My little apartment is very different now that Willow isn’t here. It’s quieter.
Certainly there’s no buzzing.
There’s less snoring. Less farting. There’s a lot less drool. The absence of some, perhaps all, of those things may sound like good things to a lot of people. To me, it sounds like a lot of silence.
Which isn’t bad, per se. But those noises when attributed to another being can be comforting, if sometimes a bit stinky or messy.
The truth is I liked taking care of Willow. Those noises, while less than appealing when taken out of context, are associated with that love and care. Sometimes it was a frustrating task. Days when I left the door open to my pantry, where I kept my trash can, could be particularly delightful.
There’s nothing like getting home late and finding trash strewn about your entire apartment.
But then there was almost every day when she was excited to see me when I got home. She’d peek her head over the edge of her crate/bed, get up, and come greet me with bright eyes and a wiggle butt. I’d grab her leash, and we’d go for a walk to stretch our legs and so she could do her business.
Rusty, my cat, doesn’t need to be walked. In fact, she’d probably freak out if I tried taking her outside. She needs caring for too, but it’s quieter, more subtle. A few scratches under the chin, a catnip toy every now and again, scoop the poop, and she’s good to go. She’s even sleeping with me less, since she feels less inhibited about moving around since Willow is gone.
Willow was higher maintenance.
Now, I find I need to take myself for walks. I have to remember to take breaks and to actually go outside and enjoy the view. But right now, I still feel sad in doing so, because there is a void in those walks. There’s no wiggle butt to walk. There’s no one to talk to. And, there’s the knowing that I’ll eventually run into neighbors who will ask about her, and I’ll have to break the news all over again…
Right now, I just can’t.
But I’ve realized, that in caring for Willow, I was also caring for myself. Taking care of Willow helped to feed the part of me that likes to nurture. While I use that part of myself in different ways (the fact that I’m a teacher comes to mind), Willow occupied a signification percentage of that nurturing part of myself. I had to schedule my day around caring for her, since she needed to be let out.
So I’m still grieving, though the pain is diminishing. I’ve been crying as I’ve written most of this though, so the emotions are still there.
As I grieve, I’m figuring out what my life looks like with just me. Well, and Rusty, who only needs me a little.
I think I’ve been doing alright. I have been taking those walks. I’ve been creating. I’m writing. I’ve starting practicing guitar regularly. I’m getting my exercising regime back on schedule. I’m watching less Star Trek.
I’m getting better at taking myself for walks.