If there’s ever a time of a year that I notice the most change, it’s Christmas. There hasn’t been one the same for quite some time now, and this year is proving to be no different. As I look around my home, I notice change once again. It is undeniably quiet and empty. Something is missing.
Two months ago I had to make the decision to put my two Maine Coon cats down, Rocky and Tye. I did what I always do when my heart hurts – I wrote. I wrote a poem; I wrote about love and loss, regardless if there are 2 legs or 4; I wrote about the intensity of the grief. I just wrote. I have never written so much in my life, and I knew it would never be shared. This was not writing that was well-structured. It was all over the map, and was exactly how I felt in the hours and days that followed. It was the first time I struggled with clear thought and could not answer the question I always ask myself when I write: what am I trying to say? It took me awhile to realize that I didn’t know. It took me even longer to understand that it was perfectly okay. It was clear I needed an outlet, and well-crafted sentences and continuity were far from the goal.
Over the past two months, I’ve had no choice but to get used to a life without Rocky and Tye in it. I feel their absence every minute of every day but am starting to come to terms with the fact that there will be no more shared routines and daily rituals. There’s also a sense that I’ve reached the end of an era. They were a connection to my past and were a big part of the journey to a new life. The four of us moved on (they had a sister CoCo that I had to put down two years ago) and we settled into a simple life, one of love and much quality time together.
So here I am. What now? There’s just me, and a new year is about to begin. I suspect it will take some time to move through the feelings of loss and change. But I will attempt to do as I always do at the end of every year – celebrate all that I’ve done and create a plan for the new year. And although I will forever miss the little beings whose hearts got so entangled with mine, I also feel a certain anticipation. I look forward to all that’s to come; the promise of new adventure, the freedom to say yes to life. I can’t help but feel that Tye, Rocky and CoCo’s love and companionship has, in many ways, prepared me for this moment. They truly were gifts.
As always, the love of family and friends will carry me through the holiday season. I will notice the quiet; the strangeness. I will notice the ache in my heart. But I will also notice the abundance. As I learn to let go, I will reach for the comfort that exists around me.
Merry Christmas everyone…may we fondly remember the Christmases of yesterday, embrace this Christmas with love in our hearts and cherish the moments we spend with those around us.
Photos by Carol Good – all rights reserved