Life can only be understood backwards,
but it must be lived forwards.
~ Soren Kierkegarrd
I met a nice woman the other day, I can't remember her name, who upon learning I'm a new widow (read Oh My Man and Winds), almost immediately said to me, "You need to get a cat." My internal dialog went, "Uh, that would be a NO - - a big NO!" The lovely woman I'm sure meant well, but I don't appreciate anyone telling me what I "need" especially when they've only just met me, and know nothing about my like, dislike, or maybe even an allergy of cats. By the way, the answer is: No allergy, just Blah!
I posted the anecdote on my Facebook status and the entertaining comment exchange took on a life; people chimmed in pro cat vs. pro dog. What was so hilarious to me was the giant assumption being made - - that I was in the market - - for an animal of any kind. Uh, that would be a NO - - a big NO!
This grieving widow is still adapting, recovering from the trauma of her loss (read Smackdown), with regularly fleeting and limited abilities in taking care of herself and her home, has absolutely no business procuring a pet - - another living being to be responsible for. That's disaster in the making and in my opinion a definition of insanity.
Some would argue, having a pet provides companionship, or as when one friend suggested about getting a rescue puppy, the treat of coming home to puppy love and kisses. Even typing this out, all I hear in my head is, "I am sooooo not this girl." Reality check for the record, puppies don't stay puppies - - though you do forever get to clean up their poop.
Later in the day, I remembered a story...
At my 20th high school reunion, I saw an old friend, Alma. Alma herself had a traumatic experience in high school, the specifics are for her keeping, but the result being she had to raise her siblings, while still a kid herself. When we exchanged pleasantries and did the quick lifetime rundown, I asked Alma, then married, if she had children. She frankly replied, "No, I did my part already. I'm done." I completely understood and apologized for any misstep on my part in asking. She was totally cool. In remembering that story I realized I too had done my part already - - as a care-taker - - of both pets and people. I've done my part now too.
I grew up with various pets in our home at differing times: dogs, hamsters, gerbils, fish, cats. My issue with cats and dogs specifically was that they were brought into the home, not out of any pleading request from me or my brother, yet we were responsible for the grunt work in care taking: Feeding, dooty duty, etc. We detested it. It was not fun. We didn't ask for it, but it ours to tend to. I had gerbils as pets from middle school through my senior year of high school, until, during a move, I accidentally left their cage in the 90+ degree garage - - they didn't survive. I was devastated and coincidentally enough, four months pregnant with my daughter. I also played care-taker to my mother during her battle with ovarian cancer my freshman & sophomore years.
Single parenthood - - The Grand Poobah of care-taking.
Spousedom - - emotional and physical care taking, the responsibility compounded by living with active addiction in the household (read Maya).
I don't crave companionship, nor am I a hermit. I am not lonely, just lonesome occasionally. I'm blessed with a healthy pool of friends and family. I do get out and do things. The peace and solitude in my house is helping me heal. I'm not uncomfortable with it, it's soothing. In my widowdom, I deeply miss the intimacy and affection with Boomer, but I am not yearning for that kind of physical attention either. I'm not interested in a replacement or surrogate to fill what sometimes feels like a meteor crater created by his death. I just miss Boomer (read Anticipation).
I'm reminded that no pets allowed as was another area Boomer and I had in common, that made our match so ideal (read Chef , Babies and YinYang), he didn't want pets either. He had allergies to cats and we didn't want the high maintenance responsibility of a dog. We did however enjoy fantasizing about having a dog once a year when we'd watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. He'd laugh at my knowledge of dogs, especially being one who wasn't that into them. Boomer came up with our favorite pretend dog name: Winston.
My daughter and her man, Adam, said they're thinking about getting a dog; they're getting close and based on the breed they have in mind, announced they'll name it - - Winston. Hey, now that's something I can do - - dog grandma - - long distance. That works perfectly.
So yeah, for now, I'm quite cool with my no pets allowed policy. I'm very happy to just go with, Uh, that would be a NO - - a big NO.