure, was old and had weekend veins. I guess I wanted to believe that she would live forever. But she died. At least we were all there comforting her in her final moments. After a while hubby brought a blanket for us to rap her in. I gently place her limp body in the middle of the blanket and arranged her to look as if she was only sleeping.
The morning of our baby shower people arrived early to start preparing the house. I woke up that morning hoping that the tragedy of the night before was just a bad dream. But it wasn’t. The baby shower was supposed to be a happy occasion for both hubby and I but we were both heartbroken. After I got dressed I excused myself and took Mizou’s remains to our vet to be cremated. It was a very surreal experience standing there holding Mizou’s now stiffened body in a blanket waiting to be helped. People in the reception area immediately knew, just by looking at me, what I was there for and it made everybody very uncomfortable. For once I was the white elephant in the room nobody wanted to acknowledge or talk too. I totally understood why.
After some red tape the vet’s technician came and collected Mizou’s body. When he brought back the blanket we had raped her in I had to fight very hard to hold back the tears. I was told that I will get back her ashes on Friday which I know will be a tough day for all of us. As I returned home I tried to put a smile on my face. It made me feel fake and disrespectful. It also made me feel terribly guilty. I asked myself how can I allow myself to be happy after what had happened. But there was no way of postponing our baby shower at this very late stage and like Queen said “The show must go on.”
During the baby shower I tried to forget about Mizou’s death and tried terribly hard to just be in the moment. At times I succeeded but mostly I was constantly on the verge of a panic attack or near tears. I suspect this may have ruined almost all our baby shower photos. I just knew that if I didn’t control my emotions I would do the ugly cry with snot and horrible crying noises; not exactly appropriate baby shower behavior. I am not sure how I made it through the baby shower but I did. It was only the next day when I fully appreciated the fact that we are going to have a baby and when it finally sank in and brought joy to my broken heart.
My mother-in-law and sister-in-law came by our house to see what we got for our baby shower. We are having a family only baby shower after we get our child and they wanted to know what we may still need. As we went through all our gifts I forgot about our loss and got very excited for the new life that we will be welcoming into our lives. Hopefully it will happen soon. It was also then when I had an epiphany: Maybe Mizou passed away to create a space for a new life that is arriving. We had to say goodbye to a very precious soul who we loved dearly to make room for another. This filled my heart with peace, joy, love and hope. This has been a weekend of tears and joy. Hopefully the next time I cry it will be tears of joy.
Till next time.