10 April 2012
3 the after life
as you no doubt recall, mimi- the cat responsible for the word "poo-pocalypse" entering our family lexicon- has died.
as you may also remember, my mother was no fan of mimi. this is understandable as mimi was always my father's cat and my mother has spent much of the last ten years a helpless bystander as mimi's bowels systematically exploded in every room of her house.
so, while i wouldn't say that my mother actively rooted for mimi's demise, she has- over the last year especially- been quietly promoting the notion that it was, perhaps, mimi's time to die.
now, mimi is dead. it's a whole new world. my parent's house is poo-free. EVERY DAY. and the excremental decade fades into the near-distance like a half-remembered dream.
almost. but not quite.
after mimi's death, my mother- being the loving, concerned, social media savvy wife that she is- took to facebook to announce to the world that my father's cat had ascended (or descended, be that as it may) to the afterlife, as though all 500+ of her friends had been on tenterhooks awaiting news of the feline's fate. my mother did this through an elegantly simple status update.
imagine my mother's surprise then when a significant percentage of her 500+ friends sallied forth to express- through comments, direct messages and, heaven help us, poems- their sorrow over HER tragic loss.
her status update had evidently tapped into a stream of long-standing, unexpressed grief, as people she had not spoken to since childhood, surfaced to reminisce about their own pets, of whom they had been reminded by my mother's precious mimi's sudden, sad death.
given his facebook silence on the matter, no attention whatsoever has been paid to my father's grief, to his loss of an animal for whom he pursued years of expensive medical care. a cat with whom he played an elaborate game of shit-and-seek every single morning of their life together. a beast whom he loved unconditionally, though she destroyed five mechanical liter boxes with the sheer force of her pee.
the torrent of condolences have been directed solely toward my mother. weeks after the euthanization of a cat she barely tolerated, people at church still approach her to ask, in hushed tones, how she's "holding up."
this has been a source of great awkwardness for my mother. and, after receipt of her eleven thousandth condolence, she finally confessed to a friend that mimi was neither her cat nor an animal she particularly loved. but this did little to alleviate the prevailing public sentiment that my mother had sustained a grievous loss and it in no way altered the situation beyond guaranteeing that, whenever my mother is approached by anyone offering sympathy, there's now a sector of her audience doubled up in laughter because they know the truth.
with the coming of easter weekend and the passage of a month, my parents held out hope that things were beginning to calm. then it came.
a sympathy card telling how, even in heaven, a pet remembers it's owner's love. it came from the veterinarian who euthanized my dad's cat. it was addressed to my mom.