All this Seattle snowfall has had me cooped up in the house for most of the weekend–And it’s been a long weekend. It hasn’t been the worst thing, because it’s weather conducive to a lot of things I enjoy: reading books, writing, drinking hot tea, cuddling and napping, and streaming and watching movies and TV shows on Netflix.
Unfortunately, it’s all been a little bittersweet without my favorite snow day partner:
It’s been a month today since my beautiful boy died, and I miss him so much.
This Saturday, my SO and I were supposed to go to a foster cat orientation. I’d been hopeful for weeks that we’d have a foster kitty running around the house, or even just hiding somewhere in the house, on this day. But it didn’t work out that way. Our orientation got pushed back a week because of the forecast.
I’m hopeful it won’t get pushed back another week.
Over this past month I’ve been consoling myself by memorializing Sawyer in every way I can think of. I had his body cremated and his ashes returned to me in a pretty cherrywood box; I baked a clay mold of his paw print; I wrote a Facebook post and a personal essay; I sorted all the photographs I have of him–nearly 500 of them!–into digital albums, and then I created and ordered a photo book.
I guess you could say fostering is the final plan I have for honoring his memory.
In the meantime, I haven’t been sure what to do with myself. Sawyer’s absence is its own presence in our house. Over the last few weeks of his life, I was acutely aware of where he was, that he wasn’t spending much time in the places he loved, and that he was taking up much less space. Instead of claiming the upstairs as his kingdom or sprawling out in our bed or surveying the land from atop his cat tree, he spent a lot of time low to the ground, curled up under a desk or a piano or a table in the kitchen. During his last two days, he stayed holed up in the bathroom, where we’d relocated all of his belongings.
Since he died, I’ve been grief cleaning. I don’t know what else to call it. It started with sorting through his things and deciding what to keep, what to donate, and finally what to throw away. At first it was just practical cleaning, such as sweeping up litter and vacuuming up cat hair, and also reorganizing to fill the empty spaces left behind.
But then I couldn’t stand the clutter on the shelves in the bathroom, my make-up spilled all over the counter, the toothpaste leftover in the sink, the pink residue from my body wash staining the shower walls. The ugly dresser with the drawers coming off the rails sent me into a blind rage. The dishes in the kitchen sink made me restless. All the books, tea-stained mugs, and puzzle pieces scattered across the living room coffee table ceased to make the room look cozy and lived-in and instead made the space feel cramped and unlivable. And why did we have so much goddamn unopened mail?
The energy in the house was all wrong!
It wasn’t like I didn’t already dislike all the beard hair in the sink or that old dresser with its misaligned drawers before Sawyer died, but without him all these mild annoyances became major grievances. How was I supposed to feel at home in this house when all these little things were conspiring to make me so stressful and unhappy?
My SO Rylan–wonderful man that he is–has humored me through all of this. Over these last few weeks I’ve dragged him to IKEA and Target and a local plant nursery. Just today I sent him outside in the snow and down into the laundry room to reset our breaker when I blew a fuse running the vacuum, and I talked his ear off about Marie Kondo’s clothes folding methods and had him sit through two episodes of Tidying Up on Netflix.
My darling cat is still dead, but our house looks pretty adorable.