The First Anniversary of the Death of a Good Friend


This Adopt-a-Virtual-Pet thing has just arrived on EP (nice one, EP, another good idea!  I have been restraining myself for hours from adopting a virtual pet but since it will raise money, how can I not?!) and along with it, an opportunity to remember genuine pets who have passed on and so I've just made a memorial for ScardeyPuss who died on 17th December 2008.  The logo is not of her but she looked much like that.  I also want to remember her (sort-of) owner, MrsG, my late neighbour, here, as well.  It is coming up the first anniversary of MrsG's passing and I still miss her loads.  I haven't been able to talk about her here until now.  Or anywhere much.  No-one except for me really knew her and whenever I tried to mention her, I got a dismissive, "Oh, it was only G***a!"  as if I'm crazy to feel any more deeply than they do ~~and "they" don't feel anything much at all  ~~  so I don't talk about her much anymore but I still think about her a lot.  

This past year has been a year of losses for me.  Whatever I believe about physical death not being the end, still though, for now I am here and losing a friend hurts.  Losing a pet hurts just as much.  That 'era' was no more special than this one is.  That is, each era is special in its own way but there are subtle little differences;  changes that undermine the foundations of every-day life.  Odd how a memorial to a pet (and I loved ScardeyPuss like she was my own: well, she was in my care for the last year of her life) can unearth all kinds of other feelings, too. 

When MrsG and then ScardeyPuss died, a certain way of life around here really did die with them and so I've pasted a link: to remember them both where I can be sure that my entry here about them both will be respected and the loss understood if not exactly shared in the same way.  Someone here will understand, I know, and it makes me feel better to be able to mark MrsG's life in some small way on here.   She was an alcoholic who drank her way through life and through to an early grave.  Desperately alcoholic:  I was aware that she drank but it was pretty much the one thing we never mentioned.  I always took it that she drank 'to forget'   ~~that's certainly what she always implied.  As though she had had a severe break-down and never recovered.  I felt guilty and I felt, well really odd, sort of really really weird when I discovered from her daughter, just before her funeral, that it was actually the other way round, sort of like I ought to have known.  She had ****** up her life, ruined her marriage and given up her daughter "for the sake of the drink" as I was bitterly told.  Of course, it is an illness and one that had her apparently from her early teens.  No wonder she was unable to give it up for her daughter.. and yet, I knew very well that she regretted those years separated from her daughter terribly:  she talked about how 'MrG' had cheated on her and then walked out taking their daughter with him and she would cry.  Not a lot.  But her feelings of being bereft were so, so strong, nobody could have listened and believed her unaffected, uncaring, unloving; been unmoved.  I did feel guilty at first that in all the years I had known her that I hadn't been aware of the true state of things but after a year, I have come to realize that MrsG had long-since convinced herself that this was  the way it had happened.  There was no other way she could cope. She told me her truth and I believed it..

Of course, her alcoholism was the reason that I was to all intents her only friend.  Certainly her closest.  A few people have tried to 'cheer me up' by suggesting, or, no, telling me that since she was such a wreck anyway, there was no way she could possibly be a big loss in my life but, you know, they were wrong.  Maybe I did have closer friends to me than her;  well,  so sad.  So, so sad.  I did, I know I did:  yet to write her off as "only that alki MrsG and at least she won't wake you up at 2am anymore, thankfully (hohoho!)" strikes me as … I don't quite have the words.  It's horrible. Inhuman.  Not to mention inhumane.  To think she was reduced to a nuisance of an out-of-control alcoholic, a waste of space and no great loss if she was a loss at all…   That's wrong.  That's both wrong and untrue.

I did have conversations with MrsG.  It was give and take;  not moan and listen-to-me.  She helped me too and I told her things I doubt I told anyone else.  The talks we shared long into the night (yes, with a drink, omigoodgrief, that knowledge hurts me now)  were far from one-sided and I trusted her.  She added a lot to my life and rarely did I ever leave her house without some little gift "for being so kind as to come and see me"  ~~a bottle of bubble-bath;  a book she had just finished;  if nothing else, a sandwich:  though I felt terribly uncomfortable with this but she would not have it any other way.  And I never, to my shame, ate any of the sandwiches.  That was the one area of her life where you could tell that the drinking was affecting her.  The kitchen was filthy.  I used to take two glasses over for us on the pretence that "it will save the washing –up for you" and she would just thank me.  She didn't have to bribe me to come visit.  I never could have condescended to her in such a way:  I must have been nearly the only one who did call. though, and believe me, it was not the thought of the sandwich at the end of the evening that kept me coming back.

She didn't have much money.  But I'll tell you something else.  That cat, ScardeyPuss never went hungry.  I do believe MrsG even cut back on the drink (a little) to buy a tin of cat-food every single day.  She adored ScardeyPuss.  And she adored me, too, and how little I realized just how very much I did love her back ~~until she was gone.  The anniversary is here, I guess.  I never went to her funeral.  All her supposed 'family'  (complete strangers to me even after ten years of being her neighbour) turned up and rather happily gave her a respectable send-off with sausage-rolls and quiche.  I never made a note of the exact date she died.  I know tha date, I must do.  But I don't recall it.  I don't know why I didn't make a mental note of the date.  It still hurts, only now the whole of the month does, or the first couple of weeks, anyway, instead of the actual day.  But ScardeyCat died in the early hours of Wednesday 17th December last year, 2008.   It was one of the coldest nights of the year in the UK.  Thankfully, I was taking care of her.  I do wish I had realized how ill she was, though… I would have taken her to the vet's; saved her some suffering cos she didn't go very quietly. But it was too late for the vet by then.

So, anyway.  If anyone would like to send some retrospective good vibes their way (preferably both to my neighbour and to the cat) or pay their respects in any way they wish, then that'd be great.  MrsG's grave is on a barren hillside just outside of town with a beautiful view of the stormy grey Atlantic and ScardeyPuss, well, she has a more sheltered resting-place: under a tree in a field on a farm near the river that runs to the sea  ~~in Wales.





gwyrddair gwyrddair
41-45, F
Feb 17, 2009