Christmas Card Letter 2015 (42)

red Christmas ornament in snow

Yesterday, the tenth day after my cat Sable died, I woke up happy for the first time in a long while. Today I wake up in the almost dark, Venus still vibrant in the southern sky and the solar Christmas lights glowing on the guayaba tree outside my window. It’s the first morning I don’t cry. The shock has lessened, though in moments I still reel. Sofia died in September. It’s hard to believe it’s only me here now, our little family of three gone. I glimpse things I’ll be able to do now without them, visits to friends, to Wilbur, to Mami, even just here in town, gone long hours, nothing tugging me home. Small snatches of excitement spark in me, mixed with a kind of guilt it’s easy to brush aside. I know I would gladly have stayed put to care for them forever. I miss those gentle tethers. Now it’s just me and the birds and the field mouse I met the other day in the shed. The house finch are loud and cheerful through the open kitchen window as I write. It makes a difference. My best truth today is knowing how much I cherished them, knowing I didn’t take them for granted. Sitting under the umbrella in the courtyard, the two of them napping on their pillows nearby, their furry forms relaxed in boneless cat abandon, and me knowing life didn’t get better than this. The sound of Sable clomping down the hallway, a galloping horse, the only way to run on this laminate flooring, and my heart lifting for his mad cat glee. And waking on a cold night warm beneath the down blankets, their small weights pressed against me making me feel like the luckiest woman in the world. I feel it still. And I know sweet things lie ahead. I cradle my big loss low in my arms, soft against my belly, grateful and alive. May the year ahead lie easy and dear to each of us.

[written on December 19th]

4 thoughts on “Christmas Card Letter 2015 (42)

  1. It’s 8 AM in Texas, where I’m spending Christmas with my parents. Loved this piece about your cats, your grief, and the slow process of lifting out of it. I’m glad to read that optimism about the future is also a part of your experience now, Riba. It’s 72 degrees here, humid and quiet on this Christmas morning. I’m a grateful reader of your beautifully expressed thoughts. Here’s wishing you the happiest of holidays!

  2. about noon, not real far from your Wilbur. Frost looked like snow this morning. Can barely write, tears in eyes, frog in throat, after reading your Christmas post. But have to say something. Bart’s brave and gracious note emboldens my fingers to type this. Sending thoughts for a gentle, peaceful Christmas in Texas, California, and beyond.

  3. Oh, thank you both so much. I was at my mom’s for Christmas and have been relishing the rarity of not needing to go online. These sweet posts waiting for me make my own throat tighten, too. It is gratitude and love, I think. Thank you.

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