My cat is the best dog I’ve ever had (Part 4)

Part IV: Our Family – putting the fun in dysfunctional

Our nuclear family consists of myself, Ema, Dukie and Eddie.

Ema is a stereotypical dad. She doesn’t do any of the actual child-rearing like bathing, doctor’s visits, etc. Instead, she comes home from work with treats for Dukie and Eddie and wins their affection through her purchasing power.

Dukie is daddy’s little girl. Whatever she wants, she gets from Ema. Ema happily obliges and then disappears to watch the telly, leaving me to trail Dukie to rub antiseptic onto her wounds.

Eddie, on the other hand, is a complete mama’s boy. I’ve stuck his neck in the cone of shame for days, forced antibiotic syrups down his throat, even castrated him – no matter, Eddie still loves me the most.

Poor Ema is a cat person and resents this. Ema does everything to make Eddie love her. She lets him suckle on her clothes, gives him expensive treats – she (even literally) lets Eddie walk all over her. When she finally coaxes him onto her lap and gets him to fall asleep like that, she’s in pure bliss.

Then I come home.

When Eddie gets a whiff of me, he wakes up, walks over Ema like she’s kitty litter and comes to me. I subject him to all sorts of over-affectionate abuse, throwing him around like a rag doll, poking him, squeezing him – doesn’t matter, he’ll just shake himself off and jump right back onto my lap.

Ema can’t stand this.

The problem is: Ema is a cat person. I am a dog person.

But:

Eddie loves me. I pine after Dukie. Dukie loves Ema. Ema pines after Eddie.

 

stick figures

We are all unhappy.


Read Part III: Rejection

Read Part II: How to name a dog

Read Part I: How to name a cat

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FAQs – Funeral Edition

I know people mean well when they ask these questions at a funeral. I know it’s a weird combination of genuine concern, not knowing what to say but needing to express care somehow, that ends up in a cocktail of awkwardness and discomfort for everyone. But really, it’s harder being on the other side of the question, the receiving end. The grieving party is still socially conditioned to be more sensitive to the person asking the question than to their own emotions, so you just swallow your bubbling cocktail of grief-anger-resentment-helplessness and respond mechanically, trying not to break.

So I dealt with the pain of managing visitors as I do with everything in life – with a salty sense of dark humour. I wrote down the most frequently asked questions and made notes of what my mind said but my mouth didn’t. I’ve generalized most of the questions and answers so it serves as a Funeral FAQ for all. Hope it gives some insight into what to/not to say and do when approaching a grieving party as snarky as me.


What happened?
S/he died. Did you miss the memo?

I meant, how did s/he die?
Why are you asking me? What do you hope to get out of this question? Stop making us relive the horror of what happened over and over again just for your information. There’s heaps of people around at the wake, ask them before you ask the immediate family.

Was it sudden?
Does it matter? No, of course not. It hurts all the same. So stop making us place some arbitrary value on the timing of it.

Are you ok?
Are you serious? Of course not. Only people who have been with us through the pain of ups and downs and final loss can ask this because they’re asking on the spectrum of how we have been as they’ve stood by us every day.

Were you there when he passed? 
Oh my f–
Really?? I mean, what if I wasn’t? What if I’m now dealing with the unbearable sorrow of not being able to hold his hand as his heart beat its last? Or if I was there and I felt his life ebb away from him, away from me, and I couldn’t let go of the last time I’d have his hand in mine.
Well, were you there when he passed? No? Cool, didn’t think so. Thanks for coming to see his corpse and not him.

Was he in any pain at all?
I’m not sure, would you like to ask my fist?

How’s mum? 
Oh she’s dandy, it’s not every day you get to lose a lifelong partner so she’s celebrating that milestone by throwing this wake.

You know you’ll need to be strong for your mum, right?
Oh! Gosh you’re right, that didn’t occur to me. All this time I thought pixies would take care of her. But thanks for flagging this: swallowing my own emotional needs to take care of others is definitely the healthy way to go.

*hug*/My sincerest condolences. Is there anything I can do to help?
Thank you. Yes. Ask this question genuinely and if called upon, fulfil the request. It means the world when unexpected people offer support and mean it.

So did the funeral directors do everything or did you have to do anything? I need to prepare too, sadly.
… I’m out.