I had planned to come back to my blog after two weeks traveling in France and write about the trip. Post a few of the hundreds of photos I took. Share the total number of miles my husband and I walked (a lot). But I came back to the sad fact that my almost-18-year-old orange tabby cat Tai was dying — and so France, and the details of it, shall wait. My brain is not there.
I'm not sure where my brain is. Perhaps protecting itself? This morning I went to Target. I didn't take a written list, and in my grief, I spent an hour and half wandering every aisle of the store in the hopes that I would remember why I was there. Toilet paper. Check. Sponges. Check. Wrapping paper for a good friend's birthday gift. Check.
Paper towels? Nope. A card for the same birthday-celebrating friend? Nope.
Kleenex? Yes. I did remember the Kleenex. Thankfully, because we're completely out after days of crying.
Grief is a weird thing. It comes and goes. Sometimes like slow ocean waves. Sometimes like a flood. And the tears rush in and rush out the same such way. (Hence, the all-important extra-soft Kleenex.) Sometimes it pushes you forward to go, go, go. And sometimes, even standing up from the couch feels painful. Grief cares not where you are (in the car, at a party, in the shower) or what you are doing (wandering Target). It sets its own priorities for releasing itself.
And so, I know I cannot ignore the Tai-sized hole in my heart. But perhaps as the days pass, I can fill it with more memories than tears.
Below you'll find what I wrote earlier this morning to tell friends about my dear Tai. Rest in peace, my sweet baby.
Tai (June-ish 1996 to April 3, 2014)
Tai. My-Tai. Sweet Potato Tai. ’Tato-Tai. Punkin’. I can’t even list all the names our little Tai picked up over the years.
G and I adopted this sweet orange tabby from the former Humane Society facility in February of 1997. The vet thought she was about nine months then and she’s spent the last 17-some years growing old with us. She was my first cat ever, our first pet as a couple. And within a day or two of adopting her, she got really sick. Like slept-23-hours-a-day, we’re-not-sure-she’s-gonna-make-it sick. We tried numerous medicines. The third one finally kicked in, and neither one of us had ever seen so much snot come out of a tiny sneezing cat. (We’re pretty sure that the bathroom in our rental house never really recovered.)
Over the years, we learned that she loved cheese, any kind. Open the fridge and pull out a plastic bag of shredded cheese, and within seconds you had a cat next to you. She even somehow knew when we had a brick of cheddar or a plastic container of feta. She adored small squishy balls and fabric mice. She’d pick them up and wander around the house making squawking noises with them in her mouth. She also was particularly fond of chasing and pouncing on beams of light, dozing in sunspots, and snuggling under “Tai Tents” that we’d make by bending our knees up under the bed blankets.
She was never much of a lap-sitter until a few years ago; from then on, it was hard to keep her off of us. She was our first cat, and our oldest, but the third we’ve had to say goodbye to over the past two years. I can’t say how much I miss her already and I just hope she meets Lexi and Bailey somewhere over the Rainbow Bridge.