The campus is empty now. All the students have left for the holidays. After tomorrow, I take my leave, too.
I went for a walk today. I didn't care about the cold. Cold air can clear the mind, and my mind needed clearing.
I have to euthanize one of our cats tonight, and it is breaking my heart.
Of course, it is.
But even more than the usual pain of losing a pet, losing this pet is even more difficult. This pet is special.
My husband and I took her in after my mother-in-law passed away. That was five years ago. Mommy (that's the name my mother-in-law gave her) was a feral cat. She and her two kittens were all adopted by my mother-in-law twelve years ago. When my mother-in-law passed away, we took all three. Yes, it was crazy, but we made a promise to my mother-in-law to take care of her cats during her recuperation after heart surgery. Things didn't turn out, and her cats were orphaned. How could we send them to a shelter under those conditions?
So we took them in.
They were never a problem. Cats rarely are. Mommy had her own room, in a way. She would never leave the room we placed her in when she first came to live with us. She was free to, but she felt safe and never ventured out, and oftentimes her children would stay with her.
Then something interesting began to happen. A feral cat, probably nine years old when we took her in, slowly tamed, and she became domesticated. She started to leave the room and look for us. She still stayed in her room, but she would begin to jump up on the beds, go downstairs, and look for her people companions.
This year she became even closer to us. She started having health problems, and she trusted us to feed her by hand and give her medication. She would look for me to keep her company, and often she would keep me company while I was writing.
So, it is particularly painful to lose her now.
During my walk today, I came across this sign . . .
It hangs on the entrance of our Shakespeare Garden during the winter months. I think the quote is taken from A Midsummer Night's Dream. I imagine this quote was chosen for that purpose, to hang there while the garden is dormant--and at peace. I have seen the sign, but I never stopped to read it. Today I read it, and it's meaning hit me in a personal way.
Soon Mommy will be at peace. Me? Not so much. It has been an extremely difficult year, and I hope that, somehow in 2017, I will be able to find a little peace myself.