Wednesday, January 11, 2006

More Insomniatic Drivel

My mom’s cat died yesterday, and the world didn’t end. And I’m surprised. Not because I was so attached to the cat (in fact, I hated the thing), but because my mom was. Attached. Big Time.

The family got the cat, our first ever, when I was 13. It’s been around for over half of my life. I was always tempted to call it the Regis or Dick Clark of cats, in spite of the fact that it was a female. She never looked old, yet one would need carbon dating to ascertain her true age. She was approximately the world’s largest wimp of an animal, comparable only to my current dog, Stella. Once, when I was around 16, she got out and no one could find her. After four hours of my mother’s end of the world freak-out we finally found her. She was lost and almost frightened to death….hoooooooolllllld……waitforiiiiiiiiiit…….in our front flower bed. **slaps forehead** Ever since that day I have looked forward with dread to the day that my mom’s cat would finally give up the ghost.

Inexplicably, my mother is remaining on a shockingly even keel.

We spoke for a while today, and I felt bad for her. Having had pets of my own for a few years now, I completely understand and feel bad for her. I think I’m actually happier and more proud that she didn’t have a complete meltdown than I am sad about the death, though.

She mentioned that they were going to bury her in the backyard, and I asked why they didn’t just take her somewhere and have her cremated or have whoever those people are do whatever it is they do with animals that are no longer of this world. In my mind, it would avoid any potentially messy problems, but I tried to understand.

Then she commented, “I know that’s what you want done when you die, and I hope I’m already gone, because it would kill me to do that.”

Now certainly, humans and animals in general are very different, well, animals. But when I asked her why that would be so hard, she couldn’t come up with an actual reason no matter how hard I tried to coax one from her. She said it just didn’t feel right. She’s the type I’m always suspicious of, a person who bases most every decision on feeling alone (something I believe to be largely responsible for the current strange state of affairs in our society today, but of course that’s a completely different tangent for another time). From my end, feelings are all well and good, but they need to be tempered with reason and logic, and shouldn’t be used exclusively to make most decisions. I want to be cremated mostly because I simply think that cemeteries, by and large, are a waste of valuable space on this already crowded rock. When my time is up, don’t forget about me, but brush my physical presence aside to make some room for those behind me. After all, what are we really using to serve as a remembrance of the deceased but a piece of stone or a plaque? We mourn and remember the person or animal in question, and I can’t get how having a plot of space in the earth makes either of these experiences more quality than space in a mausoleum, an urn, or on the wind. Why is burial considered more “proper” than playing a song (or, insert your own thing here) every now and again to induce the sought after remembrance?

If anyone can advocate burial over cremation without citing only feelings or “my religion strictly dictates it”, I would enjoy hearing it. Seriously. The “feelings” argument is driving me a little batty. Who knows, one day I could be persuaded to come over from the “take what you need, then burn me” camp.

Sad as it may be, I still think she ought to be (and hope she comes around to being) happy that the cat had as long as she did. If I have even 2/3 of the equivalent lifespan the cat had, I’ll be overjoyed, and I hope that those who knew me will be, too.

Enough insomnia talk for now. Good night.