The Worst Fucking Summer

I cannot wait for this summer to be over. It sucks so hard.

Named for the body shape. And the pinto-like coloration.

First it was Bean, way back in March. Never really talked about Bean here on the ‘crawl. Buns were really more The BUG’s thing and they tended to live down in the basement anyway, so we didn’t interact as much as we did with the cats. But Bean was cool. She was small and feisty and didn’t take shit from anyone. She would sneak upstairs when we were in bed and feast on cat litter fresh from the box (not as disgusting as it sounds; our cat litter is wheat-based). She would glare at me, side-eyed and defiant, when I approached to shoo her out of the box; she would wait until the last minute before hopping back into the kitchen and down the stairs, giving me one of those patented bun “fuck you” thumps with her hind legs before disappearing.

Fuck you!

Back when we first got her, I was the one responsible for delivering her meds after we got her fixed. She hated those meds. She would watch me coming from across the room, holding her ground until I was in range, and then— whap-whap—just punch the syringe right out of my hand with those spring-loaded forepaws of hers. (I’d never really thought of where the term “rabbit punch” came from before. I would not want to go one-on-one with one of those things in the ring.) She was small and fierce and unafraid.

It’s fitting. She was a caffeinated little thing in her own right.

She died in March. Something shut down in her GI tract, and all the drugs and Critical Care we stuffed into couldn’t start it up again.

*

Then it was BOG, in June: beloved companion for over a decade, victim of an unsuspected brain tumor. I told you about BOG just last post; there’s nothing more I can say about him here.

*

Hand provided for scale.
The BUG photobombs the Spud’s photo shoot.

Then it was Potato, a geriatric rabbit we’d inherited only a few weeks after Bean died: one-eyed thanks to a dog attack in early life, wracked by intermittent and undiagnosed seizures for his first two years, a prey animal with enough baggage to justify a life spent hiding in corners and jumping at shadows—and yet he was the most fearless, friendly, in-your-face lagomorph you could ever hope to meet. Forced into exile by an allergy issue amongst his previous humans, he showed not a moment’s trepidation when introduced into the Magic Bungalow. It was a new adventure, and we were his new friends, and he would bound across any room we entered to greet us. We were a little worried that Doofus would try to eat him (and Doofus did, for one scary moment, close his jaws around Potato’s neck—but his eyes were on us the whole time. He was making a point. And he let Potato go, unharmed, when he decided the point had been made. Potato was amazingly chill throughout. He may not even have noticed.)

There was also the time when the Li’l Spud tried to hump BOG (humping’s a dominance behavior in rabbits), which made us cringe a little for BOG even when he did manage to get out from under.

Potato bounded across the room to greet us whenever we entered. He zoomed around our ankles. He leapt to the roof of his hutch and stood up on his hind legs to beg for treats. He ate like a black hole in the four months before he started going downhill.

Fearless. Maybe just really dumb.

That was what tipped us off; he stopped eating his hay, then his greens, then his kibble. We took him to the vet, started him on oral antibiotics and eye drops (his dead eye, quiet this whole time, had started acting up). Started feeding him Critical Care through a giant syringe. Even then, he was irrepressible; where every other rabbit we’ve known had to be force-fed when sick, Potato sucked back the stuff like it was crack. He couldn’t get enough.

But when he stopped coveting even the Critical Care we took him in again, squeezing him between two other appointments at a vet who was already fully booked. His core temperature was so low, the vet said, that he should by rights be dead already. There was nothing they could do but keep him comfortable and sedated until he actually was. He’d lived for over nine years, they reminded us. That’s old, for a rabbit. We should celebrate his long life, not mourn his inevitable death.

We did both. Potato died on August 2nd.

And now—just yesterday—Nutmeg. Meggles, aka The ‘Gles. The Junior Emissary from Moo.

This summer, it just doesn’t fucking stop.

*

I underestimated Nutmeg, at first. Didn’t give her the credit she deserved. I admit it.

Only partially eclipsed.

She was one of only two cats in the Magic Bungalow back then, before it was even called that, when Caitlin and I had just started dating. Minion took one look at me and decided she hated my guts: hissed and glared and left the room. She was clearly the one I had to win over, the hard case to prove to the BUG that I was Worthy. Nutmeg? She climbed into my lap and started purring the moment I sat down. She was a furry little slut, she loved everyone. No standards at all. She came pre-won and taken for granted, lost in Minion’s antagonistic shadow.

I mean, seriously. No standards at all.

She continued to love everyone as I embarked on my months-long quest to get Minion to not hate me. We had to warn visitors: better make sure your bladder’s empty before you sit down in the Bungalow, because once The ‘Gles climbs into your lap she ain’t leaving. Long before we’d met our neighbors across the street she had already made first contact, sitting appraisingly to one side as they built their boxy ecofriendly homes from the ground up (those neighbors, we learned later, dubbed her “Supervisor Kitty”). She loved half’n’half. Her furry little brain put together the twin inputs smell-of-coffee and biggest can-opener walks into kitchen and integrated them into the output Follow Big Can Opener and Yell Until Served. And she always got served. She drank more of that stuff than I did.

Shoulder Cat.
Excuse me. Have you perhaps forgotten something…?

Every night, as we settled into bed for our evening’s entertainment, Nutmeg would choose one or the other of us (she was carefully egalitarian) and settle down on our chests to watch with us. Every morning she would appear and climb up our bodies and rest upon our shoulders, just a few minutes before the alarm rang. She had learned about House Rules, you see: when a cat chooses to settle upon you, you cannot forcibly displace or remove her. You can only lure her off (to which end we’d preemptively stashed little caches of cat treats at strategic, within-reach locations throughout the house). Meggles exploited this by becoming Shoulder Cat every morning; the only way we were going to get up was if we bribed her. Naturally, the other cats noticed what was going on, and were not going to let it pass. Thus the venerable morning ritual of treating every damn feline in the place at 7:15 each morning.

*

Space Cat.

Three years ago her eyeball exploded. We thought we’d lost her then.

In chonkier days.

She came around the corner, screaming: her left eye a featureless red-black ball, something out of an exorcist movie. We rushed her to the usual 24-hour emergency clinic and learned that Nutmeg had hypertension, blood pressure so high that the vessels had begun literally bursting inside her. This particular rupture had not only flooded the eyeball with blood, but had torn the iris itself into a strange and alien shape. For months afterward Nutmeg was in the care of a Cat Ophthalmologist (nice to discover such things even exist); she’d be on blood pressure meds for the rest of her life.

Not ready for her closeup.

She also had thyroid issues, so she was on meds for those too. But the thyroid meds made her hypertension worse; and her hypertension meds complicated the thyroid issues. Her whole continued existence was a tightrope act.

She walked it well enough, until the kidney disease. She hovered around that threshold for a couple of years: Stage 1 symptoms showing up in the blood work from one check-up and then No, wait, back to normal the next. But kidney disease is a patient and implacable fucker; two thirds of all cats come down with it by the age of fifteen. Older than that, the percentage goes up to 81%. Meggles was no BOG, and she was sixteen years old. When the disease finally hit her, it hit hard.

Meta Meggles.

She went deaf almost overnight; it was The BUG, typically, who first noticed. She stopped spending the nights with us and started yelling to be let outside at 5a.m.— withdrawing from Human company, taking refuge in the morning cool of the front porch. That phase lasted only a week or two; then she retreated downstairs and curled up in messy chaos of Stella’s bedroom (abandoned, now, as The ‘Cro had left for Waterloo). She stayed nearby—unlike Minion before her, she never fled into the ravine where we feared we might lose her forever—but the cat who loved everyone, who sought out laps familiar or strange, who conversed nonstop with all and sundry, was vanishing before our eyes. The being who replaced her just wanted to be left alone.

Her weight dropped off a cliff. We gave her fluids sub-Q—once a week, then twice—and that worked until it didn’t. She grew increasingly anorexic. The food-obsessed cat who’d always striven for chonkhood melted down to fur and bones. I quailed at the thought of picking her up for fear that I might hurt her, break her even. I marveled that anything so skeletal would be able to hop up and down from her chair in the basement—travel up and down the stairs, even—with so little muscle mass to move it.

Fatman, on this very blog, said a magic word—Mirtazapine!—and I asked our vet and she said Yeah, we can put her on that. (And why the fuck didn’t you mention that when she was first diagnosed? I raged—but not out loud, because she’s been such a good vet all these many years.) So we gave her mirtazapine, and we gave her antacids, and antinausea and antivomiting drugs to help keep it all down (alongside the thyroid and blood pressure meds we’d been giving her for three years). And I deluded myself into feeling the faintest hope whenever this zombie thing licked a few grams of food on her way to the water dish (she drank constantly now), instead of taking a sniff and recoiling.

The BUG was not fooled. Meggles wasn’t even interested in half’n’half any more. Caitlin had known her longer than I had, loved her more deeply. Somehow that manifested in a greater willingness to kill the little creature. I resisted; when we took our laptops downstairs to work at Nutmeg’s side, she would still talk to us. She could still hop up and down, she could still get around. She was still in there. And after all, she’d only been on the mirtazapine for three days. Maybe it hadn’t kicked in yet. Maybe she could still pack on some weight, maybe her quality of life might yet improve, maybe—

Maybe she could recover from this disease that no cat has ever recovered from. Right.

There’s this hospice/palliative veterinary outfit that comes to your home so your pet doesn’t have to die in some loud white place that reeks of disinfectant. The lady that drove up in her portable deathmobile was very sweet, shared some bromide about it being better to do this a day too early than a day too late. I don’t think my wife and I see eye to eye on this. To Caitlin, a day too early is a day of suffering and torment avoided: a mercy. To me, it’s a day in which a being who can still purr, and talk, and respond to scritches won’t be able to do any of those things because it has stopped existing. I’ve never been able to balance that equation: how much pain and suffering does one have to allow before deciding, for another being, that death is the better alternative? How awful does life have to get before nonexistence is more humane? And how the fuck are we supposed to know how much of it another being is feeling, when they can’t tell us?

Caitlin is wiser than I in this. She is stronger. She’s lost loved ones to slow agonizing deaths like this, and those beings could talk. They could tell her what they were going through. Such painful insights were never forced on me. Yes, virtually my whole family has died; I even grieved some of them. But my stomach never clenched at the loss of a human life the way Caitlin’s has. The only time I’ve felt such loss in a way that really hurts is when it comes to these small companions.

Maybe that makes me emotionally stunted in some way. Maybe I’m the purest kind of misanthrope (it’s hard not to be, these days). Or maybe it’s just the mundane, boring fact that the loss we feel never scales to some empirical metric of the value of lives lost; it scales, instead, to how large those lives figured in our own. There are humans that loom very large in my life; I’ve just been extremely fortunate that none of them have died yet. May my luck continue to hold (just last week, in fact, I wrote an anniversary poem to The BUG asking her not to die before I do. I’m kind of a romantic that way.)

*

There’s not much else to say. Nutmeg was no great genius, no survivor of great hardship. She didn’t spend half her life living rough. We don’t know what happened the first year of her life—her previous family surrendered her for unknown reasons—but given what a fearless and friendly chatterbox she was right out of the gate, it’s unlikely she was abused.

She was just a wonderful, big-hearted cat who loved laps and food and who never did a mean thing to anyone.

Nutmeg’s burial shroud. It is traditional, here, to wrap each fallen cat in a Jethro Tull t-shirt. This is my last one.

I used to have to grab the remote control for our sound bar the moment the alarm went off, lest Nutmeg pin me down and keep me from getting it in time to turn on the news. Now, I have all the time in the world. No small thing yells demandingly at the big thing holding the milk carton; the morning treat ritual is a perfunctory and impoverished affair among the survivors. The Magic Bungalow has grown colder over the past few months, its nonhuman population reduced to three cats and three fish (and one itinerant bearded dragon, depending on whether The ‘Cro happens to be back from university). It has never been so empty in all the time I’ve lived here. It used to be some kind of magic architectural being in its own right, with a heart in every room; now, half of those hearts have been torn out. Sometimes, the place seems almost haunted.

Those of us who remain have no known medical issues, beyond a certain chonkiness on Blubbery Panda’s part. The surviving cats are three and ten and thirteen; Doofus will probably outlive me, if he doesn’t get shmucked by a car. This will be a relief to those of you who come here for the crunchy skiffy speculation, only to be walloped with a barrage of Pet Death. The skiffy stuff may still be a while in coming (I have deadlines to meet, and trips to plan: any of you gonna be in Bulgaria next month? Spain in November?), but the summer is nearly over.

So, hopefully, is the body count.



This entry was posted on Thursday, August 24th, 2023 at 8:08 am and is filed under eulogy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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LostHisMarbles
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LostHisMarbles
6 months ago

What i think;
You guys all look happy and fulfilled in the photos you post online.. i’m not sure if you need a reminder of how fucking rare that is? My man, you hit the jackpot a long, long time ago and been caching it in ever since. Statistically some real wild shit right there. Never, ever forget that.
Additionally, you have what appears to be a decent household (looks so cosy!), with more than decent an exterior.. that’s getting harder and harder to come by (just look outside Canada/US and get back to me if you think you’re average).
Lastly, you have not only found your true calling (scaring the natives with “porno drivel”, loved that one..), but have additionally found quite a few of us morans actually paying for the outcome of said calling.

I feel you, i really do. But!
/Eric Idle
Aaaalways look on the briiight side of life 🙂

Next post needs focus on something positive or funny. Must be something that regresses you back to 15yrs old, right? Go whacky on the writing and spread some smiles yeah?
My sincere best.
(virtual support hugs cost. I have a catalogue if you’re interested though. Paypal only)

Vincent
Guest
Vincent
6 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

All the best.

But absolutely, time for a change in tone.

This is who you are. This is why we love you and follow you. I do not know about the others, but I appreciate your reaching out. I hope it’s a while until I have to apply these impressions into my own life.

LostHisMarbles
Guest
LostHisMarbles
6 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

They do and they’re getting it i think, wording helps 🙂
Incidentally, met a few guys in my life that were -blessedly- a bit ‘off’ the trodden track. But not a one had a wabbit nested in his inner pocket, no sir, lol.
Cool pic that one ^^

Tipo deIncognito
Guest
6 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Oh man, I’m so sorry.

And I have to skip these posts halfway, I often think I’d rather sacrifice a million humans than losing a so-called-pet. But you don’t owe us a change of tone. Write and do whatever helps you.

Take care.

Lektu
Guest
Lektu
6 months ago

I’m really sorry.

“I’ve never been able to balance that equation: how much pain and suffering does one have to allow before deciding, for another being, that death is the better alternative?”

I’ve been there five times in the past two years. I would very much like to have an answer to that question that wouldn’t break my soul whatever I choose.

John Farris
Guest
John Farris
6 months ago

Sorry for your losses, Wattses. I’m on Team BUG’s side of this issue, as I’ve watched others milk the last gasps of life out of their almost-undead companions. The coulda-woulda-shouldas haunted my steps for a year and a half after putting down our last feline, until I brought a kitten back into the house, to make it a home, again. Peace to your family, PW.

BAMK
Guest
BAMK
6 months ago

I don’t know if you need to hear this from a stranger on the internet, but reading these eulogies, I’ve always gotten the feeling you’ve always given them all you’ve got. Don’t feel bad that you did what you had to do, and cherish the memories that you have.

Sorry for your loss Peter.

Hugh Fisher
Guest
Hugh Fisher
6 months ago

I won’t say that the “barrage of Pet Death” is enjoyable to read, but I’m not thinking “Hey Watts STFU about your pets and get back to the books” either. The number of regular commentators is small enough that I think of this as a community of sorts, small enough that you’re writing to us, not just broadcasting. And in turn a response might actually mean something to you, not just be the 5342nd person to type “my condolences”. 100 or 200 years ago writers had circles of correspondents which who they wrote about anything and everything, this is the 21st C version.

Antonio
Guest
6 months ago

I’m sorry for your losses. Compared to the brief final moment, you gave them a good and complete life full of care.

The entry was moving, full of scare insights about grief and clinging to the lives of our dearest friends. It will resonate with anyone who isn’t virtually psychopathic and possesses some empathy (I tend to think that most of us who frequent the blog and delve into your books can feel that, but hey, I could be wrong).

Summer is already over. Keep it up.

Regarding your last paragraph, please share more details when the time comes. I live in Spain and it will be an absolute banger attend one of your presentations/book signings.

Wishing you a restful weekend ahead.

Leo Sutic
Guest
Leo Sutic
6 months ago

Sorry for your losses. It must be excruciating.

werewolf
Guest
6 months ago

Sorry for your losses, Peter Watts..

Fucking 2023, fucking August..

On August 15, he himself lost his best furry friend, a young Bengal cat named Simon.Heart attack(

It hurts unbearably. So it turns out that animals become much closer than humans..

Cat Simon on the moon. In memory of my cat Simon..

Cat_Simon_Moon_02.jpg
werewolf
Guest
6 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Yes..

Cat_Simon_Moon_01_small.jpg
werewolf
Guest
6 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Cat_Simon_Moon_03_small.jpg
Andy
Guest
Andy
6 months ago

The term “rabbit punch” actually stems from something else entirely, but I don’t think it’s either the time or the place to indulge my inner language trivia nerd on that particular subject. My condolences.

Andy
Guest
Andy
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Honestly, it seems kinda in bad taste to write it because “rabbit punch” is how you’d kill a caught rabbit – you whack the poor critter on the back of the head and sever its spinal cord. Hence “rabbit punch,” though it ain’t exactly fun when you’re not a rabbit either.

Lament
Guest
Lament
6 months ago

When you open your heart – less metaphorically, a chunk of your neural capacity – to anything more ephemeral than yourself, then the universe will eventually reach in and snatch it away, and leave a bleeding void.

Yet you have opened your heart. Time and time again.

And that is how you show whatever may be watching that your like should not be underestimated.

Gary James Flood
Guest
Gary James Flood
6 months ago

You ever thought about writing for a living? Think you might be not half-bad at it. All I’m going to say is that when a similar time comes for me, I’ll be thinking about these posts as a way to cope. Thanks for that–sincerley.

Omer
Guest
Omer
6 months ago

I’m sorry for your loss. Really shitty to lose so many in such short time. Take care.

Phil
Guest
Phil
6 months ago

Sorry for your loss (again). We lost one of our cats two summers ago to kidney failure, and I still wonder if I should have let him die at home. We took Max to a clinic in the morning, a vet phoned after a few hours to let us know the situation was terminal, and then a few hours later they brought him to the lawn out back, and put him down. We had not been allowed in the building because of Covid, so we basically dropped him off into this strange, sterile environment as he was dying, then saw him for a literal minute while the vet (a decent guy) plugged the syringe into a needle that was already in his leg. The cat looked away from me when the vet pushed the plunger. I don’t know what Max was thinking. He was under a couch before we brought him in, and I think he would have liked to be by himself, but I wish he had been in our house, with us nearby.
 
Nutmeg sounds like a sweet animal. Max wasn’t, but I loved him.

Chris Pierik
Guest
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

This, very much.

Rosten
Guest
Rosten
6 months ago

My cat of 13 years passed away before me, perhaps we should’ve had her put down a few days prior to spare her the last couple of days but it was relatively quick, and she was just still and stopped eating, cats in that way are quite stoic, they don’t broadcast pain (All it would do is get them eaten faster).

I recall one moment when the whole family was around her, offering her her favourite shrimp that she could no longer eat… her eyes opened in a sort of realization, looking at us, crying about her, I swear at that point that cat figured out it was going to die.

Am in Spain too, do keep us posted on your plans.

Lament
Guest
Lament
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Crunch! We’ve been underestimating insects (again), apparently. Well, at least we’re consistent…?

https://www.cell.com/current-biology/pdf/S0960-9822(23)01059-X.pdf

Fatman
Guest
Fatman
6 months ago

“The lady that drove up in her portable deathmobile was very sweet, shared some bromide about it being better to do this a day too early than a day too late.”

Yes, it is. Our boy declined so rapidly that I went from furiously demanding an extra day’s reprieve from the deathmobile to begging the vet to fit us in as soon as possible. From jumping up and down kitchen counters to crying to be carried up the stairs, all in the space of ca. 36 hours.

We had good luck with Mirtazapine. The key was starting it as soon as we got the CKD diagnosis and combining it with the right kind of food. Basically, using the Mirtazapine to keep him eating (and eating well) once he lost the taste for prescription grub.

Here’s to hoping cat kidney transplants become routine someday. CKD sucks, but early prevention plus good management can get you 3-5 wonderful extra years.

The K
Guest
The K
5 months ago

There ist really not much to say that hast been said more eloquently already, save perhaps that your wife ist certainly right: Better a day too early. Having watched my grandfather shrivelling up from cancer in hos last weeks in the hospice bed, and my uncles agonizing Last few years, i swore to myself that i woulnt go out that way.

At least for our pets, it ist over quick. RIP Nutmeg, may your other cats live for decades yet.

The K
Guest
The K
5 months ago
Reply to  The K

Holy hell, autocorrect on my german phone really did a number on my comment, and i cant seem to edit either. Sorry, i hope its still at least semi understandable.

LostHisMarbles
Guest
LostHisMarbles
5 months ago
Reply to  The K

I want to write a Dr Strangelove joke so badly now, lol.
(undeztood just fein, kein problem!)

My condolences for your grandfather, must have been tough. Sincere best wishes for your uncles.

Jan S
Guest
5 months ago

{{{everyone in your house}}}
I don’t have any other words than those.

Orlin
Guest
Orlin
5 months ago

I am sorry for your losses, Mr. Watts. I live with two feline companions and the thought that I will have to say goodbye to them at some point makes my chest hurt.

On a brighter note, I’m looking forward to learning more about your trip to Bulgaria next month and possibly seeing you here.

Boyd Waters
Guest
Boyd Waters
5 months ago

Very sad to see the fur persons go.

spaceApe
Guest
spaceApe
5 months ago

First time posting, long time lurker.

Sorry for your loss sir. But let me say that I for a change quite like your death posts, not that I take enjoyment from the death of beloved pets(quite on the contrary, this a sensitive subject for myself), but posts like this put me in an emotional place that I don’t visit much. So thanks for the therapy.

Tim
Guest
Tim
5 months ago

There’s too much drama for the times when cryonics is quite accessible. At least it could give you hope.

The K
Guest
The K
5 months ago
Reply to  Tim

If you honestly believe that cryonics revival will be a thing for the very foreseeable future (and for cats even!), particularly for the not super-rich, i have a plethora of bridges to sell to you.

Altough i have to admit imagining our host being frozen in time with all his cats has a certain pharaonic appeal.

Tim
Guest
Tim
5 months ago
Reply to  The K

I don’t “believe” in cryonics I’m just using it as the last resort (after assessing the options). Considering that connectome is preserved (mostly) during the freezing, plus redundancy of living NN, and also knowing that NN weights are, probably, represented as the density of connections between the neurons (and not as chemicals inside the cells) there’s some slight possibility of restoring your loved one in the future.

BTW, one of my deceased cats was cryopreserved last year: https://kriorus.ru/photo/Myshanya-krionirovannyy-moskovskiy-kotik. If I had other options, I would choose Alcor or some other company located in a more stable country.

The K
Guest
The K
5 months ago
Reply to  Tim

Considering the trajectory our civilization is on, id be very, very surprised if there even is enough food to go around in 50 years, let alone power for cryonics.

Then again, if it gives you comfort, why not?The chances that something, anything, comes of it (especially for pets, altough they are certainly more deserving than the average billionnaire) are so slim as to be practically non-existent, but never say never.

LostHisMarbles
Guest
LostHisMarbles
5 months ago
Reply to  The K

Petty details i’d think; one can see benefits.
I’d freeze the wife for, oh, say 200 years or so, if someone offered of course. For science, you know.
Doing your part if very important.

Ken Kennedy
Guest
5 months ago

Peter…I’m so sorry for your losses. That is indeed the worst fucking summer. I got behind in my RSS reader during the summer, and so just now was catching up. I got in too late to comment on BOG’s post. 🙁

The decision to euthanize is *always* terrible, but that’s part of our job as the human servants of our beloved pets; we have to be strong and make that horrible decision. I agree with Caitlin on that one, but goddamn, it sucks.

I hope fall is gentler on you and yours.

Jeff
Guest
4 months ago

yeah, we love the crunchy skiffy, but you write damned good eulogy as well. I hope you get a long pause.

It is moving and remote-bonding to hear you speaking directly about someone/thing you love deeply and paying honor to them. “Here’s why I appreciate you” is kind of the most important communication there is – especially if the subject is sensate.

Having just dropped my only kid off at school, the nest isn’t empty, it’s haunted. Thank god for the cats, eager to greet us on our return and follow us around the house, keep the house from being a mausoleum.

But ultimately it was the load-sharing with the college parents group that made this lessening palatable. Grieving alone is unbearable. Grieving together sucks much less.

We came to the forum because we’re fans of your mind, we return because we’re fans of your heart.

Peace,

-jeff