PLEASE NOTE: If you are struggling with infertility or are currently trying to conceive and you DON'T want to read about my pregnancy (which I totally understand), I recommend starting at the beginning of the blog (March 2010) and reading from there. I find out I'm pregnant in June 2011 so there is a lot of trying to conceive posts in between that you might find funny, helpful or relatable. Wishing you all the luck in the world!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Patches

I never had a pet growing up. My mom was never a fan of cats or dogs so in turn; no one in my house was allowed to have one. The closest I ever came to any kind of pet was the goldfish I won at a Fireman’s fair when I was eight years old. The fish died a week later and I quickly moved on.

A few years ago, my landlord at the time was this lovely older woman named Mrs. Perez. She had a cat named Athena that had been with her through her divorce, the death of her nephew and her heart attack. Athena was a beautiful, friendly cat who I nicknamed “The Mayor” because she was often seen roaming the hallways checking in on the different tenants. Whenever I saw Athena in the hallway, she’d rub past my leg as her form of hello and I’d always smile, say hello back and then go about my business.

I had lived there for about four years when I ran into Mrs. Perez in the lobby one day. I asked her how she was and she quickly dissolved into tears. She could barely manage to tell me that Athena had to be put down. They couldn’t figure out what exactly had happened but out of nowhere, the cat stopped eating and was despondent. I felt terrible for Mrs. Perez and hugged her but I couldn’t help but she shocked that someone could get this upset over a cat. I remember vividly her saying to me, “Athena loved me no matter what. No matter what I looked like or what was going on… that cat loved me unconditionally."

When I got married, my husband and I moved out of Mrs. Perez’s building and into a bigger apartment in a family brownstone. It was around this time that we started trying to conceive and obviously, it was not going well. We entered the year 2010 trying inseminations and began planning for our first IVF.

Those who read my blog regularly know that 2010 in general has NOT been a kind year to us. We’ve had financial issues, doctor drama, fertility disappointments and insurance disasters. At one point this year, our house was even hit by lightning. The one bright spot however was our downstairs neighbor got a kitten named Patches. He was black and white and just had a happy, loving attitude about him. Despite the shelter saying that kittens need time to explore their surroundings to feel comfortable, Patches started coming up to our apartment within a month. We had no idea at the time that he’d become a part of our daily lives.

The neighbor downstairs have several dogs and cats so Sam and I often joked that whenever Patches felt like he needed to be the only pet, he’d come upstairs and hang out with us. What’s amazing to me is we never fed him. He didn’t come up for food. He solely came up to hang out with us, get some affection and very often, just take a nap without being hassled by the other animals.

In a year of so much stress, Patches was a desperately needed source of entertainment and distraction. He also always seemed to know the right time to visit. The afternoon in May that I found out my IVF failed, I was home alone. Patches came upstairs (you could always hear his tags outside our door whenever he arrived) and he ended up lying next to me for two hours. We even took a nap together.

Whenever my husband would come home after a hard day of work, he’d always go to our landing and go, “Patches! You around?” and Patches would come up the stairs running to see him. Really, if was Patches friend, Sam was Patches best friend for life. The two of them adored each other tremendously. There were even times if Patches saw Sam wasn’t home, he’d politely leave as if to say, “Love you but let me know when the big guy is back.”

A week ago, Patches came up and saw our Christmas tree. We had just put it up and Patches seemed to be in awe. Sam and I realized it was going to be his first Christmas. We were laughing at the way Patches was absolutely freaking out over how cool the ornaments were that hung on the lower branches. He would playfully bat them around and would look at us like, “Seriously! How cool is this???” For the next couple of days, he’d come by, play with some of the ornaments and then take a nap under the Christmas tree. As much as I’ve never been a pet person, I couldn’t help but find his holiday routine utterly adorable.

Last night, I was in my bedroom when I heard Sam talking to someone at the door. I assumed it was Patches but as I listed longer, I realized it was our downstairs neighbor. He had come to tell us that Patches passed away. No explanation other than they found him and he was gone. He wasn’t even a full year yet. He never even made it to his first Christmas.

Sam thanked our neighbor, shut the door, walked into the bedroom and looked at me. Neither of us said a word. We both began to cry. We continued to cry on and off for the rest of the night.

This year has sucked and a part of me feels like somehow, Patches became a causality of our bad luck. It’s like the universe somehow found out that there was something that really helped us this year and made sure to take it away. I know that’s a bit overdramatic and slightly paranoid but what can I say. I’m hurt that this has happened and I can’t make any sense of it.

In my more positive moments, I am sincerely grateful that we had him during a very challenging time. He truly came into our lives when we needed some “unconditional affection” as Mrs. Perez had put it earlier. We have nothing but positive memories of Patches and as sad as I am right now and as pissed at myself as I am for getting so attached, it can’t change how much we loved him.

In the middle of the night last night, I couldn’t sleep thinking about all this. I went to our living room, sat on the couch and cried. At one point, I happened to look up at the Christmas tree and for the first time ever in my life, I really got what Mrs. Perez felt about Athena. I really got why people are so heart broken when they lost a pet. Whether I looked like hell, whether I was infertile, whether I was down… no matter what was going on… that cat loved me. I’m going to miss him more than I can possibly say.

31 comments:

sienna said...

omg, this made me so sad. poor patches. ugh. big hugs to you and dh. try not to look at it as the universe taking away the only bit of comfort you've had in the last year. i'm clinging to the hope/thought that your luck is about to change in the IF dept and you don't necessary need patches anymore. i'm sure he's rooting for you wherever he is :o) xoxo.

Mama Novus said...

Losing an animal is a truly unique heartbreak, and one not easily healed. I'm so sorry.

Sarah Q said...

this made me cry so much. My cat has been the source of so much comfort through my own infertility journey and I can't imagine him gone.

Big hugs to you! I'm glad that you had him when you did.

Becs said...

Damn you! My coworkers probably think I'm crazy because I gasped and starting crying. I am sorry poor little Patches is gone.

I am the first to admit that I am a crazy dog lady and my pets are my life. We recently spent a fortune trying to save our dog because she was really, really sick.

There is nothing better than coming home after a shitty day to your pet. They are ALWAYS happy to see you no matter what. I completely understand being upset over losing Patches and I am so, so sorry.

arohanui said...

I'm so sorry that 2010 has been such an awful year for you, I can truly relate. Poor little Patch, I understand how much you will be grieving his loss. I have never quite understood those who don't love their animals this way.

I'm not sure if this will help, but I read this post recently and your experience with Patch brought it to mind. It may resonate with you.

http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2007/12/in-which-i-disc.html

I wish you great success in 2011 *hugs*

lowfatlady said...

*hugs* I am so sorry about patches. That is so sad that he was so young. Thinking of you.

ADSchill said...

Pets really can make such a difference in your life. I never really had a pet before I got married, but now that I have a dog, I can't imagine my life without him. He is such a source of comfort and happiness.
I'm sorry for your loss...

http://missconception-ads.blogspot.com/

Courtney said...

*tears* I cherish the moments with my Lucy, she knows just how to console me when I'm blue.

I'm so incredibly sorry to hear that Patches passed away. Losing a furbaby is so incredibly heartbreaking. I'm sorry you have to feel this pain as well my friend.

C said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.. My dog has been a great comfort to me during our ttc struggle and I couldn't imagine my life without him. :(

Kakunaa said...

Oh, sweetie. I had this big smile on my face reading this...and now I just want to cry at the end. What a terrible end to the year, and a young life.

I am so, so sorry, and I feel your grief. HUGS

lady pumpkin said...

animals are present in a way that is beyond us people. i am so sorry that you and sam lost patches, but am glad for the ray of sunshine he was for you this year, when it sounds as though you really needed it. sending hugs.

Anonymous said...

I can't stop crying... gosh, what a wuss I am. it didn't even happen to me,and yet I'm so sad... i can only imagine what you are feeling right now. I have two dogs and i know what you mean about the unconditional love pets can give. Losing it is horrible.
But all these bad things should end soon. It can't go on forever. Every night ends eventually and the break of dawn comes. Your sun will shine soon too. It has too. There is only so much bad things that a person can handle. Next year will be luckier and happier for you.... at least that's what I feel and wish for you from my whole heart!!!!
big hugs

kkasun said...

I am so sorry to hear about Patches. He sounded wonderful. Pets really are a great source of comfort, especially during IF when you want to be a hermit and shut yourself out from everyone else.

kateypie35 said...

I am so sorry for your loss - and I completely understand. I still miss a kitty that died over 10 years ago - there was just something so special about that cat. Sounds like Patches was the same...I am so sorry.

heartincharge said...

What a beautiful tribute to Patches. I am so sorry for your loss but I am so happy that you Patches in your life to bring you joy when you needed it and when you didn't know you you needed it. You brought joy to Patches' life too, you know. You were a special part of his brief life.

Anonymous said...

My heart breaks for you, my friend. The sudden losses are the worst.

the2weekwait said...

I just want to take a moment and sincerely thank you for all your comments. This really is the first time I've experienced the loss of a pet and I felt a little embarassed about how intensely I was taking it. It's been a comfort to know others understand. Truly - thank you.

Tara dS said...

Your post made me cry too. I lost my cat, Dante, on Feb 6, 2009. He was run over by a car and I was also in the midst of infertility struggles. I've had other cats who lived a long time and died of natural causes and it was still sad but not as heartbreaking as the sudden, unexpected, violent loss of Dante. I am so sorry for your loss and I hope that throughout your life, you will feel the special love that pets can bring.

Do I Have to Be a D.I.N.K.? said...

Sweet Patches....so sorry to read this.

myTTCstory said...

That's so sad! I'm a cat and dog person and have always had pets so know how you feel.

Poor Patches, bet he's in a place full of cool Christmas baubles to play with.

Natalie said...

That is so sad, and I totally understand about the whole sucky 2010. I feel like you and I are living almost parallel lives right now. Infertility struggles and insurance struggles, add in a mix of furlough days and a 20% pay cut and you have my life for the last year. All I can say is hang in there. Maybe this is a phase that we just have to survive, and some day things will be much better. I hope, right?! I also had to get rid of my dog this year (my allergies got out of hand) and I have been dealing with so much guilt to have to give him away. I can really understand how hard it was to loose Patches from your life.

Tanya said...

I hope next year gets better, you really made me cry at the office reading your story.

Conceptionally Challenged said...

Oh no. I'm so sorry. He sounds like such a wonderful cat.

Lisa Rouff, Ph.D. said...

This is such a well-written, amazing, and heart-breaking post. I'm so sorry about Patches! Your experience with him made me think about how you and your husband realized that you have hidden capacities to get attached to and love someone else, even if originally you didn't think you could.

I hope that 2011 brings you wonderful things. Thank you for sharing this post!

Jenna said...

Awe Patches :( This story made me really sad. I myself have four pets (we call ourselves the mini-zoo) and I can't imagine losing one of them. I keep telling them to remember that they're immortal. :)

Michelle said...

Crying my eyes out. I am so sorry about Patches. What a wonderful and smart cat. I'm glad he got to play with your tree if only for short time. Damn. Damn. You need a good 2011. *hugs*

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss...

My Infertile Confessions said...

I totally teared up reading this! I'm so sorry for your loss(es)! I hope 2011 brings much more joy and new surprises!

Janis said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Patches! I can't imagine losing a little friend at this time in your life. But I also think that when a door closes, a window opens so maybe Patches will somehow help you get the baby that you've been waiting for. Sending you a giant hug!

Cristy said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I know how painful it is to lose a friend, especially during such trying times. But he will always be with you and your husband. He loved you both and loved ones never really leave us.

I hope 2011 is a better year for all of us.

YVRunner said...

It's mid 2012 and I'm reading your blog from beginning to end! I am also on the fertility journey, about to embark on IVF#3 (third time is a charm??). Still waiting for success.

I just want to say that I love your blog and literally LOL at my desk at the office as well as break down in tears sharing your pain. I'm so sorry 2010 was a crap year. RIP Patches.

Post a Comment