This has been a very emotional week.
The sorrow was the loss of my elderly orange-and-white Cornish Rex cat. His death was not unexpected – he was eighteen and a half and had been sick for several days with all the symptoms of pancreatitis. I thought he was turning the corner because, after three or four days of zero appetite, he asked for chicken at lunchtime Saturday and also ate some dry food.
Saturday night he spent a little time on my bed, which I also took as a good sign, as he had been sleeping on the couch since he got sick. When I woke up, I didn’t see him in any of his usually napping places, so I went to the computer, expecting him to come jump on my lap and help me type.
When he didn’t show up, I went looking for him again. I spotted him on the floor, motionless, between the couch and the potted ficus tree. I understand that cats usually look for an unusual place to die, preferably a small enclosed one. The space between the pot and the wall would have been ideal, but he didn’t quite make it.
The grief is so strong this time around! It has kicked up left-over grief from my two previous cats, the two dogs from my adult life, and the two dogs from my childhood. The animals from my adulthood were all eased out of life by their veterinarians and the childhood pets were “returned to the breeder so that they could have puppies.” I sincerely doubt that was so; I believe they were sacrificed. This was the first natural death (except for mice and hamsters) that I have experienced.
And it was the first time that the death of an animal stirred up grief for the people in my life that I have lost. Perhaps it was because it was a natural death, perhaps because I am older now and death is closer to the forefront of my mind.
Besides the grief, I have had to contend with urges to do things to his body that are reminiscent of things that were done in the cult when an animal was sacrificed. The urges are strong, but I know that I will not act on them. It feels good to be so sure I am in control of my behavior that the images in my mind do not make me anxious. I can remember times when I was not as confident and I was terrified that the urges would overpower me. Now they are only an opportunity to process death in the cult at a deeper level.
Enough of the sorrow; now on to the joy.
I have a very good friend who had been extremely sick (not COVID) and was hospitalized for over a month. Everybody, including him, expected him to die, but he fooled his friends and family, his doctors, and himself and made it through. He is now discharged home and gaining his strength back.
During the period when it was touch and go, I remembered all the good times we had had together and cried a lot. We went back a long time – to our teens – so there was a lot to cry over. There was laughter mixed in with the tears and that made me happy even as I was grieving. Now my heart is light again! Of course, since he is the human equivalent of eighteen-and-a-half cat years he probably won’t be with us for a long, long time, but every day is precious. Always has been, always will be.
I don’t feel comfortable saying much more – I don’t like talking about other people. So on to the other joy.
This one isn’t as dramatic, and that is just fine by me. I had a birthday last week and celebrated with a ZOOM call with my family. Last year it was a bigger celebration because I had asked all my nieces and nephews and their spouses and kids. I had also asked everybody to provide themselves with a cake (preferably chocolate with raspberry jam filling and chocolate fudge icing) and celebrate with me. There was one slice of last year’s cake in the freezer but I forgot all about it and so we all had a cakeless celebration.
No cake, no candles, no presents, but lots of love and another good memory for all. We had such a good time that we started talking about doing it for other family members’ birthdays. That would average out to just under one ZOOM celebration a month!
For years I had dreaded my birthday because birthdays were so horrible when I was a child. For a good twenty years, I didn’t know why I could barely tolerate them, and then – boom! bye-bye, amnesia! – I totally got it. I was happy to celebrate others’ birthdays, but not mine. I acted out in behavior the feelings of wishing to have never been born.
I asked for no presents on my birthday or Christmas. To make up for it, my family received presents at random times during the year and one set of grandkids got presents on Lobster Day. That was fine by them. I tried to institute a form of Lobster Day with the other set, but they thought it was too hokey and rejected the idea.
When I turned eighty, though, I realized I was depriving my kids of happy memories and asked for a big bash. No presents for me, just a request to pay something forward. That was shortly after I had decided to say “fuck the camera phobia.” Suddenly, avoiding cameras no longer seemed a loving, self-protective thing to do; it seemed selfish. I was going to leave photos for my kids to remember me by no matter how uncomfortable it made me.
It wasn’t as hard as I had anticipated, and it was great preparation for the ZOOM days ahead.
I’ve always known that I could be happy about some things and sad about other things at the same time, but one emotion has always been far more powerful at the time than the other. This time they were pretty well balanced.
9/29 Michaelmas/Feast of Archangel Michael and of all Angels
9/22 Fall Equinox
10/11 (?) Columbus Day
10/13 Backward Halloween
10/20 Full Moon
10/31 Halloween/start of Celtic New Year/start of the dark half of the year
11/1 All Saints’ Day
11/2 All Souls’ Day
11/4 Satanic Revels
11/11 (?) Veterans’ Day
11/18-19 Partial Lunar Eclipse
11/19 Full Moon
11/25 Thanksgiving Day (United States)
11/28 First Sunday of Advent
11/30 St Andrew’s Day
Sundays of advent: 11/28, 12/5, 12/12, 12/19
12/4 Total Solar Eclipse
12/18 Full Moon
12/24 Christmas Eve
12/21 Winter solstice/Yule/St. Thomas’ Day
12/25 Christmas Day
12/31 New Year’s Eve
Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
9/21 – 9/27 Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles, Jewish harvest festival
10/4 Hitler’s alternate half-birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual half-birthday, 10/20, and his alternate half-birthdate six months after Easter, which falls on 4/4 this year.)
10/16 Death of Rosenburg
10/19 Death of Goering
10/20 Hitler’s half-birthday
11/29 -12/16 Chanukah/Hanukkah (Jewish Festival of Lights)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.)
You can find more information on the following holidays at:
Fall Equinox – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/
Halloween (personal) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/
Halloween (background) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/
Thanksgiving – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/thanksgiving/
Yule/Winter Solstice – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/
Candlemas – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/
Valentine’s Day – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/valentines-day/
Spring Equinox – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-spring-equinox/
Easter: personal – (for background, see Spring Equinox) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/easter-blues/
Walpurgisnacht/May Eve – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/walpurgisnacht/
Beltane – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/beltane/
Mothers’ Day – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/
Fathers’ Day – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/ritual-abuse-and-fathers-day/
Summer Solstice (corrected text) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/well-this-is-embarrassing/
Lammas – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1 – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-feast-of-the-beast/
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2 – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/feast-of-the-beast-part-ii/