I haven’t had the energy to write. A great friend with a white heart and big black paws has died shortly after Valentines Day the night of a snow storm. Just 11 years earlier, I had miscarried and had a D&E a few days before Christmas. We had our 2 year old daughter Hope. We took turns faking smiles and crying outside so she couldn’t see how broken we were. A few days after Christmas, I was crying and clearing the snow off my car. A heard a faint meow that forever changed my life. “Where are you kitty?” I asked. An older kitten came out from under my neighbor’s porch. It was absolutely freezing out.
It was 2008, the housing market crashed. People were abandoning their homes and their pets. I picked up the kitten and showed my husband, who encouraged me to bring him in the house. It ended up a neighbor lost the apartment and abandon the kitten to the streets We were trying to decide what to do on our infertility journey. It was the third miscarriage in a row. I looked back on my old journals. Everything evolved around finding answers for my infertility caused by recurrent pregnancy loss. Every now and then, there was a sentence or two about “kitty.” I was trying to find him a home and find an answer to a mystery.
At some point, I did find “kitty” a home. The night before he was to leave, two years old Hope was crying, “my kitty. He’s home.” We decided “kitty” was staying and I had to tell this person that we changed our minds. We named him Raven. Raven was born on one of my due dates by the vet’s estimate at the time. He was best fur friend. He had the personality of Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. One vet said, this isn’t a cat. This is a muscle. Raven had Core strength. One hundred percent muscle cat with a white heart on his chest. When he walked on you, you knew it. Just like when Tigger would pounce on Winnie the Pooh. When I was diagnosis with breast cancer, Raven had to be put in a separate room. He would walk all over the treatment sites.
In 2014, when I boarded that plane to the West Coast to get pregnant through embryo donation, I told God, “I am not here for any cat.” Strangely enough, I decided to leave early for my plane and have a look around before leaving. One of the stores did this giant window display of homeless kittens and puppies. I look at the window and said, “I have plane tickets to Boston, who is joining me tonight?” The shelter didn’t allow out of state adoption.
My friend. My comfort. He stood through many negative pregnancy tests, miscarriages and breast cancer treatment. I couldn’t find him one morning. I found him an hour and half later in a tight corner by a white bureau and the furnace. I thought he had died. He was barely still alive. We rushed him into Boston. The brain tumor had advanced so much. No more meds could keep him alive. We went into Boston for the family to say goodbye. My three year didn’t know what to do. She announced to the waiting room with a smile on her face that her cat Raven was going to die tonight. Joy has no clue about death. After we saw him, they left the room. I held him as he died. Joy started singing ironically, happy birthday in the car. My oldest was screaming at her. For days, I couldn’t figure it out why. Then, I got it. Avery, my first born, who died was born on the 21st. Generally, we go out and do something as a family. Joy must have confused about this whole death/remembrance events within days of each other.
We were suppose to go to the water park to mark the birthday/death of Avery. The house was a real disaster zone, we brought a new kitchen pantry. Stuff in the basement was thrown about. We are looking for Raven in the basement for quite sometime. He had either another seizure or even a stroke due to the brain tumor. All I did was sit on the futon and cried.
We had actually been talking about adopting another Maine Coon cat before Raven died. A few years earlier, our Maine Coon cat had passed away a few weeks after my birthday. He was very bounded to a female cat who died two weeks before my birthday. I started looking. We had stopped due to the remodeling of the house, Joy’s birth, followed by more remodeling and Raven’s seizure. I stopped because it’s a lot of stress for cats to get use to one another. Raven’s health was declining.
Valentines day, my husband and I talked. It’s been a rough few years in our marriage. I resigned to being legally married to a room mate. He was touched by the 50th birthday party. He took me out to get my makeup done. He brought all this expensive makeup for a chap stick girl. All along, I am thinking this stuff is expensive, but he wanted too. I am thinking I just talk our oldest out of this designer make up kit for Christmas. I made a choice to give our marriage a try. Maybe I am hanging on too long. When it comes to rare diseases and marriages, it’s like this. We have been through a disaster together loosing our two daughters, all the miscarriages and infertility. It was only our lifeboat that made it. I am not sure I want to cut off the only person that was there.
Yes, it is a codependent pattern of behavior. I can’t keep going on like it’s a room mate situation with a legal title. Is that closeness? Life is suppose to filled with precious attachments. I have been living withdrawn for too long. So, I let a lot of surface friends people go. Once again my heart and trust is on the line. I am going to try again to bring the spark back.
This year for rare disease day, we had a pottery shop willing to donate a percentage of proceeds to the National Organization For Rare Diseases. I posted it everywhere. I don’t know how well it did. The night of what would have been Avery’s 15th birthday, we went out and painted pottery. Our vet did the nicest kindest act. They sent us flowers for Raven’s death. It arrived on what would have been Avery’s birthday. We painted a mug for the vet and filled it with candy.
We spent that week after Raven died looking at animals at shelters. Good news spraying and neutering is working. Now, our state is flying in cats from other places. Avery’s birthday was a good family day with the girls. I took them out for breakfast and lunch. We dropped off 15 roses to her grave. I said pink. Joy said red. Hope said pink. We mixed them up. Unfortunately, 15 is a odd number and the woman behind the counter kind of gave us a hard time because she had to open up different dozens roses to make the count. The last one, I said just add a white one so neither side won. Avery got her roses. We headed off to a mall near a old shelter that I had worked at. The shelters had a hard time finding a kid friendly, dog friendly and another cat friendly cat. I started looking on line. I found a few scams. They didn’t get money from me. Amazingly, Microsoft called us all concerned about our computer. Obliviously, this was another scam. I thought ironically maybe there is a connection. I excitable said, “I am so happy you called. Let me put you on hold.” I hang up the phone.
I quickly stopped by at a local shelter to pick up an application. I had one of those what to do parenting moments. There was this incredible loving cat with dog experience. The cat went from one lap to another. We found our girl. We are verbalizing this is our cat. Joy ran and cornered the cat. All of a sudden Joy is bleeding from her face. I had to tell the oldest not this one. Both left in tears.
Second attempt at the waterpark, we were in the parking lot. Both girls agreed to give up the waterpark to go back to the shelter. We left and it was a mess. First cats who are dog friendly aren’t dog friendly. It was almost one and Joy hadn’t had lunch. As a parent with a child with sensory disorder this is a disaster in the making. Any small child would be having a melt down. One is too late and off routine. It was close to lunch when we went and an hour later we were still there. The woman insisted Joy stayed. I don’t keep vaccination records of our animals on me. The vet was closed. I was calling a few places open that would have them. We got one immediately from the boarding place my cat stays. The dog boarder it is hit or miss. She is with the dogs. Sunday is a non doggie daycare day. I am saying let me take the kid out to lunch. I will keep trying to call her. This woman got infuriated with me. No, the child needs to stay. I want her to spend more time with the cat to see what the cat does. I am like no, we aren’t doing that. I told we would be back. I am pulling into the driveway to see if I have the dog’s vaccination records. You need them for the license renewal in the city. She calls me and abruptly says, “don’t come back.” Now I am angry.
I lied and told we weren’t planning too anyways. I did get one call back for the number of inquiries from private adoption. The person stopped answering my texts. I called it another scam and called it a night. She texted me the next day. I spoke with her for a bit. It seemed legit. We made plans. I am picking Hope up from school and I am telling her that I found a kitten. I went to the ad. There is the kitten listed at a higher price. I start freaking out I found another scam. She told me that it was a misunderstanding between her and her husband. I made plans.
My oldest Hope has had an increase of vertigo. Right before vacation, I couldn’t take Joy to her last play group because I had to go pick up Hope sick from school due to the vertigo. I wasn’t going to leave my oldest alone having dizziness. Joy and I stayed home that day. Only one neurology appointment left on a work day after school vacation week. It was that or wait another good month. I took it. It was suppose to snow the night I was getting this new kitten. Hope knew about the kitten. We didn’t tell Joy incase it was a scam.
I have spent most of my time this week putting life back together after Raven died. We had the new pantry assembled in the living room. Out went the old one into yard before another snow storm. Apollo gets along well with the dog. The other cat Sweetie is tolerating him. Something mild is going on with his stomach. After my mammogram tomorrow, Apollo meets the vet. Now that is March it seems to be snowing more than ever.
I drove from Boston back home to get Joy from daycare. Then, we had to drive to the NH border to meet the person. My husband had to work late. We hit construction. Right before a snow storm, they are tearing a bridge apart. We got there and I was scared a little. I didn’t know this person. In her arms was this tiny meowing creature. The only name we could agree on was Apollo as a family. The snow started 5 miles of the home exit. We made it.
The doctor wants Hope to have an MRI. Tomorrow is my yearly mammogram. It’s almost been nine years since I was 36 years old and just diagnosis with breast cancer. It was my first mammogram. I am anxious. I have been very itchy. The doctors did a breast exam. The only thing they found was dry skin. They recommended an earlier Mammogram. I wasn’t able to with all the appointments for Raven. I sat anxious. Mammogram day have not been a good connection between my husband and I. This year, I am going by myself on the train. Joy has gymnastics anyways.
I understand the brain MRI is routine. I felt anxious because my mother-in-law got confused she had some genetic rare disease disorder brain tumor. I struggled with it for a long time. Finally, I had a heart to heart with my husband concerning mammogram day behavior and the heaviness of wondering if Hope is okay. My mother-in-law’s personality has changed. I can’t ask her directly anymore. He clarified it with her that she doesn’t have a rare disease.
I have been asking for help with my anxiety. These upcoming days are tough. Hope has a brain MRI on Sunday. I have my mammogram tomorrow. It’s tough, because I know I don’t have a lot of healthy support on these days. My 45th birthday is coming at the end of the month. I think I am going to end this with my saying for strength. My daughter Avery fought so brave in the NICU unit for her life. A day later it was not meant to be. We had to choose to stop life support. I always say Avery Bravery. I will be glad, when it is Monday next week. May Hope have Avery Bravery to get through that brain MRI. May I have Avery Bravery to get through that Mammogram tomorrow. May all this anxiety be for nothing. Let Hope’s vertigo disappear in time for comp season. Avery bravery let nothing bad happen to your sister and your mother during all these routine tests.