I made it until 9:30 tonight before I cried.
This morning I actually felt a little bit like I was alive. Work wasn't that bad-- I even managed a few genuine laughs with my guests.
The hours at work this week have been small respite, but there is a lingering sadness that I just can't mask. A tiredness around my eyes. And I found a gray hair today. Given the frequency that I colour my hair, I know that it's not grown in on it's own. I feel older.
I know it's only been four days, but I am still completely shattered. I've cried more for this cat than I have for all my lost relatives put together. He was my baby. Sure, I got the other cat first, but he and I truly belonged to each other. We were inseperable. He followed me around, having to be near me constantly, sleeping on the pillow next to my head. And sleeping next to me wasn't enough-- one paw would reach out to touch my hand or the top of my head. If, for some reason, he moved to the foot of the bed, he'd stretch one of his hind legs over my ankle.
Of course I cried the entire four hours in the vet office. I cried as I walked out, causing the full lobby of pet owners to fall completely silent. Tears rolled down the entire ride home. I cried while typing the text messages to Neil and my three closest friends to tell them what happened and to please not call me and make me talk about it. And if I thought I cried hard when I held him for the last time, I cried even harder after I shut my apartment door and I was finally alone.
I cried Sunday morning when he wasn't there to lay on the paper I was reading. I cried on the walk home from the hockey game I didn't really want to go to but did in the hopes it would offer escape. I cried when I tried to go to sleep that night and all I could see when I closed my eyes was the image of his face when I handed his body back to the vet. Or his dangling tail that I reached for and kissed (seven times, right on the tip-- just like I always did before leaving) as she turned to take him away.
On Monday I made it until I came home and heard the message from the lady at Heavenly Days concerning my wishes in regards to his ashes. I was good for a few hours after that, but then sadness hit me from out of nowhere and all I could do was curl up and let it all out.
Yesterday morning was hard. I dialed the number to the crematory twice and had to hang up each time before it started ringing. I called my mom and asked her to call for me. Last night I was restless, unfocused. I tried to read, but spent half an hour on two pages I can't recall a word of. I cried when I couldn't fool myself into thinking that he was just hiding in his favourite spot in the back of the closet on that old sweater that fell on the floor.
Today I found myself going three blocks out of my way on the walk home, every step becoming more and more leaden. This evening the nervous energy kicked in, and while my apartment is still a mess, his carrier still in the middle of the floor, I've washed every dish I own. Even the clean ones. I ironed shirts for my next five shifts. I polished the glass on my aquariums. Then I picked up my comb from where I knocked it on the floor and realized I'll never again look down while doing my hair and see him staring up at me, his fuzzy paws kneading the carpet before he jumps up and begs to have his fur combed. And I cried.
And I cried some more because I'll never again slide my cold toes under his fat, hairy belly to warm them. I'll never share the Cool Whip on my pumpkin pie with him again. I won't ever again turn around to find him licking the syrup off my waffles. I can't have kiss-fights with him anymore. I'll never hear the pigeon-like cooing noises he made while 'telling' me about his day when I come home from work. I'll never be awakened by his raspy tongue licking my eyelids when I hit the snooze alarm too many times.
I'm crying as I type this.
And I'll cry later when I'm trying to fall asleep and I reach out in my semi-consciousness to bury my fingers in thick fur that is no longer there.