Tuesday, November 27, 2012

We have a cat here at the convent. Her name is Emily and she belongs to Sr. Faith Margaret. When Sister is traveling, I'm the one who scoops the poop, feeds her and gives her medication. She often sleeps with me when Sister is gone. Most of the time I don't mind at all. She's a good cat.

But she's not my cat. I would like to have a cat of my own, specifically an orange cat like this one in the picture.

I would name it something really dumb, like Ginger or Home Depot.
I would love my cat.

On the other hand, I can predict a zillion reasons why this would be a terrible idea. Who would take care of my cat when I travel? And I don't know what I'd do if Emily didn't like Home Depot, if they didn't get along. Of course I would side with my cat in any disagreements. I would blame Emily for throw-up in the hallway. I would compare who had the cleanest cat litter box. I would begin to resent Emily, who now holds the seat of grace in our house. She's a good cat; she doesn't deserve that. She's just not my cat.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom

Today would be my mother's birthday. She was 28 years old when I was born, which would make her 95 if she were still alive. Nobody in my family ever lived to 95. They were heavy smoking, hard drinking New Englanders, and most of them died in their 70s of heart disease or stroke.

I will most likely die of stroke. I carry the high cholesterol RNA, the artery-hardening strands of genetic material that takes us down when we least expect it. It actually gives me a great deal of comfort to think about dying that way; certainly better than wasting away a day at a time, peeing my pants, my mind moving in and out of some goofy mental fog.

Several of my sisters are elderly and it's both a joy and a frustration to try to follow the mental trail of breadcrumbs their minds leave behind. The other breadcrumbs I just sweep up, trying to get to them before they're ground into the wood floors. When you age you don't see so well, don't hear so well, don't remember so well, and the powers of observation deteriorate along with everything else.

I can see it in myself to a lesser extent, but I am twenty years younger than they are. I have lots of time to deteriorate.

My mother didn't want to be buried when she died. It wasn't the coffin so much as she didn't want any one place to mark her passing. She wanted cremation with the ashes scattered by the funeral home, so I would never know where she was. "If you want to remember me, put a vase of flowers on the mantle on my birthday." she said.

I've done that some years. But while I went along with the cremation idea, I scattered her ashes myself. The oceans of the world mark her passing. Any beach will do as the place I visit to remember her.
Since I can't get to the beach today (I'm supper cook) I may get some flowers. Happy Birthday Mom.