First Night

We are home. It feels good to be here, and I come with a renewed spirit, still mourning Maus, but I can now look at a picture or a video of her and smile instead of bursting into tears. I only cried once yesterday; opening up cards from friends who were sending their condolences. It will be a while for me to get used to not seeing Maus in my regular routines. I miss her watching me as I shower, greeting me at the door or begging to go out and sit on the steps.  I'll miss the way she waddled down the hallway, and that “ack” sound in place of a meow. I can smile at it now, but I do miss her.

The boyz too will need some time to adjust to the idea of Maus not being here, I'm sure. To be perfectly honest; I've always held that the stories of mourning pets were always the exaggerated angst of people in pain. It's not that I don't think pets are not capable of emotion. I'm just not convinced by the anecdotal evidence of full-fledged mourning of death, mainly because it would require some higher level understanding of impermanence. What I do know is that pets can feel the frustration and confusion of such a change as the absence of a constant in their life. That part I can embrace, and I do see that in Jake’s behavior.

It was Jake calling to me that Sunday that got me into the living room to check on Maus when I found she had passed away. As I left with Maus and returned without her a couple of hours later, both boyz were quiet and stared out the window, and both avoided the carrier that held her body. They were quiet for the rest of the day and night until we left the next day for Teri’s home.

I was hoping taking the boyz away from the apartment might distract them from Maus’s disappearance. They were accustomed to spending time over at Teri’s so not as they would be in unfamiliar territory. Jake and Maus came from the same breeder home and came to live with me on the same day. In the nine years, they’ve rarely spent an overnight apart from each other. With the boyz being together I was sure they would find some familiarity.

The boyz did well at Teri’s home. They were quiet for the first couple of days but relaxed quickly. They played which they’d not done in a while. They slept together without a tussle, and when it came time to go home, they both entered the crate on their power. It was when we got home I could tell they felt her absence; Jake did especially. He went to all the familiar places; the hall closet where Maus was notorious for getting locked into (it was easy for a small cat to sneak passed someone opening a door). Jake looked in the bathroom when they’d spend the morning monitoring my activities. He avoided sleeping in the places where they all slept together and opted for a freshly washed cocoon bed on my bed. Moshe Moshi had first taken a nap in the stroller and then came up on the bed to snuggle with Jake, but Jake rejected him. MM settled for sleeping next to me on a pillow.

I’m not sure this is grief. I don’t know if a lingering scent of Maus is still on all that I washed. I just know that Jake senses a difference in his life. I’m sure he knows the smell of death, and that Maus is not here in the apartment.

I wish he knew how much I love him and wish I could help him understand. Only time will do that for him now.



Post Script: a heartfelt thank you to everyone that posted their condolences, called us and sent us cards.  It truly helps me to heal.

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