A large part of the story of Don and Kelley is our kitties. He loved animals, and over our years together, we had our little family of kitty cats. Isabelle and Ginger are over the rainbow bridge now, but I still have Autumn and Sammy, who we adopted together from a rescue shelter in NJ. These 2 cats have stayed with me all throughout losing Don to sudden death. They have grieved, they have changed, they have adapted to life with just me as their human. They have been packed up in their pet traveling cases and moved with me out of the NJ apartment Don and I shared, and into an apartment in Forest Hills. Then again into those pet carriers, and into an apartment in Flushing, Queens. And finally, about 3 year ago now, packed up one more time and residing in my parents house, in the basement area, with me.
Autumn is about 10 years old, and Sammy is 19 or 20, so they are getting up there, and I don’t think moving them yet again to another destination is a smart idea. Plus, the apartment that Nick and I like that we are most likely moving into (we are awaiting our applications to be approved as tenants) does not allow pets. Most places around this area don’t allow pets, and if they do, they are way out of our price range. This apartment is 5 minutes down the street from where my parents live, so we have collectively all made the decision to have the kitties stay here with my parents. It just makes sense. Their house is on the way to my real estate office, so I will come by each morning and night on my way to and from work. I will help out as much as I can with feeding them and cleaning the boxes, and of course, I will spend a few minutes and sometimes longer, hugging them, holding them, and petting them. My dad has his workshop area down here so he spends time with them too, and he enjoys loving them. We are keeping my bedroom set up down here the way it is, to be used as a guestroom or if I ever need to stay here and get some kitty cuddle time.
I know in my heart that this is the right arrangement, and that the kitties most likely won’t even notice too much of a difference. As it is, I don’t let them sleep with me at night, because I would never get any sleep if I did. I close the door and they stay out in the cellar area where they have their food, couches, and scratching posts. And as it is, I’m hardly ever home most days anyway, because my work and life schedule is pretty crazy, so they are used to me doing quick stop-bys to get quick cuddles. My parents will take great care of them, and so will I, and I know this is the right thing to do.
So why do I feel so sad about it?
Its like a piece of that road we walked together is going away, or changing, or shifting, or something. My little furry people won’t be on my lap while I watch TV anymore, or when I have a crying/grief trigger, I won’t be able to have Sammy climb on me and purr and make it all better in an instant. Sure, I can drive over here the 5 minutes and get all of that, and I will – but it’s not the same.
We will be signing a one-year lease, if we get this apartment, and after that, what happens next is up in the air. We either re-sign for another year, or go find a different place to live, or be in the position to buy something together, or we end up killing each other and decide we can’t live together forever after all. (Kidding. Sort of.) So, going forward, after the one year, there’s a chance the kitties can come back with me if I have a house or condo of my own. That would be awesome. But who knows how healthy they will or won’t be in a years time, and the very thought of Sammy ever not being a thing and dying, is enough to send me into my bed for weeks crying. I just can’t even think about that right now.
They have become such a huge part of my healing, and they will continue to be that, but it will change and be different now, and it does make me sad. I think its just yet another piece of saying goodbye to that life I knew, and watching as it shifts into something else. Being extremely happy to be creating a new life with the person I love will never negate the sadness I feel at the one I lost. The sadness and the joy live together, and I can be excited about moving in with my guy, and also sad about not taking the kitties with us.
That is widowed life at it’s very core, and I’m okay with that.