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June 20th, 2005

Not Knowing is the Worst

Despite it all, we had a nice weekend. We had family & friends over Saturday evening for dinner, and it was a nice distraction from the big, gaping hole in the household where JoJo should be.

Sometimes I hold up amazingly well - so well it surprises me, and then I feel guilty. Other times, I lose it. I go off and cry alone so as not to upset Baret, who can't talk about it or cry about it like I can. He grieves differently. It makes it more difficult. It puts up this silent, stony wall between us; an unscalable mountain of grief. It makes me feel very alone. Sometimes we're going on about our menial, day-to-day household crap and it's like the massive, bulky elephant standing in the living room that no one is talking about.

Stupid things make me cry. His empty food bowl. Part of me wants to fill it, as if saying "It's waiting for you to come back, love. I'm going to keep filling it like you're still here." But the adult part of me knows all the food would go bad because Gia won't eat out of his bowl and that would be a waste. My practicality scares me sometimes. Going into the bathroom is hard. Everytime I used to he'd jump in the tub so I could turn the faucet on - he was addicted to the fresh water. Anytime I'm in the bed' if Mama was in the bed, JoJo was too. That's just the way it was. The holes in the corner of the dust ruffle, where it folds over the mattress; that's where he used to sharpen his claws. That sent me into a distraught sobbing episode before our guests arrived. I'd yell at him, "JoJo don't do that to my bed, gotdamnit!" And he'd run off, almost like it was a game. To him, it probably was. Attention was attention; it didn't matter if it was being fussed at or being loved. He was a goofball like that sometimes.

I made a little JoJo shrine on my altar. I have a picture of St. Francis of Assisi on there. I even bought one of those Catholic-saint candles at Walgreens. They didn't have St. Francis, so I bought a blank one and taped a picture of JoJo to it. It stays lit - so he can find his way home. One of his toys, a mouse, is up there.

This weekend revived my hope for humanity; a tad anyway. Two people called thinking they'd found JoJo. For a moment, my heart swelled. But then the nice lady on the phone asked if he had a white tip on his tail. No, not my JoJo - he's solid black; beautiful, like a cat that would belong to Egyptian royalty. We went over anyway, just to be sure. A black cat, long and lithe like Jo, but not Jo. She was so nice - said she'd been praying for him ever since she'd seen our flyers. That's neat. To think that random people in our neighborhood might be lending their positive thoughts and prayers to his coming home. Another man called two hours later - same cat, not JoJo. But I thanked him, told him I sincerely appreciated it. I did.

I felt sorry for the nice lady, who told me she loved cats. She said when they moved to our neighborhood her husband made her get rid of her two cats and her heart was breaking. I told Baret when we got home that if any husband of mine told me I had to get rid of my cats, he'd be the one finding himself a new home. I thought that was a very cruel thing for a husband to do to his wife who loves her cats. I'm lucky that Baret is a cat-lover, and that he considers my cats his babies, too. Even if he deals with the lows of pet-parenting differently than me; even when he shuts me out. At least he cares; even if his pain is stoney and silent.

I don't know what I'm saying. This is long and rambling, and I'm sorry. I learned this weekend you can't drink on Zoloft. I had to know. It just seems to make it not work. Yesterday I was a basket case and ended up having a panic attack; I think the alcohol, though I didn't drink that much, cancelled out the effects of the Zoloft. No more drinking for me. Today I'm a depressed, anxiety-ridden mess. I didn't miss this. But it does make me realize that my problem really is a chemical imbalance; that I really, at least not at this point in my life, cannot control it without some help from meds. I suppose that was a lesson I needed to learn.

Anyway. Thanks everyone. Tomorrow, JoJo will have been gone a week. One week. Seven days. Last Monday I stayed home from work and I'm so glad now. We hung out; lounged around in bed a lot late in the afternoon, Jo and I. That made him so happy; curled up next to my arm with his contented JoJo rumbling purr. The next morning, the last memory I have of him is him darting out the door as I opened it to go to work; a flash of black. I fussed at him gently, told him it might rain today so he'd best go back inside when Daddy left. "Be good, JoJo," I told him as I walked towards the patio gate. "Have a good day - I love you." I always told him stuff like that as I left for work. I turned around just before I stepped out the gate, to blow him a kiss, and he was sitting on the piece of driftwood that's by the window. He was squinting in the morning son, kind of frowning - probably at the nasty, humid heat. He looked at me, I blew my kiss to him, and turned around - the gate clanging shut behind me.

When we got home...he was gone.

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