I had this funny little quip all prepared about nicknames and how they come to be, and how I got my many monikers, but it flew out the car window as soon as I pulled into the parking lot at the vet.
To be honest I haven’t felt like writing over the past three days. I’ve posted the nickname blog to the Blogger editor only to have it sit there, all written and nicely capitalized where it should be and I haven’t pressed the publish button. The tears have something to do with it.
It’s my life post-Bella, my soccer-ball head of a cat that has seen me through the good and bad, my first apartment on my own, my first marriage and first house and onward. Until Tuesday.
I wrote about her a while back. She wasn’t well. She was diagnosed with “borderline” diabetes. We changed her diet and considered insulin, but she continued to go downhill, drinking copious amounts of water and missing the litter box for both the liquids and the solids. She also soiled herself on many occasions and over the past three weeks, she decided that she didn’t feel like eating either. Her fur was no longer brilliantly white and soft. Her little lamb-like legs were covered in feces. I did wash her constantly, but she constantly ended up back in the same state. She was no longer the Bella I knew. I still loved her but she wasn’t herself and hadn’t been for a long while.
Nothing prepared me for Tuesday. I was stoic, or so I thought. I was emotionally attached but able to handle anything. Until she was gone, her pink tongue sticking out mid-lick. Oh, how I cried. I’m still crying, and I’m still walking by the basement door and touching it, believing her to be on the other side in her usual sleeping position on the top stair, or on one of the heat registers in the kitchen. She was a heat hog.
Yesterday morning was my worst. Just one day before she was yelling at me from the kitchen to shake a leg and fill up her dish. Even though she wasn’t eating a lot, she still loved the ritual of rubbing against my leg, mewing at me to hurry up. It was our routine and now it’s gone.
My life post-Bella will be different. I won’t tell you how she felt in my arms seconds after she fell asleep. I won’t tell you about walking out of the vet unable to breathe. I’m sure you can already imagine that. I will tell you what I will miss (not in this order):
- Bella wrapping herself around my legs and tripping me down the stairs. I didn’t appreciate it then but I miss it now (even the concussions).
- Headbutts. The girl could give the best headbutts (yes, concussions again!)
- Giving static electric shocks to each other each and every winter for 15 years.
- Her cries from behind the basement door after climbing into the ceiling and sliding down the cold air return and dropping herself into the crawlspace/storage area in my parents’ old house.
- Belly rub flops.
- Kneading (and being needed).
- Never having alone time in the bathroom. Between Bella and Kao, I never get any peace.
- Trying to train her to sit and wait for her dinner (and no accidents on the stairs). It was a test of wills. She won.
- Her very loud purr that sounded more like a pigeon than a cat. The girl actually cooed.
- Kissing the top of her head every morning and night.
A lot of people can’t understand why I’m still sad. A part of me wants to lash out at them, to beat them upside the head, take a bat to their knees. A smaller part feels sorry for them because they can’t understand that she was there for me when many people were not, and that makes her my family.
My heart post-Bella is heavy but grateful.