Most of us know the stages of grief, especially if we’ve experienced them ourselves. But have you ever gone through the “silly” stage? That’s what I’m feeling now. It’s where all those little, seemingly inconsequential things in your relationship with the deceased suddenly become so important.
Here are some examples:
· Tonight I was taking advantage of what might, perhaps, be our last really nice day before winter sets in to wash the litterpans outside and realized a part of Bluebird was there. Yeah, I know, it sounds a little gross but she had really bad diarrhea her last couple of days and some of it was still smeared on the pans. I felt a strange sense of loss as I scrubbed it all off the pans and washed it out with the hose.
· Twice a day I line up the many pills I have to give the various cats for their varied maladies and conditions. Twice a day this past week I’ve set out Bluebird’s too, then had to put hers back in the bottles. Even though I regularly suffered skin scrapes from her teeth as I tried to pill her, I really miss those moments.
· Her bowl still sits on top of the stack of carriers waiting to be filled with her “special” food. I can’t bring myself to clean it and put it away yet. When I go to aliquot the many different types of food to everyone I feel like I’m forgetting something when I don’t fill her bowl too.
· At feeding time, after everyone has been fed I stand and watch them eating, waiting to release the troublesome ones – the ones that will steal food from the others. I wait and I wait until I start wondering what I am waiting for. Then I realize that I am used to waiting until Bluebird finishes her food. Usually she is the last to finish and she wouldn’t eat in a cage so the others are caged until she finishes. I’m going to have to get used to the idea that feeding time is shorter now.
· I look at the cases of D/D venison that I bought for her but hadn’t finished yet. I will eventually donate them to someone who can use them but for now I have to leave them where they are.
· Each night after I brush my teeth I refill the small bowl in the bathroom sink for the cats to drink out of making sure to let the water just overflow the rim. That’s the way Bluebird liked it. She drank from the overflow rather than from the water inside the bowl. I guess I don’t really have to do that anymore.
· Tonight is the first time I’ve sat at the computer without Bluebird’s bed in my lap. Maybe I can stop carrying it around with me everywhere.
· I put off picking up her ashes today because I keep thinking about them in one of those small, white, plastic containers. She deserves better than that. But I also wonder, in the existential sense, how can a life be reduced to just a small pile of ashes? How can one life so vibrant, so sweet, be gone in an instant?
What is this thing called grief? Why does it play games on us like that? Have you ever gone through this stage? If so, what “silly” things did you recognize? I’d really like to hear yo