Tag: Grieving husband

Aka Beowulf

Beowulf the Cat

My cat Bella had a traumatic day at the vets on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve — poked and prodded, ear drops, rabies shot, a needle the size of a harpoon plunged into her backside, but she did not utter a cry or bat an eye. To paraphrase Seamus Heaney in line 11 of his translation of Beowulf, referring to the Danish warrior Shield Sheafson, That was one good cat.*

Bella was brave, as my Susan was brave in those last days in Intensive Care. So, on this New Year’s Eve, as firecrackers exploded outside, I had this crazy 80-proof idea that Bella is now Susan or Susan is now Bella, not sure which way it goes, but she, Bella/Susan is all I have left in this lowly bungalow on County Road 9 and so she becomes my life—(obviously an over-exaggerated and melodramatic way to put it, but prithee, dear reader, permit me)—as Susan was for thirty years, and since Susan has been gone, a year now, an endless gods-torture of loss, I hang onto Bella/Susan with a crazy kind of madness and hope.

She is one good cat. Henceforth, despite the gender difference, she is now my Beowulf.

AND BELLA

* Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf begins thusly:
So. The Spear-Danes in days gone by
and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness. W
e have heard of those princes’ heroic campaigns.
There was Shield Sheafson, scourge of many tribes,
a wrecker of mead-benches, rampaging among foes. This terror of the hall-troops had come far.
A foundling to start with, he would flourish later on
as his powers waxed and his worth was proved.
In the end each clan on the outlying coasts
beyond the whale-road had to yield to him and begin to pay tribute. That was one good king.

…….

Anniversary

Anniversary of death looms like doomsday

How do you get through the first anniversary of the death of your wife, your life companion, your soulmate?

You can’t be with friends who knew her, and celebrate her life together because none of them lives anywhere near you.

So, since you’ll be alone, do you tough it out and re-live the good times in your mind and get good and drunk in the process?

Do you try and ignore it and pretend it’s just another day in the 364 days of sorrow and loneliness that preceded it?

Or do you decide to handle it with poetic tragedy and on the day of her death fire a bullet into your brain?

The day looms in your mind as a personal doomsday that could “turn” either way.

I say “turn” because “anniversary” is from the Latin words annus for year and versus, past particle of vertere meaning “to turn.”

Drawing from another etymological tidbit, the Old English word for anniversary is mynddæg, which means “mind-day.”

Which brings one back to dealing with the day by reliving the good times in your mind, drinking to her memory and so forth. That would clearly be a “mind-day.”

Trying to ignore the day just wouldn’t work. So it seems the two choices are to end the loss and the sorrow once and for all, or to get out the Jack Daniels and deal with the loss and the sorrow by making it a mind-day.

I say let’s be a gentleman about this.

First anniversary of wife’s death

 

The Cat God turns into the Cat Devil

This is what happens when a grieving husband runs out of Xanax:

I screamed at the cat tonight. For the third night in a row, she knocked down the pictures of my wife I keep on the mantel in the living room (now known as the dead room—yet I continue to inhabit it).

I went crazy. I would never hurt the cat — her name is Bella, who I got for my wife Susan when her illness became a lethal presence in our home — or any animal for that matter. But, nonetheless, tonight I yelled and screamed at her like a madman. 

Since Susan’s death last Christmas, Bella is all I have, and I’m all she has. She thinks I am (and I say this as humbly as I can) the Cat God.

But when I yelled at her tonight I told her I was the Cat Devil and that I had killed the Cat God and taken over the house and I howled like a crazy Cat Devil, and Bella — who had assumed a half-hidden supine position on top of the bookcase — looked at me with detached curiosity and I told her, in my Boris Karloff voice, “You think I’m mad, don’t you?”

She just kept looking at me with the feline equivalent of ‘arched eyebrows’ as I continued my mad speech: “Well, let me tell you, I’m glad I’m mad! I’m glad I’ve gone mad, because I prefer insanity over the reality of living without Susan — the Cat Mama to you.”

Whereupon Bella jumped down from the bookcase and trotted over to my armchair and looked at me with a look that said: “I understand. I miss her too.”