Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Sandy Hook - Discussions with my 13 year old.

Sandy Hook Elementary school.

As a parent, my mind backs away from considering how dreadfully heartbreaking this tragedy is for the families of the children and teachers.  I know too many people who are living "My Worst Nightmare" and I have seen the grief of parents who lose children, young or at 39.
My heart goes out to each and every family member, trying to cope with their senseless loss.

My daughter asked me about this senseless massacre.  I asked her for a moment and googled for help, for help of how to tell her without making her unwilling to ever go to school again.

We talked about how her school is at less risk, sheerly due to it being a small school.
We talked about how the school children had so few option of what to do, about the brave teacher who managed to hide so many 6 years olds in cupboards - imagine being able to get all those children hidden so quickly and then lie convincingly to a madman holding multiple weapons.  Brilliant woman.
We talked about gun laws.
Oh yes, we talked about them.

I am Australian, I grew up with guns, my Father is a true devotee of guns, my family are involved with the local gun club.  We had a farm.  Gun are important to farms.  At least... one of the guns my Dad owned was important to the farm.  The rest were for fun.  Fun.  The fun of shooting at a target.   I didn't like the loud noise, the recoil back into my shoulder or the smell.  So I will merely accept that others found it fun. 

I explained to my Princess that the laws in Australia had ensured people, could only have guns suited to killing animals.  Because that is the only purple for a gun, to kill.  There were no automatic weapons in the house.  No assault weapons.

My daughter and I talked about how if the killer at the Sandy Hook school had guns that didn't fire so quickly, some more of the children might have survived.  Someone might have been able to get closer to try and disarm him.  People could have run.  The whole aspect of human reflexes vs the incredible firing speed of those guns made it impossible for anyone to escape.

Dad handed in several killing machines after the Port Arthur tragedy.  The others were locked up securely at the Gun Club, as Dad had no suitable storage at home.  No easy access to guns. 

Guns kill.  That is their whole purpose.
The mental stability of the person holding the gun decides who/what lives and who dies.
The firing rate of the gun decides if there is a chance for the intended victims to escape or respond defensively.

They used to say "If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns."

If that is the case in Australia, from what I have seen in the news... those outlaws tend to only use those outlawed guns against other outlaws.

R.I.P. Sandy Hook children and teachers.  

Saturday, 15 December 2012

More about my cat.

Do I really look 16 years old?

Somedays I think I am a fairly self sufficient person.  That I don't rely on others to keep me happy, to keep me going.  That I have grown past who I was and can now give to others.

Then something bad happens and I realise just how intensely reliant and co-dependant I truly am.

I rely on my husband so much.  He creates the basic stability of my life, the rock solid ground i walk on.  When he has taken that away, I felt like I was walking on Jelly, sinking, unbalanced and suffocated.  He gives me comfort.  If I remember to ask, in highly specific terms, for comfort.

I rely on my daughter.  Mostly, I rely on her existance.  If she is alive, then my world can still turn.  She also provides awesome cuddles and sadly enough, knows how to deal with a Mama in tears.

I rely on my friends.  Some to be there to listen to my problems, though I try really hard to make sure they only hear about them once, or when there is an update.  Some to provide help.

It's when these supports are taken away that you really notice them.  Even the one's I wasn't taking for granted.

Knowing that my cousin and his now deceased wife had escaped all the pressures around them to start their life the way they wanted... that had been a little "something going right in the world" that I thought of with a smile.  Something solid.  Something to rely on, not in any draining way, just to know they were there, being them, being happy.

I miss that.  I miss Jodie.

Being able to visit my best friend each week, have happy joyous times with our kids, even if we rarely finished a sentence due to child rearing activities.  Solid.  Grounding.  Strength.
People who move 8 hours away, even if it is for a really good reason, make weekly visits really challenging.

They'll come back.  Alternately, their children will move in with us when it is time for them to go to Uni.

But losing a cat.  I had no idea that Charlie cat was so much more than a sheer delight for me.

I knew I loved it when I heard his paw treads coming into the bedroom, and would plan how to get his soft and cuddly little self well hidden under the doona before an intensely jealous and somewhat evil Dominating Girl cat noticed him and began his eviction.
I knew that his bounding around the garden, with that special bouncing high into the air run Charlie had, always brought me joy.  It was a memory to take out and use whenever "stinkin' thinkin'" threatened to make my thoughts negative.
I knew that hearing his absurdly high pitched meow and finding my black and white Tuxedo boy sitting in the empty baath, calling for me to turn on the tap... just a little, enough to provide him a drink, but not enough to get him wet and startle him into forgetting that he was thristy, was so adorable and always led to giggles and wet paw cuddles.
Charlie, in the bath, waiting patiently for Mama to stop taking pretty pictures and turn on the tap.

I knew seeing him waking,from a well deserved sleep under the rose bush, giving his so smooth head a pat as he told me about his day was a lovely way to come home.

I knew that he was a good cat and we were lucky to have him in our lives.

It is just that I didn't know how much I relied on his solid little self as an emotional support.  Charlie's lovely little cat body was so nice to cuddle, so substantial, so comforting.  His friendliness, his acceptance, his unconditional love and so importantly, that I could love him unconditionally back.

His wet nose smooches that sometimes went all the way from the tip of my nose to an ear... and sometimes to an eye - ick!  They said, "I love you (feed me) and you love me."

SiDana is much more challenging.  She loves me, but I have to earn her smooches.
Isaac has recently begun to allow me cuddles.

But Charlie, whenever I wanted a cuddle or to give him a cuddle, he would accept it.  At least for a little while.  It was a priviledge.  It was very good for my soul.

There are no new comfort memories to be made with Charlie Cat...
I now have a sun warmed cat smell memory, a soft fur touch memory, a sound of purring memory that are all linked to receiving comfort.  These need to be strengthened, recalled often.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

I want my Charlie cat

I read a sentence today that resonated through my soul.

"I find it hard to breathe when you're not here."

Oh Charlie Cat, I want to cuddle you too soothe this ache away, like I cuddled you through the baby losses, through Jodie's drawn out trauma and eventual death. I want to bury my face in your super thick fur and be able to feel your thunderous and calming purr.  Feel your paw on my face.  You helped me get through all my truly sad times.

You are not here.  

Both the cause of my tears and the reason I don't know where to find comfort.

Some days he'd pose, but mostly... Charlie wanted to smooch the camera.

Monday, 10 December 2012

He was the silliest of bouncy cats

15 years ago a very silly cat joined our lives.  Stunningly gorgeous, with his tuxedo and white gloves on, with one little black toe on each front paw to add adorableness.

Charlie liked to sneak up onto your lap... inching his way onto the couch, over to you, so that you would have been patting his lush fur for a few minutes before you realised he was even there.
Look at me!  I'm Gorgeous!
Charlie Kitten trying to figure out how to get back down...
He was playful and had non-stop energy.  It didn't matter if the other cats were awake or asleep, Charlie cat would pounce and start the games, anyway!  SiDana may have developed her impressively high "Leap to the top of the cupboard in a single bound" skill sheerly to have some time out from Mister Charlie.

This was a favourite game... "Come pat my belly so I can try and gouge your arm... Pleeeease?

He adored my Princess.  She likewise adored him, and even until last week, could be found dragging the innocent and placid Charlie around the house and yard.  While she never took it into her head to dress him up, he was certainly a large part of her childhood games, with dolls, pirate ships, cats and Mummy all dragged into together. 

His whiskers.  For so many years they were at least an inch wider than his body.  Stunning.
 He did think her Pram was his.  It's possible she encouraged this.  It was amazingly cute to see my Boy Cat and Girl Child in the pram together.  Charles would even let me take them for walks, as long as I stayed in "his" territory.

He slept with me.  Under the doona, with his gorgeous little paws on my arm and shoulder, his sweet black head with such enormous white whiskers tickling my ear as he purred his outrageously loud purr.  Even three weeks ago, Trickey was complaining how the happy noise was keeping him awake, so I snuggled Charlie cat further under the doona and told him to ignore that grumpy old man.

And now.

I will miss him.
My chunky cuddle.
My beautiful bounding gazelle.
My Boy Cat with such an innocent gaze, because he was retarded and we were warned, but he didn't need to be smart, he was loveable.  The Fire Brigade were very nice about having to get him down from that large tree.  The neighbours were fine about me paying for anything he destroyed, though they did have to start feeding Smokey Cat inside - Charles had a serious Houdini streak when it came to getting out the the "Play Patio" we built to confine him.
And it was all good.

How could anyone call such an exuberant kitten "Beast" and give him to a shelter at 6 months old, I will never understand.  However, I will be eternally grateful that they did.

15 years of fun and delight and smooches and being an awesome entertainer.

Love you so much, my Charlie Boy Cat.  You were a balm to my soul.  Healer cat that cuddled when things were bad.  Silly cat.  So Silly.  Love that.

The Girl, The Man, The Girl Cat and I are going to miss you. 
Rest in peace, adored and cherished Charlie Cat.  I may never get over you, but I will always be glad you were with me.