my old kitty cat died eleven days ago. she was 19 years old. she was more than my pet, she was my familiar. she didn’t die of old age. i had to make the decision to euthanize her. only i didn’t make the decision. i listened when she let me know on that saturday that the day had arrived to let her go.
all addicts have at least one feeling they will do anything to avoid feeling. for me, that feeling is grief. for the past thirty years i have done anything to avoid feeling grief. i have endangered myself with my addictions in order to avoid feeling grief. the most dangerous of my addictions has been my attraction to destructive love relationships. the day i euthanized my old kitty cat i ended up alone with the one person with the power to hurt me the most. i walked away from that person that night with hate in my eyes, rage in my clenched jaw, tension in my calves that were ready to fight or flight, and fear in my guts. feeling this grief i’ve avoided for my whole life might safe my life. i’ve begun to grieve a lifetime of ungrieved griefs that have gotten stuck in my throat, that cramp my fingers and toes, that paralyze my digestion, that slow down every thought that passes through my crying mind.
grieving is uncomfortable. that’s what my therapist said yesterday. that sentiment is grossly understated. the gray blobby monster of darkness has swallowed me. i’m inside grief. i’m inside every grief i’ve avoided feeling for my entire life. hell yes, i ache. fuck yeah, grief frightens me. but, i’m here now, feeling it, and i’m safer inside this gray blobby monster than i’ve been inside every destructive love relationship i’ve used to avoid grief.
i’m bigger than grief, or at least a fair match for this gray blobby monster of darkness. inside this grief, my old kitty cat waits for me, teaching me about the grace required to softly, gently, and vulnerably open to feel what i’ve avoided feeling since i was a child. grief has lessons for me that i can learn nowhere else. i’m sitting in the classroom, sick to my stomach, pen and paper poised to take notes.