I believe I'm going through one of those periods where the Universe is conspiring to make me feel small and insignificant. I think everyone probably goes through this from time to time, and I think most people do their best to just push it down and make it go away. I suspect a large portion of the country's economy benefits from the pushing down process, but I don't have any real proof of this.
Right now, I'm wondering why I've allowed myself to become attached to another animal. Puddie, the cat my brother got for his thirteenth birthday, was put to sleep in late 1999. Puddie was almost twelve years old when he died. He lived with Mom and Dad for a good portion of his life in various places across West Virginia (including Beckley while I finished out high school and college), and he lived with my brother in Ohio for a time. Puddie's health simply deteriorated to a point where it was a struggle for him to remain alive, and upon the vet's analysis that the rest of his natural days would probably be quite painful, it was decided those days would be ended as would his struggle.
(Please note the use of passive voice here, which Rita Mae Brown says is an effective way to remove the agent of action.)
Charlie's health took a sudden downturn this week with a nasty intestinal bug of some sort which has killed his appetite. So, we're off to the vet's office tomorrow morning with the hope it can be easily remedied. Seeing him moping around here is eerie — Puddie spent part of one of his last days on earth in this house, and since the two cats look very similar, it's like I've been reliving that this week.
Charlie is almost seven, which is about half the average lifespan of an indoor cat. At some level, it has flown by — time, indeed, seems to pass more quickly the older I get. During that time, we have all become attached to him in some way. And he is, at some level, dependent upon us. He is tame and sweet enough that I think he wouldn't last long in the outside world. That dependency is humbling.
I can do nothing for him now, though. That is humbling in a different way. Because for all the wondrous miracles humanity can perform, there is absolutely nothing we can do to keep that spark alive indefinitely. I'm just going to hope the vet can extend it a little longer. I know even that, ultimately, will be futile — which I thought I learned in 1999, but I guess I forgot.