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What if?

My blog – described in it’s title as a “film photography” blog – continues to be my place for self-therapy. I think that it may continue this way for a while yet, because it helps.

As I’m typing this it’s almost exactly a week since we lost Stan. A week ago he was sat on a towel atop a cardboard box full of stuff I need to put on eBay that is in the corner of my office next to the radiator. I’m not sure if passing this sad one-week anniversary will make any difference to how I feel, or if I want it to. Over the last few days, if I am honest with myself, I have felt a little better as time moves forward. And as soon as I realise this I then feel guilty – the judgemental part of my mind telling me that I should be ashamed of myself for daring to feel even a tiny bit better than I did. I want to feel better and to not suffer from the pain of grief, and I am feeling a little bit better. But this then feels like a betrayal.

But as the one-week anniversary creeps up (and I dislike the word anniversary in this context. An anniversary feels like it should be a celebration of something nice, not a reminder of a tragedy) I think back to last Saturday night and the “what if?” questions play across my mind over and over again. What if I’d done this? What if If done that? What if the weather had been different? What if I’d stayed upstairs in my office with him? What if things had been different? It seems a futile exercise to do this, to punish myself by considering options that are now forever out of reach and yet it is so easy to do.

The strange thing about my grief is that, while I want it to ease, I also don’t want it to because if feels like letting go. But what I need to remind myself of is that it is natural and necessary to let go of the memories of the loss itself. This is not the same as letting go of the memories of Stan. My memories of Stan are the things to hold onto and to cherish for the rest of my life. The happiness he brought me, and my love for him. These are the things that will remain strong and bright long after the pain of his loss has lessened. I know what I need to do, and how things will move forward, but as ever with so many things we “know”, they can be a lot easier said than done sometimes.

Stan’s things have now been put safely away. While he isn’t here to use them any more, perhaps one day they will be used by another cat, just as some of his things belonged to the cats that were part of our family before him. This is another part of moving forward that has caused pain though. Stan’s bed is amongst these things and, even though we have washed it, each time I walked into the room where it was sat until today I would hold it in my hands and place my face against it. It’s soft and squishy texture reminded me of him and of cuddling his soft, furry body. Now I can’t do this any more. I think it might be for the best, but it still makes me sad.

I’ll finish the blog with another photo of Stan…

Stan peeping out from behind the curtains in my son’s room. He’s either dazzled by the sun here, or was thinking about having a nap.

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