The large piece of black sushi from the header graphic above is a stylised caricature of our sweet cat, Seven.
He had gone skinny for a brief bit, so we were feeding him more. We always said that his heart was where his brain should be, so we’d kind of assumed he’d just forgotten to eat for a while. He always liked it outside in the Cat Run more than the other two, so we figured he might have stayed out there so long he missed feedings. He would often come in after a rainstorm, soaked through. He was not smart.
And he was eating, lots. Feeding him separate was working, we thought. Then he just crashed. A cat that never let anyone pick him up was suddenly falling over and quite cuddly when scooped up. I made an emergency appointment and Wifeage loved on him on our way out, but stayed home with our smallest while I had our middle kid with me. We kind of knew. When we parted, that is. We kind of knew.
He was in end-stage organ failure. All the numbers were very bad. I had to take the doctor aside to level with her and force her to level with me. I told her that despite our poverty, money wasn’t an issue. I’d sell the car, a kidney, drugs, my body. Money wasn’t going to be what factored in a decision for our beautiful boy’s life. She hemmed and hawed in the way that doctors are supposed to do. They can’t sway you in your decisions, it’s like, a part of their oath or some bullshit.
But when I asked for chances, even IF it could be fought and we were willing to put him through that sort of treatment. This sweet, stupid, lovely, semi-feral boy, being held down and tubed and blooded and caged for days. If we DO this, what chances might he have?
She frowned. Said, “I haven’t seen it, in all my years.”
At first I scoffed, because she looked barely older than the 14-yo I’d left in the waiting area with our sweet boy. Then I realised that she was probably doing this when she was 14, and probably had plenty of years. Enough to warrant that reaction. She gains nothing from suggesting to me that he’d be better off being slept out.
It was straightforward and the constant communication Wifeage and I were having had no doubts involved. I held him, for a long time, and he purred smoothly and nuzzled into my chest. This gorgeous idiot that was so feral when we first fostered him that he’d panic run from any room I entered. It was 6 months before I got to even pet him, yet here he was having the best Dad Loves of his life on my chest.
He barely flinched when he got his final shot, and he had the best nap of his life in my arms. Then he was gone.
Now I’m told via emails from my mother, that my brother has end-stage liver failure. She’s got a Master’s in Nursing but I still don’t really understand what she’s saying. To me it sounds like, “His alcoholism finally caught up to him.”
My father, the doctor, hasn’t replied to my emails. It’s my own damn fault, ultimately. I trained them all that email was best for me and I hated phone calls and that it was okay for us to go a couple of months without contact sometimes. Now my phone is silent and I’m not sure I wanted that.
But then again, it’s standard for me to hear about a death with an email from my mother that simply has that person’s name as the subject, usually weeks after the event so I have little to no time to be a part of anything. This can be particularly troublesome when she sends me an email subject name of some young and healthy person who has recently proposed to their true love. Because when I go to open it, I think they’re dead, only to find them blissfully happy. So name in the subject line doesn’t always mean dead? Got it. Sort of.
My father is famous for telling me that my grandmother died by responding to a question about another event that he might not make it because he was still in California for his mother’s funeral. That she was my Grammy and I might’ve liked to be told she’d died was lost on him. I don’t expect he’s considered I would want to hear about my brother now. He’d probably tell me afterward, I think. No guarantees though.
So I’m not new to any of this, but I sure as fuck don’t like it.
I didn’t like what happened with Seven, either. But at least everybody involved knew what was up. It was hard, there were explosions of tears, there were sentences that were incredibly difficult to finish. But I’d so much rather it that way than this. This feeling that I’m forgotten. Not important enough to keep involved. While my only brother lays dying.
I don’t like this at all.
And what’s to come doesn’t promise to be any better.