I'm sad. This mess is sad. It's a sorry excuse for a memorial ceremony location. I should clean it up.
Last year at this time, I was beside myself in shock. I had all the symptoms, rapid pulse, cold skin, perspiration, tightness in the chest, and an overwhelming sense of horror.
Who knew that loving someone so much for twenty years could bring upon such intensity?
I couldn't comprehend the possibility that I would remain sane. I sure didn't feel sane. That first six months was the most difficult. I went to bed at night and all I could think about was her. Not the good times we had. No. All I could think about was her death, and the things that led up to it. I awoke in the same thought pattern day after day, night after night. I couldn't stop myself.
As clear as the moment it happened, I see her now, slipping out the door as I reach for the mail. She's plodding across the yard where her favorite plant grows... has been growing for years. Due to my recent surgery, I'm hobbling behind her. I liked to watch as she pads around her cat mint, and sniffs selectively until she finds that one perfectly formed leaf for her enjoyment. She nibbles. She lingers, waiting for my approach.
If only she hadn't.
I wasn't fast enough. The neighbor had let her dog out. He headed toward my house. I saw it coming. I tried, but couldn't run. There was no way I could have stopped it. It was instantaneous.
I heard a blood curdling scream as the dog's body slammed my little eight pound girl. It was me who screamed, but it sounded like it came from outside myself, as if the whole neighborhood had screamed. I saw her hurled away across the sidewalk.
It happened so fast.
I kept obsessively going over that in my mind, trying to re-capture that moment. It seemed she simply disappeared. Certainly she was suddenly not there.
My scream had startled the dog and his owner so much that everything shifted. For a moment the dog stood stock still and did not give her chase, but ran away. The neighbor and I had harsh words.
Since the door was still open, Keli made her way back inside before I got there. I examined her. No blood. She seemed herself. She seemed okay sitting there on her rocking chair, as usual.
It took two weeks as her life began to fade. I took her to the Vet, not relating the episode with the dog to her demise, because she was so old. It was the Vet who wrote in her chart about a mass in her adomen, the lack of bowel sounds. He asked if she'd been injured. Then, it all clicked.
It was too late to save her, he said. I could pay a thousand dollars and they would do everything they could, but he didn't feel there would be much hope at her advanced age, the fact she was dehydrated, etc. etc. I needed to let her go.
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER take your very sick pet to the vet without having a friend go with you!!! Driving home is extremely dangerous, for other drivers, as well as yourself. Several times, I had to pull over just to breathe. I was convinced I would pass out, but not within my senses enough to just stop driving entirely. Very dangerous.
Every night before I slept I re-lived the vet office visit, her looking into my eyes with such clarity that last moment. Every morning the same thing. I thought I would die from the grief.
So here I am a year later, and her resting place beside the back door is a mess with seed hulls and possum poop. Naturally, I got busy and started cleaning. I decided to go out to her favorite plant, her cat mint, dig it up and transplant it. Put it beside her. It gets such beautiful blue flowers on it.
Much to my surprise, I can't even call it surprise.
Just imagine ..... I find the location of Keli's cat mint and discover instead, a four foot circle of dead plant. All the living flowers and grasses surround that circle. But, nothing invades the space that once was the living plant my cat loved.