I found out today that one of my family cats was put down. For a moment I thought I had grown up so much because I could take the information without crying (I am a total animal lover and somewhat sentimental). Just as I was about to move on with my day, it hit me. The emotions were complex and intricate in a way that extended beyond the death of a cat.
I moved away from Idaho about three and a half years ago. The distance from my family has been tolerable but sometimes lonely. No matter how much my mother may claim otherwise, the place I called home for so long is not mine anymore. The pets I had as a child are now dying, and with them a piece of my childhood. I now have a place and pets of my own, a job, bills, responsibility. The home I go back to will be much quieter and the memories will be much older.
I’m not afraid of growing older and growing up necessarily, but I am nostalgic for a time when I was innocent and unaware of how difficult the world actually is. I also have to face the sad truth that everything and everyone eventually dies. I think I broke down at the fact I wasn’t as sad as I have been in the past when my animals died. It just goes to show that the tragedies become relative with age, and I have reached an age where I understand and can be okay with something that once would have devastated me.
With that thought, I put dear old Max the cat to rest in my mind.