Death, Grief, Cats, Weighted randoms, Hope

I just realized that I haven't written any non code text in a long time. It feels strange to write without syntax or without a specific problem to solve. I should say that I am writing this in an attempt to deal with a problem. The problem is grief- the grief that comes with the death or imminent death of a pet.

I haven't had that many close human friends in my life but I've always had cat friends- I've had them my whole life. My last cat, Sneakers- died under mysterious circumstances- we found him dead on the sidewalk in front of our house the day after we came home from Iceland to attend the funeral of my wife's father.

My wife's fathers death was a huge shock- our cat being killed right after felt like being kicked when you are down-

I thought he had been hit by a car, but my neighbor told me that he had been killed by a mentally ill homeless man- I later found a man that fit the decription who claimed that he suffered from "demonic possession" Anyway, we don't know how Sneakers died- whether he was hit by a car, killed by a human or by one of the many pitbulls in the neighborhood.

Not knowing how he died still bothers me almost a year later- it makes me sad and angry- not knowing how or who killed my buddy Sneakers- I tend to get detailed and progressively intense violent fantasies when I'm angry which is not healthy in any way-

My cat before Sneakers was Boo- He was suffering from kidney failure- I gave him an iv of fluids for over a year before his end came- He had lost most of his personality by the time I took him into the ver to be euthanized- I stayed with him, held him, and pet him as he was euthanized- then I took him home and buried him- I put a little metal candle holder to mark his grave- I lit the candle every day for a few weeks in an attempt to convince my lost little friend that I didn't abandon him-

Theres an outdoor solar light near where he is buried- it blinks on and off at night some times- if I'm alone at night staring out the window and I see it blinking I talk to little Boo as if he's in some other plain of existence saying hello to me-

I going to have a reference to the blinking lights/messages from the dead in the game I'm working on now-

Going through the process of deciding, then taking Boo in to the vet to get euthanized was the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life- he was my best friend for 15 years- he was there the whole time I created everything as "M dot Strange"- its interesting that I stopped making films after Boo died-

The cat I had before Boo was named "Baby"- He died suddenly the night before my last day in college- He was sleeping in a bed next to mine- in the middle of the night I heard a loud thump- I got up and turned the light on and he was there laying lifeless in the middle of the floor- I was in a total panic- I called out his name and tried to give him cpr but he had died instantly-

I didn't bury him that night because some part of me hoped that he would come back to life- he was my best buddy for over 13 years-

I didn't sleep that night- I stayed up and went to school- I took the last final exam of my college career and went home feeling dead inside, empty- 

I came home hoping that he somehow would be alive- he wasn't- I triple checked he was dead before I buried him- when he died Boo was a kitten- so little Boo took over as my best friend- 

My cat before Baby was a cat named Malcolm- I don't know what happened to him- he just dissappeared one day when I was 10 years old-

When I was around 7 or 8 I used to play with the next door neighbors orange cat- one night while my mom was parking her car in front of our house I looked out the window to see that orange cat playing in the street- a car came down the street and seemed to speed up to try and hit the car- it did-

I ran out of the car and picked the cat up- as I held it in my arms it died- I remember the dismay and anger I felt towards the driver of that car- why would they try to kill a cat on purpose? I walked over to the neighbors house and knocked on the door with the cat in my arms-

When I was a kid- we had a lot of shitty neighbors- I've seen the effects of a lot of animal abuse and killings- it doesn't help one's opinions of people-

Having said that- my cat's dying messed me up a lot more than my own father dying- my father was alone when he became deathly ill- he had a hard life- he never did anything bad to me but I never really knew him- I didn't spend as much time with him as I spent with my cat's- I got choked up when I knew my father was dying- I didn't want him to die alone but he did-

I now realize that knowing how to deal with death and grief is a skill- it takes experience to gain the skill- the first few times I was faced with death in my family I used denial/defference to deal with it- I just kept my distance and sort of pretended that it didn't happen or that it had nothing to do with me-

Last year a close friends father was deathly ill- he was to have a major surgery he may or may not survive- I flew to the city he was in and stayed in/around the hospital for the week of the surgery/initial recovery- I did my best to help and support him and the family the best I could-

I'm getting closer to the reason I'm writing this- So after my wife's father died, then our cat was killed- that was about a year ago- to try and help deal with all that grief we adopted two kittens from a local cat rescue- they are brothers- Lynx and Bibu-

They have been our little buddies the past year- a week ago Lynx seemed to be having difficulty breathing so we took him to the vet- then another- and then the emergency vet- He was diagnosed with large cell Lymphona and would have died in days without treatment-

My wife and I decided to try and save him so we had them do radiation + chemotherapy- well he just started that- he could live a few weeks or a few years-

The vet told us to check his little brother Bibu because it could be genetic- we had him checked and it looks like he has cancer as well-

Now as I sit here writing this- both of them are sleeping by me- I think the hardest thing to deal with is knowing that day that you have to make the decision whether they live or die is probably coming sooner rather than later- Its not something anyone wants to think about let alone with one year old cats-

You look at them and just want them to live a long time and be happy- you don't want to see them in pain- you don't want to see them be afraid- but you know you will have to face those things sooner than you thought-

But it seems this is the fate they have been given and its the roll of bad luck we have been given- I don't think life is cruel or nature is cruel or anything like that- I think that life is a weighted random- everything is a roll of weighted dice- When you come up with a good roll you should be happy and not pat yourself on that back too much because whether we live or die everyday has a lot of randomness involved-

We fed these little buddies the best food, clean water, got all their shots, play with them everyday- but it seems their bad roll of the dice is in their genetics- I hope luck swings the other way and they live a long time but as a lot of you might know- when things start coming up bad for you in life- when people and pets die in bunches it weighs on you- it clouds your vision- if shifts your perspective-

Its like when something terrible happens like the death of a loved one it feels like the dimension you were in has shifted and now you are in this new strange dimension where everything seems off- its like someone came into your house and re-arranged everything so that it is your house that you know but everything has been moved making it all feel alien-

Every time I fail- every time something bad happens I try to pull a lesson out of it- its part of my coping mechanism I guess- I try to find some lesson in it so maybe in the back of my mind it comforts me to believe that whatever that lesson was will help me avoid the bad thing happening again-

For example I hadn't been to a dentist for 5 years and started going again this year- I had a ton of cavities and had to get a bunch of fillings- super basic stupid lesson learned = don't miss your dental cleanings/checkups-

With these two one year old cats having cancer I'm having a difficult time pulling a lesson out of it- well the only lesson I've been able to extrapolate so far is that life is a weighted random- I guess that is a lesson of sorts unto itself-

You can do everything "right" to weight the dice in the right direction BUT that doesn't guarantee you'll get a good roll- it will increase the chances for getting a good one but it is still random-

We did everything right in taking care of these cats- so we weighted the dice as much as we could to get a good roll but the weighting their genetics did was heavier and caused a bad roll of the dice-

In my daily work I've accepted the cliche "some times you're the fly, some times you're the windshield" as that seems to be true no matter what you do- now you can eat right, study, exercise and get enough sleep to try and weight the dice to get a good roll but its not guaranteed-

When playing board games it feels like "its not fair" when you are getting bad rolls and the other players seem to be getting good ones but its just luck and has nothing to do with "fairness"

Maybe part of the lesson is to play through the bad rolls without losing hope- yeah life hurts you some times but if you can still feel its not all that bad because its possible to get to a state wherein you feel no more- if you feel it means you're still alive- if you are disappointed it means that you still have hope- those are good things-

In our physical bodies pain is a message to prevent us from doing the thing that is causing the pain like holding your hand over a flame- 

In a way loving and caring about things is like holding your hand over a flame- as nothing lasts forever so that pain is coming- we know it is- if we have any experience to know it to be true-

Why do we love? Why do we care? Because it makes us feel alive- but it also causes us massive pain when something bad happens to the things we love- we know this and do it anway-

In my case I think the shock of having to face the pain so soon with these cats is what really got me- so the lesson is?

Every day, every minute, every second- is a roll of the dice- those weighted randoms running continuously- if you get a bad roll its not "fair" or "unfair" its just how it is- how you deal with it is up to you- its within your right to stop playing whatever game has hurt you- but since it is random you always have a chance to "win"

Those wins- however short or long they may be-  are the reason we keep trying- we keep living- we keep caring- we keep loving-

Without the hope of those wins why would anyone play? I find myself grasping for cliches to comfort myself in these times- my new programmer self wants to rationalize things- my creative self tells me to create things with this pain, confusion and dread- 

I find myself trying to find stable ground- I'm trying to find a new perspective to make things make sense in a way that isn't gut wrenching-

There's a lot going on in this world that is gut wrenching if you pay attention-

Something that really struck me in the past few years dealing with human sickness and death- hospitals, cancer talk, funerals- and also with Pet death/sickness-

People/animals are being born and dying around us nonstop- you never know who may be going through something terrible- so I think its good to always try to be friendly and patient with people as much as you can because you don't know if their loved one is sick or has just died- its all around us all the time-

Years ago I posted on this blog about a young man who comitted suicide after he had reached out too me- before that I posted about another young man who was dying when I was corresponding with him as a fan of my early work- I didn't know the dire state of either one at the time-

Anyway- I'm still working on a new game and I'm in the early stages on a new feature film- I'm gonna keep hope alive- and hope for good rolls from this weighted random life-

Best to you my friends,