For those of us who have lost a dear one at some point or another, the holidays are the most difficult to get through. I still can´t get over how much I miss my parents each Christmas, and it has already been three years. But this year, there is somebody else I miss terribly: Champagne. One month ago to date, she crossed the rainbow bridge and left a vacuum in my life that I struggle every day to overcome. I keep expecting her to follow me into the bathroom for a drink from the tap, or show up in the kitchen each time I open a drawer.
The other two cats are dealing with Champagne´s absence in their own way, coming to terms with the fact they are back to being two, just like when they were given away. They say elephants never forget, but it has been my experience that cats have a pretty good memory as well, especially of trauma. Cherry and Lolita used to live together before they were given away, and nobody can tell me whether they are related or not. If they are, they are most likely mother and daughter, going by the sheer age difference, and went through the same deplorable conditions of neglect. But they were also given away together and have never forgotten. I still have not managed to wean them off certain peculiar habits they picked up from the shelter, or make them less nervous in certain situations. Time, in their case, does not heal all wounds.
When I brought up the decorations over the weekend, I kept thinking how much Champagne would have loved jumping in and out of the boxes, making a royal pest of herself but sitting in middle of the whole pile or sneaking into the Christmas tree box. Cherry and Lolita, on the other hand, ran for cover and were terrified of all the boxes and their contents. I have no idea what boxes mean to them, but it can´t be anything good. These are two Berliner cats who, unlike Champagne, hate change and freak out when I move furniture. If they could they would stubbornly nail everything to the floor and never allow me to move even a chair.
Decorating the house meant major changes and Cherry has been in hiding ever since Sunday, absolutely horrified that she barely recognises her favourite spots in the living room. No amount of coaxing with treats can drag her out, only hunger, a full bladder and thirst. Lolita, on the other hand, decided that the only familiar thing was the TV, (the sofa has a different throw cover which is new to her, or she completely forgot about), so she has been snuggling up to the TV ever since, regardless of the fact that Criminal Minds can get pretty loud and creepy. Whatever floats her boat.
What do you do when you stand on a pile of rubble? Some walk away, others will sift through the mess and take a few souvenirs. and still others will rebuild. I have tried walking away, it doesn´t help with the healing. Souvenirs of something broken I certainly don´t need, which leaves me rebuilding. Ah, that I am an expert at now, unafraid of cuts and bruises along the way, but it is the only way to heal and move on.