The sadness zombie

I don’t like zombies. I don’t find them funny or offensive or ironic or anything but annoying. And yet here I am describing myself as a sadness zombie because I can think of no other words to describe how I feel. I lurch about the empty-feeling Supergenius HQ without engaging my brain. When my brain engages I cry, and my eyes are sore from all the crying. I’ve spent hours since Saturday with my glasses off, head tipped back, and the cool bottom of my water bottle resting on one of my eyes in hopes of reducing the swelling.

Today, though, is better than yesterday. Yesterday was six episodes of Dawson’s Creek while working mindlessly on the sorts of projects that didn’t require too much thought. Yesterday was listening to the songs “Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken” by Camera Obscura and “Are you Ready to be Heartbroken” by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions twenty-two times in a row (this was before the Dawson’s marathon). I even pondered for half a minute downloading “Broken-hearted Savior” by Big Head Todd and the Monsters, but my brain came roaring back to life for 32 seconds and screamed “OH HELL NO.”

The irony here, if you go for that kind of thing, is that I never wanted to be a woman who blogged about her cats. For a long time, I was so much not the woman who blogged about her cats that my friends didn’t believe I actually had cats. It was the fear of being labelled a Crazy Cat Lady that kept me from writing about my cats. But eventually, I reached the point in my life where I didn’t give a damn what people think, and wrote about cat-penguin love and donut hole stealing.

Now, all I want to do is write about my damn dead cat because the mourning feels so singular, so lonely. He was my cat, and mine alone. I never shared him with anyone, and now I feel like it’s my job to make sure people know he existed and that he was important to me.

Madison, or as I often called him Mad Season (because of that 90s alterna-supergroup), was the one constant in the last sixteen and a half years of my life. Roommates, boyfriends, friends, jobs, they all came and went, with Madison by my side. In fact, once around the turn of the century I chose Madison over a boyfriend. The asshole had decided that if he and I were to move in together that Madison would have to go. I decided instead that the asshole should just go.

Paco, who has always been a pretty needy cat, is even needier now that Madison is gone. He spends a lot of time perched on the footstool (on top of my feet). This picture breaks my heart a little not because my house is a mess (careful picture viewers will see the Dawson’s Creek boxset splayed on the floor), but because in the background there is only one peanut butter cup where there used to be two.

I took Madison to the vet in his. He died in it, which I like to think he appreciated. It was one of his favorite spots, well that and the folded up paper bag next to the refrigerator. When I got home from the vet on Saturday, I threw Madison’s peanut butter cup right in the garbage. I thought having it there would be more painful than not having it there, next to Paco’s.

I was wrong, because it’s all painful. Walking from the garage into Supergenius HQ is painful, because I open the door and immediately look for Madison. He was a greet you at the door kind of cat. Being in the kitchen is painful because Madison was a demander and would want his water or food freshened every time you walked into the damn room. Eating breakfast, or well, frankly, anything is painful because Madison who was raised, that last semester I was in college, on Potato Oles and McDonald’s French fries, was a beggar. I always gave him the last sip of milk from my cereal bowl.

There’s nothing else to say. I’ve determined sadness zombies don’t need conclusions because saying anything other than I am sad and I miss my cat just takes more than I’m willing to give right now. Though I should say thank you. Thank you for your kind words of condolences and indulging me during my mourning.

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  1. Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog 21.Feb.12 at 4:39 pm

    Oh, Jodi. I am so sorry. And thank you for sharing this. I’m currently living in the delusion that my 6-year-old dog is immortal, and I know my own sadness zombie days await. Take your time, sit with it, and know that we’ll all be here when you’re ready to write conclusions again.

  2. chuck 21.Feb.12 at 4:40 pm

    I’m so sorry…I lost two of my long longtime feline companions this year. There are still little things (like a tiny catfood fork) that remind me of them. Take comfort in Paco and knowing you were the best mommy. And? Seriously think about getting a new kitty or kitten. Not a replacement, but a new journey.

  3. Christa 21.Feb.12 at 5:45 pm

    Ugh, so sorry, Jodi. This pet stuff is brutal business. I remember wondering at some point “Am I ever going to stop crying? Because it doesn’t seem like it.”

    Thinking of you, friend.

  4. Angela 21.Feb.12 at 6:50 pm

    I am so sorry. It’s just the hardest thing, isn’t it? The thing is, it just has to hurt and there’s nothing you can do about it until it hurts less and less and finally you canbear it. But it never goes away. And that’s ok.

  5. Peabo 21.Feb.12 at 10:30 pm

    I’ve thought of you every day since it happened, and each time I well up, because I get it. To a single person, a pet is so much more than a pet. I know the marrieds and the families love their pets fully and completely, but there’s something to be said for an animal that is asked to fill the space of a fellow human being’s companionship and rises to that challenge. It’s a tall order, and Madison met it with a level of commitment that most cats don’t. Sixteen and a half years. That’s love, right there.

    So, wallow. Be sad. Mourn. There’s no time limit, no right or wrong, no rules. Whatever you do is right. And Paco will change…he’s mourning too. When my Simon died, Favre became a completely different chinchilla–in a good way, fortunately. The vet said it would happen and I didn’t believe her–I was all “Dude, they’re rodents.” But it’s true.

    And one of the best proven healers of a broken heart is Grumpy’s tator tots. So, when you’re ready, let’s go get some. I’ll wear my pajamas.

  6. Lesley 22.Feb.12 at 10:29 am

    I love to read about your personal stuff, even the very sad stuff, because it comes right out of your heart and into mine and comforts me. Sensitivity is the two-edged sword. The happy is more intense, but so is the sad. *hug*

  7. Caryn 22.Feb.12 at 1:23 pm

    It’s hard, it’s just so hard.

    The best thing I did was let myself write about my cat’s passing, and let myself publish it – even though my boyfriend said “Isn’t that a little too personal?” Yeah, but so what?

    So, so sorry for your loss.

  8. Amy 29.Feb.12 at 10:56 pm

    I’m so sorry. I lost my own beautiful orange and white boy cat in November, and while I am no longer constantly sobbing it’s still hard. I still have two and the young upstart has decided I am claimable territory now (she previously loved my husband and kids but realized I was clearly taken) but people who don’t love pets will never understand that deep soul bond with your special snimal. All I can offer is it gets better.


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