As I carried Donna to the crematorium, most of my conscious connection to the world had shut down. Withdrawal had been my self defense in the first place; my psyche chose it perfectly in line with my personality and disposition.
At such state, I can function normally, I can connect normally, I can interact normally, based on normal people’s standard. I smile, I participate in community meetings, I laugh when someone made a joke, I gave perfect answer and respond courteously, I eat, I do laundry, I clean up, I go shopping and did not miscalculate a dime. I am not in pain.
But out of those all, the only connection that has blood and soul on it, is Donna. Donna’s life, Donna’s memories, Donna’s antics, Donna and me.
We were lucky someone else died and were sent to be cremated at the same day, so Donna can go in immediately. I can collect her ashes Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, it’s like being surrounded by everyone, as they wrote lines of sympathy and compassion that indeed, keep me alive. I feel their warmth, their arms, their tears, running for the same sorrow. I felt their efforts to ease the pain, to infuse some logic and strengthen the realization that I always knew: Donna had a great life.
I wouldn’t trade those for a prolonged life when she would be reduced to nothing but a lump of corroding meat slowly dwindled to die for my own selfishness. Although Donna is ‘my’ cat, ‘my family’ and I would love her to live as long as I do, her life is not mine. Donna is an individual with her own timeline and if I love her, I’d think on her best interest. It’s that art of crossing the “my”, “me” and “mine” and underlining the “she”, “her” and “hers”
However, by Saturday evening, even my thick bunker wall start to crumble. I was trying to reply all the messages and comments and emails, but while I intended to write one thing, I blink, and realize I wrote the other. As the night advances, it’s completely gibberish. I wanted to wrote “Thank you for your compassion”, my brain said so to my fingers, I blinked, and found out that I wrote “Thank you asdlfke nfaipsna”
I knew it then that I need to let go. I knew it then that I need to get away from it, take a deep breath, or fail.
So I made myself sleep. I made myself go away, I go out there and try to do something different. I know there are a lot of things I need to do. I know that if I don’t write, people won’t come, donation will drop. I need another USD 200 to get through the week and Hero still need her surgery paid.
I can go back there and use voice command, I can turn around, soldier on, keep fighting until it’s over.
But then I put my cellphone down, close my laptop and walk away still.
I didn’t do any weekend fundraiser. I didn’t write, I lost potential donor, I am going to have USD 200 short for the next week.
I gave away two battles to win the war.
We’re going to wait for this sleeping child to wake up, and then we’re going back to the front line to fight for her life. That’s the war.
Part of her leg that was too rotten to stay intact had been cut off. We’re given the whole weekend to heal her watery and mushy skin and kill the inflammation so that she will have the best chance of surviving and grow up healthy and happy in her new home. That’s the war.
I will need all my patience, my conscience, my instinct, my sanity, my “natural talent” to heal her and keep her alive post surgery. That’s the war.
When she completely heals, we’re going to need to find someone with enough expertise (if available) to get her some wheel so she can have her life back. That’s another war. Wheels are expensive, those are beyond our means, which is, another war.
The road is long, our chances are slim, our chest is almost empty.
But she is my Hero. She fight like a champion, all by herself.
That’s why I gave away two battles so I can win the war as her soldier.