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Monday, 8 July 2013

A Sad, Anniverary-Type Day

Stimpy's DeMille Shot
Today marks exactly three months, (also exactly thirteen weeks,) since I lost Stimpy. At noon today my reminder went off on my BlackBerry so that I could take the time to mourn as I do almost every week. I think about him, talk to him, and look at pictures of him. And cry, of course. There's no getting around that part. It's cathartic. Losing him was, and is, so painful for me, that the only way I can handle it is to purposely give myself that focused period of mourning. I spent almost every moment with Stimpy, while he was alive and with me, so there's a huge emptiness in my life now that he's gone. I have Pepper, who helps me through it, but that will never negate the loss of Stimpy.

When I say I spent almost every moment with him, I mean it. I don't leave the house a lot. I had to go out to Edmonton a few years ago, and I was gone for a week. It nearly killed me. When I was still running my business, I was running it from home, and if Stimpy was awake I was playing with him, or just paying attention to him. I think there was a part of me that just knew I wouldn't have him for very long. He always seemed so delicate to me, and for the only time in my life I can honestly say that I completely cherished him and never once took him for granted. We do that with loved ones all the time, not thinking about the fact that we might not have them tomorrow. I didn't do that with him. It's something that comforts me a great deal, but it doesn't make me miss him any less.

One mental picture and sensation that sticks in my mind is the Stimpy nose-bump. I'd be holding him in my arms, much like people hold human infants, and if my face was near his he would bump my nose with his. I remember so well the feel of his tiny, cold, wet nose touching mine, as he looked straight into my eyes. That was him telling me he loved me. I've mentioned this before, but he did it on the day he died, too. As weak as he was, he had a little accident and his backside got a bit messy. I knew he was going to go soon, so I debated whether or not to give him a bath, or just wipe it up as best I could. Well, I gave him a half-bath which seemed to liven him up a little bit, and was holding him in a towel in my arms. He leaned up to me and gave me not just one, but two, nose bumps. It was breaking my heart, but I knew then he was leaving me.

An hour later, Stimpy started to make noises from his bed. I picked him up again, knowing he had to be uncomfortable at this point. Thankfully, as hard as it was to lose him, he wasn't in pain for long. I knew he had to go. I would never have wanted his suffering to be prolonged. At the same time I'm still so angry that nothing could be done to help him. Cancer is a terrible thing, whether it's in humans or animals. In Stimpy's case he had tumours in both kidneys, as well as his pancreas. Pancreatic cancer is deadly, particularly if you can't provide treatment. I would have taken him for chemotherapy, no matter what it cost, had that been a viable option. It provides only an 11% survival rate, however, and in Stimpy's case it wouldn't have been that much even, as chemo adversely affects the kidneys. His were already double the normal size. The chemo would most likely have just killed him outright. Putting him through the torture of chemo wouldn't have been worth it.

Once we finally knew what was really wrong with him, after well over a year of vet appointments and tests, the vet put him on prednisone. It gave him back a decent life for about three weeks, and I'm so grateful to have been given that time. He was playing again, and actually pretending to bite us during playtime. He was his old self again. We knew it couldn't last, but we were thankful he had those last weeks of happiness.

My heart still breaks every damn day. I still talk to him and miss him all the time, but I don't really focus on it emotionally or deeply, except for when I have my reminders set. I mean, I'd never forget about him in general, but I set the reminders so the time doesn't pass unknowingly. We all have our grieving rituals, and this is mine. Part of me still doesn't know what what to do without him, but I guess I'm already doing it. After three months I still picture him around the apartment.

Pepper now does all these weird little things that make him look identical to Stimpy, and they were actually nothing alike, personality-wise. Stimpy was gentle and Pepper is a total scamp. He likes to nip at my feet and scoot away backwards while making a laughing sound, and I'd swear that he is actually laughing, too. Even his expression, with his mouth open and his head wagging back and forth, looks like he laughing. It's a really good thing he's such a funny little brat, because I need that in my life right now. He was making me laugh the same day that Stimpy died, and he's been doing it every day since. There's just something special about that happy mischief.

Having given two ferrets a forever-home, as it's called, I will be rescuing more as soon as possible. Once I'm assured that vet bills will be covered okay, I'll be off to the closest ferret shelter - it's in Mississauga. I'm going to ask them to give me the one(s) that are most desperately in need of a new home. I already know I'm going to love them, no matter what their personalities or difficulties, so there's no need to be picky. I don't care what colour they are, or if they're deaf or blind - they're getting a home. It's not just for my sake, or even theirs, but for Pepper's as well. He's a ferret that needs companionship. He's sleeping too much these days, and I can't play like a ferret can. I do spend time playing with him every day, and my daughter does, too, but it's not the same as a furry friend. Stimpy was perfectly content as a single ferret, but Pepper isn't. He's actually curling up and sleeping with the cats now, and he's being a lot nicer to them when he tries to play with them. He needs another ferret, though, and so do we.

I'm sure a lot of people would say what I actually need is a social life, if I'm this fixated on my ferrets. I'm working on it, believe it or not. I've actually got plans to go out tonight, even if it's just for coffee. I'll be around human adults. My ex has finally moved into the other bedroom, but he's still managing to be The Invisible Man, so we don't spend a lot of time chatting. My daughter is on her computer as much as I am, which is saying something, so we don't spend much time chatting either. Tonight I'll be talking to a real, live human, possibly for hours. Considering the fact that I have a cold, and I'm not used to talking that much these days, we'll see how long my voice holds up.

I did finally manage to do a load of laundry last night, so at least I'm not going out in my pajamas - or naked, as that would be so much worse...for everyone. I learned an irritating fact about the dryers in this building, however. One has an 'out of order' sign on it, and the other one doesn't work at all. Interesting. I only did one load, so at least I was able to hang everything up right away to dry. I've got my clothes picked out for tonight. All that remains is to shower and do something with this cold so that I don't look like a total zombie. I might actually have to resort to make-up. *shudder*