awfulhorrid: (Over the Shoulder Bella)
My Bella passed away this morning. She had three of her humans - [livejournal.com profile] bookwurm, [livejournal.com profile] tarrestrial and me - petting her and hopefully comforting her. I don't think she suffered and I'm glad she was here with us instead of the emergency animal hospital, surrounded by strangers. (We'd considered that as an option, but finally decided that it would probably not help much and we'd rather she be at home with us.) I don't wish to dwell more on her death, so I'll focus instead on her life.

As anyone who ever met her could tell you, she was an opinionated little cat and she never hesitated to tell you how she felt about a situation. She was our little furry supervisor in the kitchen or in the office. She sat here with me at my desk and 'helped' me with uncountable school and programming projects, papers, and games. She spent a great deal of time laying on top of Fran's computer - we're pretty sure she liked the warmth and vibration, but also just the hanging out with her humans. She was the smallest cat in the house - her "brothers" outweighed her by around 2x for one and 3x for the other, but it was very clear just who was in charge. She loved her morning half-and-half when I had my coffee and her weekend serving of cream cheese when we had bagels. She understood English better than most any other cat I've ever known and would often demonstrate that she knew entirely more words than she really should have. I don't think I could have spoiled her any more than she was and I honestly don't regret a second of it.

Bella on Fridge

When she first came to us, she wasn't really used to dealing with more than one or two humans at once, but it wasn't long before she became our little social director kitty. I know I'll never forget that Yuletide celebration where she was falling asleep sitting up on the futon in the living room because she didn't want to miss out on all the people who were visiting.

(Edit to add this paragraph): She loved to take naps with me and almost always slept with her humans. When we'd go to bed at night, she'd usually go under the covers and curl up between my ankles while I read until I turned out the light. At that point, she'd come back up and snuggle up against my side as close as she could possibly get. In warmer weather, she'd settle for on top of the covers, often between me and my partner. I think when I started having to keep my left arm wrapped around a pillow for support, she was more than a bit upset that she couldn't get as close to me when we slept.

Goodbye my sweet little Bella girl. Words cannot begin to say how much I'm going to miss you.
awfulhorrid: (Celtic Knot)
My Dad died this morning. I don't really want to write about his death, so much as I want to say a few positives about his life, but I guess I have to write about both. It wasn't entirely unexpected - this was his forth fight with cancer. (Possibly 3rd, since this could have been what they didn't catch the last time. I guess it really doesn't matter all that much either way.) Still, he wasn't showing signs of getting worse or anything, so this was a bit of a shock. I'm really glad that we got to visit with him a few weeks ago, even if it was a pretty short visit.

My childhood and teenage memories of him are ... well, let's call them patchy. Some are good and amusing while others are pretty depressing and difficult. He was an alcoholic and a Vietnam vet who most definitely suffered from PTSD. He physically, mentally, and verbally abused both me and my Mother, especially when he was drunk - a state he was in quite a lot at the time. With all this, I guess it's not too surprising that once I left his home, I didn't really speak with him for a bit over a decade.

At some point, once he'd driven away two wives, several girlfriends, most of his friends, and me plus the rest of his family, he finally decided to get help. He got into Alcoholics Anonymous and sought help from the VA. He really cleaned himself up, became a spokesman for AA causes, and helped others. I'm more glad than ever that he did this and that I was able to reconnect with him as an adult. My only regret about that is that I wish he'd done it about 30 years earlier: it would have made for a much better childhood for me and my mother.

I'm still learning how much we actually had in common. Some things are a bit more obvious, of course. I can absolutely credit him (and my mother too, actually) for instilling in me a love of history and reading. I was somewhat amused a few years ago when he figured out the exact nature of my polyamorous relationship to learn that he had been part of a similar relationship, although perhaps not quite as open about it. I can credit a lot of my love of pirates to him. I learned a lot more mechanic skill from him that I actually remember, and while I can't remember how to repair a transmission, at least I know how to use the tools safely and I'm not afraid to get dirty. While mine was not exactly an ideal childhood, I still fondly recall making things with him: model rockets, various automotive projects, and a black powder rifle are the ones that immediately come to mind.

He had a strong artistic side, too. I think I'd actually mostly forgotten that until our last visit. I saw some of the large cartoon drawings on the back wall of the garage and remembered him making those about 25 years ago. Though they were cartoons and not caricatures, I could very clearly identify the subjects on which they were based even all these years later. I remember some of the wood carvings he'd do with a knife or sometimes with a chainsaw. Although I'm not quite ready to try anything with a chainsaw, I think some of the things I've tried to make with my Dremel tool might have their origins in those carvings. (I also wonder if he might have been continuing something he saw his father do, but I guess I'll never know now.)

He was quite clearly a Dog totem too, although in his case I suspect closer to a hound dog than a Newfoundland like myself. I've already made sure to ask if his dogs were going to be cared for now. They're going to stay with Grandma, both for her to look after and to look after her.

Today has been mostly scheduling things, making lists of what needs to be done, answering the phone, and just dealing with one thing at a time. Tomorrow we fly to North Carolina for a few days. Dad chose cremation, something else we have in common, although I'm a total organ donor so that'll come before the cremation. Therefore there won't be a funeral, but there will still be a memorial service. I'm not quite sure what I'll say, although writing this has certainly given me a few thoughts.

Dad, I can't say we always got along, but I'm glad we were able to reconnect when we did. I do love you and I'm glad you were part of my life. I'll miss you.
awfulhorrid: (Pyrite)
Some of you already know, but we got a final test result from the vet late last night. The spleen aspirate was inconclussive, but the masses on his lung and spleen are probably malignant tumors. His thoraxic cavity is filling with fluid to the point where they drained 200+ mL on Monday and additional fluid on Tuesday. They rate his condition as bad ... meaning he's very unlikely to survive surgery even if they though it would help. [livejournal.com profile] clark_parker and [livejournal.com profile] merseine0613 came up early this morning and went with us to pick him up from the AECT and will be taking us to Wolf-Merrick hospital this afternoon.

He's obviously not feeling his usual self, but he's comfortable as we can make him. He's spent most of the day so far under the futon in the library with [livejournal.com profile] bookwurm and I nearby, but he's snuggled down between us for a few minutes. He's purring and knows he's loved. Right now, he's actually out from under the futon and is up on top with [livejournal.com profile] clark_parker. That's my beautiful boy ... a charmer to the end.

Thank you all for the kind words you've sent. Our family of choice has really helped us out with this. As much as this is tearing [livejournal.com profile] bookwurm and me up, I think it would be ten times worse if you all weren't there for us.

February 2013

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