Les Semaines


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Maddy (Madrigal) 1986 - 2000

MaddyMaddy & Zach 









Maddy                                                                                        Maddy & Zach

She couldn't breathe well. She wanted to eat for one or two bites, then stopped--it seemed to hurt her. She didn't want to be touched more than for a minute or two--she who was one of the most pleasure-loving cats ever.

I couldn't stand to watch her like this, so I made the vet appointment Monday morning, and Jim and I came home from work, spent a couple of hours just resting our hands against her, combing her a little, then we took her in. We stayed with her the whole time, which was strange and difficult but I'm glad we were there with her--she hated strangers and I didn't want to leave her alone without us. She was there, so unwell, so unlike herself, and then she was gone.

We're having her cremated, and we'll put her ashes by the two climbing roses that are arranged to grow up the two new trellises by the gates to the back yard.

So this week we've been mourning her, crying and laughing as we remember all her quirks. She really was a presence and a powerful personality. Our friends have been wonderful and full of sympathy (which makes me cry more, but is good).

This has been a hard crying week. I only cry every few years or so, so when I finally cry, I really cry. We've been drugging ourselves with movies to get through the evenings. I find it especially hard to go to bed--there is Jim with Zach curled beside him, and where is Maddy? Then I remember.

Of course I still expect to see her all the time, pushing open doors, curling up with Zach, coming in to demand breakfast, dinner, attention.

It's hard hard hard. Grief is a knot in the throat and in the gut. A leaden weight. A paralysis. I tell myself she was a cat, a pet, but she was my companion for 14 years, and we loved each other with everything we had in us, with a far less complicated love than you can have with another human.

Zach seems to be doing better than I would have expected. Every once in a while he looks around for her, but mostly he's enjoying being an only cat. Not for long, though. I'm not going to wait very long before getting a kitten.

I'm glad I was so conscious of the good times we had--times when the four of us were together. Especially at night in bed, when Zach would be stretched on the far side of Jim and Maddy would be lying in my arms between us, purring and kneading, then falling asleep with her head on the pillow beside me. Then she'd get too hot under the blankets, and would climb up to curl around my head, resting her chin on the side of my face. That made me so happy I was aware of being happy. A gift.

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Lots of listens to the new Patti Smith. Not much else.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Novels about death, dammit. Just what I needed. Sheesh.

Sheri Reynolds' A Gracious Plenty is a lovely lyrical novel about a woman who runs a cemetary and speaks with the dead before they move onward. She was badly burned as a child and her scars isolated her, but still she interacts with people in her local town and in the cemetary, and grows the most lucious vegetables anyway--the dead help her with that. In fact, the dead work hard at making things grow and working the weather.... Truly, this novel was so delightful that I'm going to look for other novels by this author. I can't remember where her name was mentioned in such terms that I put a hold on the library's copy of this, but I highly recommend it.

Katharine Weber's Objects in Mirror are Closer Than They Appear is a novel about friendship and how you can know so much about a person and know nothing at all. Harriet, a photographer who had a dark childhood, goes to visit her best friend (the daughter of a Holocaust survivor) who is living in Geneva and having an affair with her father's friend from Auschwitz. It's funny and sad and full of the knots of human relationships.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Not this week. I did finish the last of the series of grants due, so that's something. The main character of Gypsy Davey is named for Maddy, though her character is rather different. I am going to finish the novel, and soon. I will use the idea of it being a tribute to her as a spur.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

November 1976

611. A prayer

A prayer when my heart is falling. I thought i had things all worked out and squared away, but still there was that faint hidden hope. I learned tonight that hope is not yet dead. Lord, please kill it, purge me of it, it's not of You and i don't want it. If it's not of You, send it far away. Let me not see it (or feel it) again.

612. Help me write

Phono help me write a prose poem. It's due in a few days and i hardly know where to begin. I thought it would be easy, but now that i've tried i realize it isn't, and is sadder than i thought. I want so badly to write and write well. I ant so badly to be able to write for God. I want Him to be able to reach people through my writing. Want.

613. Just learning

I've been calling myself a Christian for a year and a half, but i'm just now realized what it's truly all about, what it's truly like. I'm beginning (beginning!) to get what i've wanted all along, a true relationship, not just the desire for a true relationship. Changes are going to come thick and fact. Thank Him!

614. Just a baby

I'm just a baby, and a slightly retarded one at that. I should have been walking a long time ago, and i'm just beginning to walk now. But i guess i had to learn things. I've done some hard learning.

615. Castles in the air

My castles in the air are burning. Falling apart, away from me. They're hard to give up. Goodbye castles, i hope i don't have time to miss you too much. I've got so much to learn and grow. (I can hardly wait. I'm beginning to understand some of the things i've been missing.)

616. What a pain

What a pain when everting you think is dead is resurrected in one evening (how insane i was to let it happen again!) [1] I guess i don't believe in ends. It's so much easier when things carry on. (I don't want it to carry on! I was so much happier with things settled. Security at last.) If there's going to be a resurrection, i want it to be a perfect one. Impossible. I'm afraid in this case i don't believe in miracles.

617. I thought i was free

I thought i was free, and i was glorying in my freedom. Then suddenly (yes suddenly) he came and threw chains on me. I tried it on him once and it didn't work; he tries it on me, and whammo! It sure would be nice if someone would free me from this. C'mon and free me, whoever you are!! (I'll find you yet, or He'll send you to me.)

618. Waiting is painful

Waiting is painful, particularly when you've got an essay you know won't be ready by the time it's due. How irritating. I hate things that hang over my head (but then again, i could have done something before, i'm sure). (But what?) I read two books ahead of time, couldn't get a hold of the third until almost too late. Too late, what terrible words.

619. Essay (write)

I wish i could write my essay this easily. Here i can fill up a page without too many hassles, but it's a different story for an essay. I usually don't know what i'm talking about (not that i do here, but...) Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Ma and Pa are drinking Kool-Aid and eating popcorn, watching Daffy Duck. It's a short tale, unlike a tall one. [2]

620. Woke up

I woke up and it was another morning. I thought they would have cancelled them by now (due to lack of interest.)


1. Paul and I had gotten together yet again.

2. I'm talking nonsense here, just in case you thought I was being literal.

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