Writing is how I grieve.

When all else fails, writing is the only way I can grieve.

On August 25th, I lost a family member. To others she might be nothing more than a cat. To me, Jenny was my child. Not someone who amplified my maternal instincts but someone who had an identity. She came to me with our eyes locked, and she left me with our eyes locked. She would always look to me for reassurance if she was afraid. When she wanted breakfast, she would wake me by shoving her foot up my nose. She was appreciative of flowers, and would stuff her face in them. She had this bizarre thread radar. We could never leave thread around, or she would eat it in mass quantities. To greet me, she would rub her forehead on my fist. I took many photographs of her during my art studies years ago, all of which my professor praised. Jenny was loved by us, but more importantly, by my friends, and anyone else who met her. On Sunday, the veterinarian almost cried for her. Jenny is very captivating.

We wrapped her in one of my baby blankets, and I held her the entire drive to the clinic. She spent most of that time staring at me. Our neighbor had given us a flower to give to her, which she happily smelled. My mother gave her a dream-catcher, for sweet dreams. The veterinarian was very gentle and kind. After she died, I sat in my best friend’s car and howled. In almost fourteen years, Christina has never seen me shed so much as a tear. She did not come into the clinic with us, but I promised her that I would never ask something like this of her again.

I am not upset for Jenny. She is safe. I was not going to let failing kidneys destroy her body, any more than they already had. It must be understood that nature is beautiful, and death is a part of nature. Think about that. The obvious conclusion is that death is beautiful, but that is so hard for many people to realize and say confidently. On a psychological level, we as humans fear death because we are self-aware. We cannot easily accept the idea of no longer existing. I have watched Jenny examine herself in mirrors. She comforted herself with food whenever she was upset, not due to hunger or sustenance but because things were not going the way she wanted them to. As aware of herself as she was, she knew she was going to die, long before we brought her to the veterinary clinic. She accepted this, because unlike humans, she understands that this is what nature intended.

I’m not trying to teach anyone anything or proclaim that people could learn a thing or two from a precious animal who has more sense than most humans. I want people to understand that this was easy for Jenny, but it was hard as hell for me. It is only going to get harder.

Normally I am very good at holding it together on my own. I’ve done that most of my life because it is what I had to do. I love my best friend, but I have asked enough of her. There is a friend of mine, who understands this feeling on Jenny’s side, and my side. I cannot get to that person because of the reasons behind why he understands. I am fragile and I am not safe. Some of the other people I know care about that. A lot of them don’t.

I didn’t figure all of this out in less than five days. These are things I have known most of my life. I want to remind my friend, based on how I feel now and conversations that we had last year, that the emotions are normal. You are loved by me unconditionally the same way that I love Jenny, for who you are. Both of you captivate me because you are works of art.

I did not write this because I felt like it. Writing is art. This was in my head, and I have to write it.

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