Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sugar Substitute




Several years ago, my daughter, Molly, and I lost our beloved dog, Sugar, to a wild dash from the side door that lead to a hit-and-run death.  In trying to get over the loss of Sugar, Molly adopted a very nice cat she named Brody, the name an homage to the actor Adrien Brody because of the cat’s rather long nose.  At some point, we cutely called Brody our Sugar substitute.

Fast forward to now.  Somehow, I woke up last Saturday morning with a brand new cat, whom I finally named Roxie because of, well I don’t really know why other than she likes to play cat hockey with errant rocks she finds on my window sill in the middle of the night.

My life was really simple.  Living alone, things stayed where I put them even if I couldn’t remember where that was.  I had the freedom, if not the money, to travel and stay a while.  Vacuuming could wait another six months or so.

And it wasn't that I was lonely.  I have children and grandchildren who love me and even like me most of the time, and friends who put up with me, and interests and pursuits and favorite TV shows.  All the things that make life worth living.

So why a new cat now?  Why the cost and the aggravation and the responsibility, not to mention cat hair everywhere and that catbox smell?  The only reason I can think of is that I’d recently lost my brother, Sandy, not to a quick death under the tires of a Toyota but to a long battle with cancer, a war the cancer won.

So, was it possible that Roxie could become a Sandy substitute?  At first glance, it was iffy.

Whereas Sandy was trim and well groomed, Roxie is fluffy and a bit disheveled. 

Sandy never ever walked over my computer keys while I was trying to type. 

Sandy was quiet and careful not to offend, whereas Roxie raucously meows her opinions about everything (mostly in the middle of the night).   

Roxie bites me; Sandy never did.  The worse thing Sandy ever did to me was to infiltrate my diary when I was fourteen to write in it that he needed a bra more than I did.  

 Sandy was independent, while I have to do EVERYTHING for Roxie.  I have to feed her and give her water and clean out her damned sandbox and lug up her 100 pound bag of litter while she tries to trip me.

But I guess somehow, in spite of all the trouble and probably for all the wrong reasons, I can feel this cat beginning to patch up that big hole in my heart.  She looks as happy as a cat can look when I come home, and she purrs when she feels like it, and I'm fairly certain her escapades will give me something new to write about.  And though there will never be a substitute for my only sibling, someone who knew me from when I was a tiny orange-haired baby and truly loved me in spite of myself, this new cat of mine makes me laugh and gives me someone to talk to in the morning and helps me forget that I am now a brotherless child.

I think Sandy would understand.

17 comments:

rosaria williams said...

I inherited a cat after my son died suddenly and his pets were adopted out. The dog went to a neighbor boy who had been his keeper on many occasions. The old cat came with us, too old and not cute enough to attract any takers.

"Newkie" consoles me,accepts my tears and babbling, comes to bed with me, cuddles up and purrs and follows me around like a kitten.

She's not replacing my son; but she is a wonderful reminder of the beings he loved, the kind person he was.

Lyn Burnstine said...

Oh, Marcia, what great timing.I am adopting a petite kitty this week--already chosen--and there's no question in my mind that she's to be my comfort while I continue grieving for Mary (my best friend and buddy, as you well know). With Mary's loss, also came the easy access to me of her menagerie of dogs and cats, one, Rusty, who this non-dog person was inordinately fond of--who would have ever guessed? I so hope she proves to be cuddly like your cat, Rosaria.

Jean said...

Awwww. I KNOW Sandy would understand, and I never even knew Sandy.

I thought of you in early December when my oldest brother died.

Olga said...

I look forward to many crazy cat lady stories to come.

Anonymous said...

Marcia, Thanks for writing another blog for all your blog followers. I liked the story about Roxie and how she fills an empty place in your life. It was so good to see you yesterday at Aunt Myra's 75 anniv. party and to meet Molly and to see Melissa and her lively daughter. It was truly a family reunion. When it gets warmer, we can do the Colonnade again. John can join us on a Sat. Good luck with all of your many endeavors. Charlotte

cile said...

I'm so excited for you when I think of your new adventures with Roxy. It is wonderful, no?... having a little being so happy to see you when you walk in the door...well, sometimes! Pets are divine, really. They heal our hearts. I'm happy for you.

cile said...

I'm so excited for you when I think of your new adventures with Roxy. It is wonderful, no?... having a little being so happy to see you when you walk in the door...well, sometimes! Pets are divine, really. They heal our hearts. I'm so happy for you!

LC said...

How you do make me laugh and cry in the same post With simple words available to anyone. But not just anyone can see so clearly into the human heart, and fewer still can choose and arrange those words to convey what that heart holds.

I, too, have a brother, though younger, as my only sibling. I am thinking of you.

Brighid said...

Marcia, You've done a good thing for both of you! I'm not so much a cat person... Have loved a bunch of dogs and they've all brought something special to my life. Down to my pound pup Willie now, he's not that raskel Gus or the Ol gentleman Maxwell, but he is special in his own way.
hugs your way!

Linda Myers said...

Before we left to snowbird in Tucson, we found a loving couple to live in our house and keep company with our cat, Larisa. As I read your post I miss our little princess.

ResultsSeniorServices said...

When we lose a loved one (furry or not) somehow adding another heart beat into our lives helps us heal. I get it.

ResultsSeniorServices said...

When we lose a loved one (furry or not) somehow adding another heart beat into our lives helps us heal. I get it.

Wisewebwoman said...

Beautiful post Marcia, love comes in all forms and if Roxie fills a wee spot, let her pull up by the fire of your memories and make it a little easier in the rough spots.

XO
WWW

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

My beloved brother had a huge stroke two years ago and is now seriously disabled, although mentally sharp. It has made me acutely aware of the bond you share with a sibling, the person who will probably know you for the longest of anyone in your life. Roxie looks good.

Anonymous said...

this is a lovable, reached-my-heart post. that orange haired baby girl sure turned out bright and compassionate. condolences on the loss of your sib.

mickey@sbcglobal.net

Anonymous said...

marbles, i neglected to leave you my complete e-mail address. blogging is still an unknown to me.
mickeyterrell@sbcglobal.net

schmidleysscribblins,wordpress.com said...

Every now and then I get cat fever. But I remember the cat box and it passes. Besides, my dogs wouldn't like it one bit. They can chase the parrots without help thank you very much. Dianne

PS mice are a different matter.