I was going to continue with the positive mindset posts this week by writing about the importance of taking breaks. But instead I’m going to model by taking a break from that. Because I definitely need a breather this week.
Last Thursday, February 28, I had my beloved cat Salem put to sleep. She was 20 1/2, and she was very ready to go. She’d let me know she was on her way out when she stopped eating, and I could see it in how hard it was for her to get around. (For those who read my previous blog post about being mindful of the cats’ eating, it turns out their weight loss wasn’t related to their food after all. For Osiris, it was because he has hyperthyroidism. For Salem, it was because kidney problems made her lose her appetite.)
So I was very glad to have lunch with my friend Shelly the day after. Shelly was with me back in September 1999 when I went to the Animal Refuge League looking for a cat. And Salem picked me as much as I picked her when she licked my hand through the cage.
Licking my hand remained one of her favorite activities until very near the end. She only stopped a few days before – another sign it was time.
And while I don’t generally eat for emotional reasons, lunch with Shelly was perfect. Not only because of our long history but also because we got to take advantage of Maine Restaurant Week and have a wonderful meal. (For those not familiar with it, Maine Restaurant Week is when a number of Maine restaurants offer 2- or 3-course meals for a fixed. If you’re in the area, it’s worth checking out.)
There’s a lot to be said for that. For the pleasure of delicious food, beautifully presented, and to be able to reflect with a dear friend on the loss of a long-time companion. But it wasn’t all sad. It also gave me a chance to celebrate all the joy from those two decades I had with Salem.
I’ll continue to grieve for a while, and I’ll always remember the good times. And I’ll be back next week from my break.