Monday, March 23, 2009

Please Don't Squeeze the Calico

Lucy was my first cat. She slept around my head at night smothering my nostrils with loose calico fur. Mom would come in and remove the furry ear muffs from my bed every night in fear of suffocation. It was my bed that Lucy gave birth to kittens under when dad thought that she was "leaking water" in the house. Yet for some reason, we always seemed to find some sort of torture for our lovable kitty.

My younger brother, Jeremy, used to tell me that if you squeezed Lucy hard enough, she would say "Matt!!". We continuously squeezed poor Lucy until she would scream out the name. Well, one time, Lucy got mad and rather tired of screaming "Matt" and decided to scratch and bite me in order to get me to stop. I screamed at the top of my lungs and mom came down to rescue me. Just like she would do to me and my brothers when we were in trouble, she held Lucy next to me and told her to tell me "sorry". Somehow, Lucy's unspoken "sorry" made me feel all the more better and we continued being friends.

Mom would later find Jeremy to be the culprit of another crime to the cat. Mom used to Vaseline Jeremy's nose because it would frequently get chapped from being a snotty little kid. Jeremy, decided that this vaseline could make a wonderful costume for the kitty. He smeared Lucy with vaseline from head to toe. Mom came into the room to find a cat that looked more like a rat, covered in a greasy substance. She instantly tried to put Lucy into the bath tub but Lucy decided that she would rather have to deal with her new costume then ever step foot into the bath tub. Mom ended up a scratched mess and Lucy won that battle. She would be named "the cat that looked like a rat" by our neighbors for months later.

There were many more incidents to shape Lucy's life within our house--including getting slammed in a door that resulted in a bented tail--but Lucy always came back to my bed at night and nestled around my head.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Death. I have always been afraid of it. In fact, I've been searching for a blog to write about for months. I realized that I was in fact just avoiding this blog and this topic.

I used to tell my friends not to talk about death around me. I wouldn't even say the word. I disguised the word by calling it "The 'D' Word". Many of my relatives have passed on throughout my lifetime but none of it seemed to really sink in until this past January.

On January 9th, I received a spine tingling voicemail on my phone from my boyfriend, Andy, about the death of his brother. Never has it hit so hard as it did then. I had met Matt on multiple occasions before. We helped Andy roof his house that past summer. We had seen him just weeks earlier at Christmas dinner. He had been wrestling on the floor with Andy. And then the night before, he had called Andy to borrow his snowmobile helmet. I had heard his voice on the phone right next to me.

I've been trying hard to be the support that Andy needs. I was there at his side for all of the preparations and the funeral. It is hard to see someone that you love so much going through so much pain. Sometimes I wish I could rewind time. I wish I could do the impossible and bring Matt back to his brother and family. I wish I could have gotten to know him more.

My mind starts to wonder more lately. I've started to think hard about life. I believe in God and know that Matt is with him in heaven right now. Sometimes I just wish I could give Andy some sort of assurance that Matt is up there looking down right now. I want him to have one last conversation with his brother. I wish we could write letters to Matt and he could send them down to us from heaven. I feel like such a child for saying such strange things.

What will it be like up there for the rest of us? I start to become worried about everything. I worry about driving to work every day in traffic. Or those around me driving to work. You never know when it will happen and who will be taken from us next. I know that there will be more around me. We don't live forever and I've come to face what I fear the most. I want to spend time with those around me more and more. I want to cherish every living moment I have.

And yet...I'm still so scared. I think we all are.

Or most of us. I went back and researched the death of a high school friend who died of bone cancer. They had a quote in the paper about one of the final things that she said. She talked about how she was ready to go. She felt like she had led a good life and she was ready. How brave! I wish I could be half as brave as she was at the age of 20.

I am writing so that maybe I can put these fears aside and live the life I have. Cherish the moments you have. Love life as it is lived.