Friday, February 8, 2019

Bygone Days

I have always been an especially nostalgic person. It feels as if lately this part of my personality has been hidden or overlooked.  In fact, I was influenced by this largely during adolescent and teen years.  Very lately, I have experienced so many new things: getting married, moving to the other side of my state, working full-time while taking classes part-time and trying in the meanwhile to kinda-sorta keep up on housework and a social life.  I have been very happy and content.  Sure, there are always struggles, but I've been looking ahead so much to all the wonderful things I know will happen in the future.

But lately, my thoughts have turned to bygone days.  You see, my cat (really my parents' cat, but he always seemed like my cat) is dying.  Marshmellow is his name.  (And yes, it's spelled like that on purpose.)  He was born on May Day in 2001, when I was only 6 years old, and Mom brought him home to us in July.  Yes, 17+ years is very old for a cat.  I had always hoped, though, that he would live until at least 20.

Marshmellow's 2nd birthday

I ask my mom every day for updates on the poor kitty.  He hasn't been eating for weeks now, despite every effort imaginable.  He is, as my mom puts it, "wasting away."  The last time I saw him, at Christmas, he was healthy.  Deaf or at least nearly deaf, but healthy, for the most part.  He was no longer eating dry cat food, but was very fond of his wet food.  Now, it seems, he has gone off any kind of nutrients and only accepts water-- water without the slightest trace of nutrient-giving formula mixed in.

Marshmellow was my companion for so many years; for nearly all of my childhood.  He saw me through the best and worst experiences of my life.  Although sometimes a bit stand-offish, his fluffy company was always such a comfort and pleasure.  And, silly as it may sound, to know that he is dying now-- well, it feels as if my childhood is dying, too.  It seems I have not just entered a new chapter of my life, but an entirely new book.  And as exciting as it sometimes is, I cannot help but feel sadness as well.  I find my mind flocking back to dozens of memories from when I was younger... anywhere from 4 to 16 or so.  Basically, the me before I even started this blog.

I loved my childhood.  And now I am in limbo between losing my own childhood and being a part of someone else's.  (I don't mean to indicate I am expecting a baby any time soon; likely not for several more years.)  It is strange.  It's all so strange.  Most of my friends are married, many having children-- I don't even have the same friends as I used to when I was younger.  In fact, I only have one close friend who is still in my life from my pre-teen years (not counting relatives).

I used to despise the tiniest change.  I didn't want the carpeted stairs to be replaced with wood.  I didn't want to get new furniture.  I scorned the idea of the kitchen being painted white. All of these were, I will admit, good changes in the end; but I saw almost all changes as bad.  Perhaps a little of this stemmed from both my sisters being married and gone while I was still quite young-- and soon after that, my older brother starting college and, although he still lived at home, I didn't see him half as much anymore.  I wanted to hold onto everything I possibly could from that golden time in my childhood: that time when I was the cute, adored littlest sister in a loving, close-knit family.

I did outgrow most of my aversion to small and truly insignificant changes.  But lately I feel my old nostalgia returning.  I wish I could go back in time and relive some of it.  I wish I could see Marshmellow as a little kitten again.  And most of all, I wish he didn't have to die.  It reminds me that all lives are fleeting, and that the older I get, the more permanent, lasting, significant changes I will have to experience.

I always will treasure the past, and I feel like I needed to sit down and write all these thoughts and share them with someone.  I don't mean to sound depressed and hopeless, because I'm not.  I just miss it.  I miss my childhood.  I miss my old self.  I miss the old versions of everyone I used to know. 

I miss my cat.

As I write all this, I can hear Margaret Hale's voice in the 2004 North & South miniseries: "Try as we might, happy as we were... we can't go back."


Molly said...

I'm sorry about Marshmellow! He sounds like a good cat and companion. :)

The Elf said...

I'm so so sorry to hear about your cat. Sometimes I think people can't really "get it" until they've had a pet of their own. At least, that was me. Since first having a cat in the house (only a mere two years ago!) I've come to realise just how much a cat can be loved and missed. Marshmellow's passing will leave the biggest hole but cling to the happy memories you have because those are the gifts he gave you that will last a lifetime. I like to think that cats go to heaven too but even if they don't, just remember that Marshmellow had such happy memories of you and his home too and the love you both shared gave to his life as it did to yours. Thinking of you!

Miss Dashwood said...

I am reminded of Anne, in the second movie (THE LAST MOVIE), saying that she doesn't want any of it to change, that she just wants to hold onto all these things forever. :( I came to this post rather late (heh) but I am so sorry about Marshpellow. I will miss him the next time I come.

I identified with... pretty much everything you said, sigh. It is weird, this being grown-up business.

Heidi said...

Just finding this post now and wanted to say I'm so sorry about your cat (I know it's hard losing a pet, it really feels like such a chapter of your life has changed, and I think the surprising thing is -- even if it's 'just an animal' to some folks -- you can still feel sad every once in a while years down the road :/). Also I appreciated your opening up and sharing your thoughts, etc. It was encouraging... so thank you! (And of course, ending with Margaret Hale is always a bonus. ;))

I hope you're having a lovely summer!

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