I believe a little part of you inside of me will never die

It has been a rough 24 hours in my household, and I’m pretty exhausted for it to only be nearly 9am on a Tuesday. Yesterday, my family and I had to make the difficult decision to put one of our cats down. His name was Smokey, and he was a grey tabby. We knew something was wrong when we came home from vacation – Smokey had grown extremely thin in the two weeks we had been gone, and we just assumed that perhaps he’d stopped eating. My mom had come to see the cats every day for us, and at some point she did notice that Smokey wasn’t coming downstairs, but I don’t think she really recognized that he wasn’t eating at all. When we got home, I tried to fatten the poor guy back up again with regularly timed meals, taking food right to where ever he was and insisting he eat and drink. The trouble is, whatever had gone wrong already had done plenty of damage, and we didn’t know how bad it really was. He did seem to begin perking up, but then last week he seemed to turn right back again, and on Monday night, he stopped responding to his name, and decided to make his new home in a corner of our downstairs bathroom (a very odd spot).  So we took him to the vet, and by then – Smokey was actually jaundiced (yellow), and the vet knew right away he was in liver failure. We have surmised along with the vet that Smokey must have starved himself in our absence, and when cats do that, they risk using up their fat storage. Their livers don’t do well with that, and they don’t bounce back easily. I feel horrible, just beyond horrible, but we had to do what was best. Try explaining that to a five year old, who is now convinced we killed our cat, not to mention my own guilt, because this entire scenario did not have to happen. Compound that with the fact that yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my friend Laurie’s death, and well – it made for a really crummy day.

I don’t know how other moms do it, but I always feel like I’m trying to juggle 50,000 balls, and quite frankly – I am not a very good juggler. I do my best, but it always feels like when I’m paying attention to one thing, something else falls down. It’s not as though I didn’t see that Smokey wasn’t feeling well, but I felt that I was handling that – and since he was eating and drinking, I believed that it would all take care of itself.  Never mind that while we were gone on vacation, I had my mom watching them for at least part of the day here. I thought I had it covered. I didn’t.

Guilt is something that I tend to experience quite a bit. I am not sure if other moms are like that, but I’m having a tough time with it right now. I suppose partially, this was brought upon myself from the very moment I decided that I was going to have children and be a stay-at-home mom, because now – it is what is expected. I don’t know where along the line I unknowingly gave up the right to my own interests and career plans, but since I have changed that directive for myself, I’ve had difficulties in justifying (to myself and others) the things I’m working on. If I’m working on writing the book, I feel like I should have been playing with my youngest. If I take time to catch up on reading – even if it’s for the blog or something else – I know in the back of my mind that I should have been getting lessons ready for my son. If I’m working on school things for my son, I should have been cleaning my house. If I dare consider going on a trip for myself, whether it’s to see the band with friends, to visit a friend, or even something that I consider work-related, I’m reminded that my kids need me and that it’s wrong to expect to be able to do something for myself. My mom is always the first to point out that my children deserve the absolute best of me, and that whenever I split my time – I’m failing them. It’s not a fair argument, and since she is my mom – she knows exactly what to say. My mom worked when I was a kid, but I think part of the problem is that my mom does not consider my book, this blog, or anything else I do to actually be work. To her it’s all fun and games, and she openly rolls her eyes when the subject comes up. It’s never easy, and I find myself pushing the ever-present guilt to the back of my mind. I’m sure I’m not the only adult out there with judgmental people in their lives who are ready and willing to point out shortcomings, failures, and points to improve – it just makes the journey arduous, and often I find myself second-guessing my own choices. Yesterday did not help.

I really don’t know how this relates to the band, other than the fact that I’m planning a convention for Duran Duran fans in October, our book – which seems to always be put on the back burner for later – is at least in part about Duran Duran fans, and the career that I am trying to carve out for myself was inspired by my fandom. It’s a juggling act, and to assume that because I don’t work outside of my home that I must have all the time in the world to do everything simply isn’t true. There’s always something that ends up on the floor because it’s been dropped or forgotten. (You should see my white board wall calendar!!)  So many of my friends mention that they don’t know how I do it all. It’s easy:  I don’t. A lot of things get pushed aside.  I’ve learned to accept that my entire house will never be clean all at the same time. My car goes without being washed from time to time…(Ok, a lot of the time)  I usually do well with the important things, but there is a very long list of low priority items that just get picked up whenever I have extra time – which isn’t often.

I will miss my Smokey-boy. I never sat still long enough for him to truly snuggle in, but we tried. I feel like I failed him in a lot of ways, but I’m glad he’s not continuing to suffer.

-R

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