He was the scrawniest kitten at the pet store (and had a crusty, puss-filled eye to boot), which is why I chose him. He grew into quite a fat cat who believed I was his mother; I think he was just so grateful that I brought him home with me. I got Oliver on the same day at a different pet store (I was 19 years old and didn't think to go to the SPCA) and they bonded immediately.Oliver died at the age of 7, and I wondered how Jerzy would be afterwards. He lived another 12 years, all the more attached to me; he'd even sit on the edge of the sink waiting for me to come out of the shower.
Three days after he died on March 22, 2006, my mom had a massive stroke that would keep her in hospital for three months. Mourning the loss of my friend, Jerzy, was over pretty quickly, as my focus shifted to my mother. I love this picture of the two of them, when she was looking after him while we were on vacation; notice how his flesh squeezes out between her fingers!
This might appear to be a strangely blended post, but since my mom was such a cat and animal lover, I know she wouldn't mind sharing space with Friday Cat Blogging ☺ Please bear with me.
Although the past year has been better, I still get stuck in feelings of guilt and sadness over the loss of my mother - feeling like I should have and could have done more and that if only that was accomplished she would still be here. I still have moments of seeing her last months through her eyes, even though I cannot possibly understand or know what she was really thinking or feeling. But it still makes me wince.
Maria Shriver was on Oprah (yes, I admittedly still watch Oprah from time to time, depending who's on) the other day and this brings me to my "step forward." She was talking about what a big influence and the major role model her mother, Eunice Kennedy, has always been in her life, always pushing her to be active, pro-active, and ambitious and leading by example. Those are good things, but only focussing on this makes for a pretty frenetically-paced life where value and self-worth are found in what you do and accomplish rather than who you truly are as a person. Shriver recently found herself looking after her mom who had suffered several small strokes and she said she liked herself as this kind and caring, gentle person. She was being the mother now.
I know I kind of felt like I was mothering my mom while she was in hospital, and I was grateful for having that time with her; I considered it a gift. But after listening to Maria Shriver, I realized that just a slight shift in thought, in perception on my part, would reveal that it was not only the time spent with her that was a gift, but the opportunity for me to be kind and caring and motherly to her was the biggest gift; if I can allow myself to accept that I am a good-hearted, caring person, then that's something, since I'm constantly dumping on myself (don't we all do this?). I don't know how much sense that makes, but I know a bell went off in my head listening to this interview.
I had another major revelation about my relationship with my mom while watching this interview, but I think I'll save it for another time. I'm a little weepy now, so I think I'll go and clean myself up :)