Remembering Bagha, 1996-19.12.2010 [en]

Bagha: One Year, Coming Up [en]

[fr] Bientôt un an sans Bagha. Retour de tristesse.

In a couple of weeks, it’ll be one whole year since Bagha died. I’m feeling sad these days. Memories of my last weeks with him. Life with my old cat, wanting to make the most of my time with him, but not knowing how short it was going to be.

I realized how close we were getting to a full year when eclau turned three early November. Eclau’s second birthday led to the first Jelly there, and the photos I took that day are some of the last ones I have of Bagha.

I did take some photos after that, actually, but hadn’t put them online. Here’s the last photo I have of Bagha, just two weeks before his death. I was actually playing about with my new camera, and imagined I had all the time in the world to shoot great photos of Bagha with it.

Bagha tucked in 1010095.jpg

You haven’t seen many “dead cat” posts here lately, because mostly, I think I’m done going through the worst of my grief. Time does heal. So do tears and pain, actually. That was a new idea for me — that feeling pain was part of the healing process. Writing about what I was going through helped, too.

This summer, I realized I was slowly starting to be ready for another cat. Or cats, actually — I want two. During my latest trip to India, I got to hang out with a couple of Indian cats (Ebony and Cookie), and remembered how much I missed feline presence. I miss having a cat. I want to have a cat or cats. The timing isn’t good though, because with six weeks in India coming up, I’m going to wait until my return (this is something I’ve had planned for a long time now: cats after India).

So anyway, not so much to write about. I’ve been settling well in my catless life.

But right now, it’s coming back. I’m leaving for LeWeb tomorrow — it was my last trip away before Bagha died. Christmas is coming up. My friends and I were cooking Christmas biscuits when Bagha had his heart attack. My last interaction with him, before the attack, was to invite him over to lap up a broken egg from under the table. Then he went back to my room to resume his nap on the bed.

I miss him more now than I have these last months.

Christmas was a blur. Bagha died on the 19th, and I was beside myself with grief during those days where I’m usually winding down for the end-of-year celebrations, preparing presents, looking forward to spending some time with my family. Christmas approaching, and my departure for India just after that — they remind me of how horribly sad I was at that time.

I wish I could go back a year and have my last weeks with Bagha again.

These days, like last year at the same time of the year, I feel I have pretty much managed to get back on my feet and regain some balance (some days better than other) after what has been a pretty difficult year. When I lift my head up these days and breathe this new air, I remember that last time I felt like this, and the air was cold and the nights were dark, Bagha was here with me.

I miss him.

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The Bittersweet Freedom of Catlessness [en]

[fr] Visite féline durant le mois à venir. Je garde Kitty, le chat d'une de mes anciennes cat-sitteuses. Juste retour des choses, et occasion d'une réflexion sur ma vie sans chat/avec chat.

Bagha's spot on my desk

I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite a few months. What prompts me to write it now is that there is a cat in my flat, and will be for the next month. Kitty belongs to a friend of mine, who is going abroad for a month. She used to cat-sit Bagha back in the day. So, I’m taking care of Kitty for her while she’s away.

Kitty is a shy character, maybe a leftover of her past life as a stray. I have been trying to coax her out from under a piece of furniture with little bits of ham — and my plan for making friends over the next weeks involves clicker-training. You’ll get photographs once she comes out of hiding.

Over the last months, saddened though I was by Bagha’s death, I have been enjoying the freedom of catlessness. I have travelled a lot (maybe too much), and appreciated being able to stay elsewhere overnight on a whim without feeling bad about leaving my cat alone. (One could discuss how justified feeling bad about leaving Bagha alone for a night was, but that’s another topic.)

Now that I’m clearly out of the acute stage of grief, and that my catless life seems very normal, I wonder how I’ll feel about giving up some of that freedom again for furry companions. Of course, the freedom you give up for an animal when its young and healthy is not the same as when it is old and declining. (Kittens, though, are another story. I’m not sure I want kittens. Kittens are cute. Of course I’d love kittens. But I’m not sure I want to go through a year of having baby cats in the house.)

I’m not finding it too difficult to enjoy my freedom. I thought I would be more conflicted about it. Feeling bad about being happy to be free [because I don’t have a cat anymore]. I was a bit, intially. Now… sometimes I even forget to be sad. I think that’s a good sign.

This month with Kitty, in addition to helping out a friend, is also an opportunity for me to be “with cat” again. Another cat than Bagha. I mentioned that one of the things I needed to do to sort through my grieving emotions was separate my sadness of losing Bagha from my sadness of being catless. Maybe the coming month will be a chance to tie up a few loose ends around that theme.

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What Made Bagha Such a Special Cat For Me [en]

[fr] Un pas de plus sur le chemin du deuil, alors que je m'apprête à éparpiller les cendres de Bagha dans le jardin où il passait ses journées. Tentative un peu laborieuse d'identifier (et de trier) ce qui dans la douleur de la perte de mon chat est proprement la douleur de sa mort, et ce qui est simplement la douleur de la solitude retrouvée.

I started writing this months ago, not long after Bagha died. In India, to be precise. As a way to help me come to terms with his loss, I spent some time trying to write down what made him special for me. What is it exactly that I’m grieving, through him?

Bagha's Floppy Nap 3

I actually tried to blog this once before, and that ended up being the article “Sorting Through Grief“. Like all painful things, it’s tempting to postpone this kind of exercise — but now that I’m preparing to take Bagha’s ashes out of the back of my cupboard to scatter them in the garden he loved, I feel it is time to pick up this list again. I need to move forward. These last weeks, or maybe months, I’ve slipped into a not-too-uncomfortable limbo somewhere along the road of grief. There was a little sideroad somewhere with a bench, and I sat down.

It’s time to start walking again.

What follows is a little raw. It’s also not “perfect” — meaning that I’m aware I’m failing at sorting through some of the things I was hoping to sort through while writing this. That’s the whole point, I guess. Otherwise I would just sail “happily” through grief, if it wasn’t that difficult for me.

So, what made Bagha such a special cat for me? Quoting from my previous post, here’s what I’m trying to disentangle:

  • what it means for me to now be living completely alone (ie, “petless” => by extension, what having a pet — any pet — adds to my life)
  • what made Bagha special, as compared to other cats (his personal caracteristics, pretty objectively)
  • what made Bagha special for me, in terms of the relationship we had and what he meant to me

I’ll start by setting aside the obvious: what kind of cat Bagha was, outside of the relationship I had with him.


  • he was big and strong
  • he was a beautiful animal
  • he had a mashed-up nose and ear tufts
  • he had a long non-twitchy tail
  • he slept on his back with his front paws crossed
  • he was long-legged and slim with very sleek fur — had the body of an Indian cat
  • he was a spotted/striped tabby with lovely eyeliner

New Year Bagha 1And also:

  • he slept on his back, front paws crossed on his chest
  • he had a very girly high-pitched meow which was kind of comical for such a big boy
  • he snored gently in his sleep and made little moaning noises when being petted


  • he wasn’t fearful
  • he liked people and people liked him
  • he was smart
  • he was communicative
  • he was dignified
  • he had an attitude
  • he was cuddly without being needy
  • he was patient and tolerant but not out of fear
  • he had a strong character
  • he was very territorial and peed on all the bushes

It's MY computerThings he did (I’m aware we’re in the anecdotal department here):

  • he opened the fridge
  • he drank out of the toilet
  • he gnawed on drawer handles
  • he played with sticks and chewed them like a dog, holding them between his two front paws
  • he would creep into cupboards the second the door was opened
  • he opened drawers
  • whenever possible, he would rest his head on a pillow (proper or improvised — a laptop would do)
  • he would deftly knock over glasses of water to drink it
  • he would knock things off my bedside table if I didn’t wake up fast enough

The cat and his humanHow he was with me, bearing in mind that this is pretty standard cat-behaviour:

  • he loved having his belly rubbed
  • he liked being carried under one arm
  • he liked being cuddled curled up on my chest
  • he’d sleep with his head and paw resting on my arm

More about his behaviour and interactions with me and other humans, which is maybe a little less “cat-standard”, but not yet the stuff that made my relationship with him so special:

  • he would come back home all by himself, right into the flat, and come and say hello
  • he trained the whole building to let him in and out
  • he would patiently let me give him his meds or put his collar on before going out
  • everybody who met him liked him and saw he was not an ordinary cat

Here we are, now. The cat-companion. This is what the emptiness of his absence is made of.

  • he slept with me every night
  • he would follow me discreetly from room to room
  • he’d sit on the table while I ate
  • he’d wake me in the morning to go out with just one meow
  • he would come and lie down where I patted my hand
  • he would come and cuddle when I watched TV or worked at home

Taking some rest

Trying to rise above the mundane details of daily cohabitation (even if they’re important), here are some of the deeper roles Bagha played for me:

  • he would be waiting for me, always happy to see me
  • he kept me company every day
  • he helped me connect to people in my building and neighbourhood
  • he connected me to India and Aleika
  • he was a constant through all the changes my life went through these last ten years

Of these, I guess the fact he kept me company and was happy to see me are more pet-generic than Bagha-specific.

But the role he played in helping me find my place in my neighbourhood, the connexion to India and Aleika, and the ten years of my life that he saw me through — those are things that are uniquely linked to Bagha. No other cat will ever be able to give me that again. He was a living, breathing, purring witness to these things, no lost forever. I carry those years and that part of my life completely alone, now.

Along the same lines, here are two more things I’d like to add:

  • he made eclau a special coworking space
  • he brought me closer to some of my friends who lived in my flat to take care of him when I was away

Eclau will have other cats, and be a “special” coworking space in that respect in the future. Salem, my upstairs neighbour’s cat, has already taken quarters on the couch, and will probably soon have his own page on the eclau website. Some time next year, I’ll be ready to have cats again, and they’ll come to eclau too. It will always be a kitty-friendly coworking space — but Bagha was the first, and his constant presence in the office was soothing for those who worked there.

The fact that quite a few of my friends cat-sat at some point or another when I was travelling over the last ten years made him a connexion between me and them — connexion which is now gone, like some of those friendships. His absence makes their pastness a little more present.

On a more emotional level:

  • I loved him and cared for him
  • I gladly gave up some of my freedom because I loved him
  • I accepted some risks (like losing him to a car accident) because it gave him a better life

These are things I learned for life because he was my pet, and will treasure for ever. His legacy in me. Traces of his life that his death cannot erase, and which — I believe — make me a better person.

I believe there is no meaning in the world other than the meaning we put in it, consciously or not. Beyond the meaninglessness of life and death, we choose to make sense of our lives so that we can keep on growing.

Maybe Bagha’s biggest gift to me, beyond the ten years of precious companionship he gave me, is in his death. I got to say good-bye. Not at the moment of my choosing, of course — death rarely gives us that — but did get to say good-bye properly. I am saying good-bye.

So here’s the meaning I choose and which makes perfect sense for my life, almost as if it were provided by some intention bigger than and beyond me:

Bagha let me love him for a long time and with all my heart, so that I could learn to love and grieve properly.

Amongst all this, I wonder, what is just the pain of finding myself “alone”, or catless? What does it mean to me to have a cat? I’ve tried to break it down into “plus side” and “minus side”, because part of the grieving process is also greeting the new good things in my life brought about by this loss (I have a blog post draft sitting in WordPress titled “The Bittersweet Freedom of Catlessness” — I will write it someday).

Having a cat means:

  • having company to sleep with me at night
  • having somebody to care for
  • having somebody waiting for me to come home
  • having somebody to communicate with and keep me company
  • having cuddles and affection handy when needed
  • having an attraction for visitors and a topic of conversation to make friends amongst cat-lovers

But it also means:

  • giving up some freedom (no unplanned trips)
  • expenses (food, vet, etc)
  • having to cat-proof the home
  • having to get up to let the cat out, or change the litter
  • worrying that it didn’t come home (or might not)
  • negotiations with neighbours/concierge if it causes any trouble

The pain of losing Bagha is still very present, nearly five months after his death. There is still a terrible pit of sadness in my heart, but it doesn’t overflow with tears anymore when I don’t want it to.

I sometimes try to imagine my future cats, who are maybe not even born yet — I fear that I will not love them as much as I loved Bagha, or that they will not be quite so extraordinary, and I know that I still need to spend some time walking down that road.

Bagha arbre 1

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Tears Do Heal — But Slowly [en]

[fr] Un retour d'Angleterre un peu difficile, des vagues de chagrin qui vont et viennent depuis trois mois que Bagha m'a quittée. Mais le chagrin, c'est notre réaction à la douleur de la perte. Le sentir, c'est avancer sur le chemin de l'acceptation.

I’ve had a handful of pretty miserable days upon my return from England. Feeling very sad again about Bagha’s death, and some other losses 2010 brought along with it. But this last couple of days have been better, because tears do heal, and spring is here.

Pencil Effect Sunday 26

Three months after Bagha’s death, I’m thankfully not bursting into uncontrollable tears in socially awkward settings anymore. It comes and goes. I might spend a week or ten days with hardly a tear, and then a wave hits and I’m going through stacks of tissues every day. I’m getting used to it.

I know I need to though, so I dive into the pain and grief when it comes — and when it’s appropriate to let myself do so.

When I’m “in”, it feels like my life is over, like it hurts so much that I’ll never get over it. It feels like some part of me will forever refuse to accept that he is dead and gone, refuse to accept that there is nothing I can do about it, and refuse to accept too that nothing will bring him back. It feels like I will never manage to move on and open my heart this much again, like I will be stuck in grief forever.

Of course I know this isn’t true, and outside of these moments of intense grief, I’m living my life pretty normally these days, despite my heavy heart.

But what I’m starting to understand — and understand really because I’m experiencing it — is that these moments of pain where I am so adamantly refusing to accept that Bagha has died, and I now have to live without him, are actually the very thing that is helping me accept it.

When I was told this it made immediate and perfect sense to me. I feel pain and sadness because I am facing the fact Bagha is dead. Even if my reaction (defense mechanism) to that pain is a futile refusal to accept that which is causing the pain (clearly a flavour of denial — “I want my cat back, I don’t want him to be dead”), it remains that if I am feeling that pain it is precisely because I am realizing or accepting a little more that my life from here onwards will be without him, and I have no choice in that matter.

That is why sadness and tears heal: they are the expression of a step forward in accepting a difficult reality. And though it feels sometimes that the steps are small and the road long, I know I am making progress, and that my heart will heal again.

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Two Deaths [en]

[fr] Deux décès, l'un humain, l'autre félin, et mes réactions assez différentes aux deux.

Two heart attacks, even. The first is Bagha, you’ll have guessed. Jean-ChristopheThe second is Jean-Christophe, who was deputy head in the school I taught at and with whom I stayed in touch over the years: fellow blogger and lifter, I enjoyed our lunch-time conversations about social media, web technology, education and the various things of life. He was a really friendly, genuinely nice person. I didn’t know him very well, but we did hang out once in a while. He wrote a very nice piece about me for Ada Lovelace Day in 2009. He died almost exactly a month after Bagha.

I was very, very shocked by Jean-Christophe’s death — and remain shocked. You don’t expect young, healthy people around you to drop like a stone and die in the middle of a basketball match (he was 42, a regular player, didn’t smoke…). I was also shocked by Bagha’s death, but the grief was so great that I just couldn’t stop the tears for days on end, and it took over.

Two deaths, one human, one feline, one of a being who shared almost every single day of mine for 11 years, the other which I would see a handful of times every year. Two different reactions on my part. On a slightly “clinical” level, I’ve found it interesting to observe how I’ve been processing both these deaths. Beyond the obvious animal vs. human difference, I’ve realised that what really counts is the role they were playing in my life.

Jean-Christophe was a truly lovely person. His death pains me, and even though he was somebody I trusted (to the point of collapsing in his office during my first year of teaching when things were not going well at all) we weren’t close. He was somebody I knew and appreciated, a part of my network (our discussions revolved primarily around work and common interests, not each other’s lives). If I think of his family, my heart breaks for them, but I am not touched as if it were my family.

Not seeing Jean-Christophe is the normal state of my life, so beyond the shock of the announcement, I am not confronted much with his death. A couple of times I’ve thought “oh, I should ask Jean-Christophe if he knows somebody who…” and caught myself. Beyond the shock and discomfort of seeing the sudden death of somebody who is just a few years older than myself, and of knowing that a wonderful human being is no more, the impact of Jean-Christophe’s death on my life has been pretty minimal.

Maybe this minimal impact (compounded to the fact I was in India for the funeral so couldn’t attend and therefore share others’ grief) has allowed me to stay in some stage of denial — or maybe the fact he was a rather “weak tie” in my life simply makes the whole grieving process less painful and visible.

Eclau oct 2009 24Bagha, on the other hand, even though he was “just a cat”, was part of my everyday life for years and a primary emotional attachment. His loss is a huge disruption in my life, all the more because he was an elderly cat who had started to require care — some parts of my life were organized around him. Making sure somebody was there for him when I travelled, coming back home to give him his meds, being available to take him to the vet when things weren’t quite right.

Except when I was in India, I have not been able to “forget” his death much. The flat is lonely without a feline presence. Another cat naps on the couch at eclau (I’m happy about that, though). I’m still surprised that I can stay out when I hadn’t planned to. I can leave stuff lying around in the flat (even food) and nothing happens to them. Open cupboard doors are not important anymore. I’m not woken up at 6am by somebody furry who wants to be let out.

When somebody asks a group of people “who has a cat?” I have to keep my hand down now. I don’t have a cat anymore. I’m not a cat-owner. I’ve had a cat since I was nine, even though my first cat, Flam, lived at my parents’ for three years when I moved out, and I was briefly catless between her death and the moment Bagha officially became “my” cat. But being a cat lover and owner has always been a big part of my identity, which I feel I have now lost (risky parallel: does it feel like that to long-time smokers who give up the cancer-stick?). Of course, I will have cats again (after India early 2012 is the current plan), but right now, I’m part of these petless people.

Almost everything in my life reminds of his death. I still have a photo of him as background image for my iPhone, because I’m not sure when the right moment to change it would be, and what to replace it with. Though I’m slowly rebuilding a layer of habits and memories of my new life without him, I feel his loss almost every day — some days worse than others.

This makes me realize that in a way, it is less the intrinsec value of the being who died (who would dare put a cat’s life before that of a human being?) than the role played in one’s life and one’s emotional attachment that determines the amount of grief. Sounds obvious, uh, nothing new under the sun here. But it has another taste when you’ve reached the conclusion all over again by yourself.

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Of Grief and Travel [en]

[fr] Retour d'Inde, et je pleure mon chat comme il y a un mois, après une sorte d'interruption où le deuil a gentiment glisser sous le tapis. M'habituer à son absence alors que je suis ailleurs, dans un contexte complètement étranger, c'est une chose. A la maison, cela va prendre nettement plus de temps.

As all of you must know by now, my cat Bagha died just ten days before I was due to leave on a month-long trip to India, my first “real” (understand: three weeks or more) holiday in many years. It’s been a horrible, horrible loss for me — and if at this stage you’re thinking “just a cat”, switch to “11 years of life together”. I cried every day until I left, and was still very upset when I arrived in India.

Ready to Pounce

At some point, in India, I stopped crying. Different context, people around, not much privacy, but mainly, I think, lots of exciting Indian life and people to keep me busy. Over a month, I had plenty of time to settle down in my holiday-life over there — and holiday-life and travel clearly never involved having Bagha around.

When Bagha was alive, I would miss him when I was travelling. The first days would be the worst, and then I would get used to it and stop thinking about it. After a few weeks, though, I’d be really looking forward to seeing him again. It was part of what would draw me back home.

So, maybe I was just following my normal travel-pattern here too.

Coming back has been really hard. In all honesty, it feels pretty much like I’m back to where I left off before my travels. A few things have changed, though — the work of time: I’m not in shock anymore (I’ll talk about shock in a later post about another recent death), and I don’t really expect to see Bagha sleeping on the couch or on the bed when I enter a room. I still have “where’s the cat?” or “I need to get the cat” moments, though. Many times a day. and I’m going through a lot of tissues again.

I don’t know if this “break in grief” was a good thing — not that I regret going to India at all, and I immensely enjoyed my time there — but I remember wishing I had “more time” before leaving while I was preparing my bags and departure.

Bangalore 142 Fancy Buildings.jpgWhat this trip has shown me, though, is that life goes on. Or at least, that I can rebuild a life for myself. This is very similar to what my year in India showed me: that I could start from scratch somewhere and find friends, have a life, be happy enough. (I write happy enough because generally, that’s how I am — “happy” on its own has not often been a general state in my life, though it’s a regular short-term feeling.)

But life elsewhere without my cat and life at home without my cat are not the same thing.

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Sorting Through Grief [en]

So, in the process of coming to terms with Bagha’s death — or at least, moving forward in that direction — I’ve tried to identify what made him special and unique for me. You see, when losing a pet you’re as attached to as I was to Bagha, a lot of things get mixed up.

Cute Sleeping Bagha at Eclau

I think it helps to differentiate, for example, between the pain of being “petless” and the pain of losing this specific pet. Here are some of the levels I can make out:

  • what it means for me to now be living completely alone (ie, “petless” => by extension, what having a pet — any pet — adds to my life)
  • what made Bagha special, as compared to other cats (his personal caracteristics, pretty objectively)
  • what made Bagha special for me, in terms of the relationship we had and what he meant to me.

I made a pretty long list in the days following his death. One of the reasons I’m doing this is that I have trouble sorting out the levels (even simply hoping they make sense). The idea is to identify what I am really grieving here (yeah, my cat of course, but let’s skip the obvious) and also — this is the difficult part for me — to pinpoint what remains for me of this feline relationship.

What made it worthwhile? What justifies or compensates the suffering when it ends? What is really hurting because of this particular loss, and what is just old stuff coming back to the surface? Because without that, the obvious conclusion to this much grief (and those who have been through separations of any type in their life can probably relate) is vowing never to put oneself in a situation that leaves the door open to suffering like this again. To put it clearly: to be able to love (or bond) you need to be able to grieve (to come to terms with loss).

I’ll dive into this exercise in another post. First of all, because it will be long — and second, because it’s not easy, and I think I have to take things little by little. Writing this up is the first step.

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On Grief and Losing Bagha [en]

I’m in India. I’m in Pune. I’m in IUCAA. I’m where Bagha was born, where I started to love him. It’s also the place where I spent a short year with Aleika, Somak and Akirno, and the Shindes, and all the other people and beasts who were part of my Indian world. That world is gone forever.

So as I grieve for my cat, I also grieve for these other pieces of my life which are lost and gone, never to return. Being here makes it all the more raw — also because I’m so happy to be here.

Pause à l'eclau 7

I’m still terribly sad about losing Bagha. I’ve been crying every day since he died. I didn’t have much time to myself between packing and traveling and arriving here, and it’s all been piling up, because I’ve been forgetting. Completely forgetting, because there has been so much positive excitement these last two days.

But now I’ve been remembering. Remembering that I miss Bagha not because I left him at home to go on a trip, but because he is gone, gone, gone. And it hurts like hell.

I don’t believe in any afterlife. I don’t believe in any spirit hanging around. There is no more Bagha, except in our photographs, our memories, and the changes he might have brought around in our lives. In mine, in any case.

I hinted that I would be telling you more about what I’m going through and learning these days. I actually started writing about what I was discovering about grief the other day, but got lost somewhere in the middle.

Grief is a weird state: it goes back and forth, up and down.

The first days after Bagha’s death, I would find myself going from a kind of numbness in which I’d “forgotten” he was dead to the horrible realization it was true even though I “couldn’t believe it”, and then devastating sadness in which my world seemed to have come to an end, and from which I had the feeling I would never emerge. And back out and back in again.

I would wake up crying in the morning and go to sleep crying at night. I had no trouble sleeping, however, to my surprise: I discovered that it is not sadness but anxiety which keeps one awake all night, mind spinning, too wired to slow down one’s thoughts enough to fade into sleep. For me, at least, grief seems to tire me out.

I put most of his things away over the first few days. Not in an attempt to make all traces of his presence disappear — more as a way to try and accept that these bowls, pieces of string and old expired meds would not be needed anymore. It took me a long time (until my imminent departure, actually) to touch his spot on my desk, though: I could still see the shape of his body on the pillow, and feel myself hanging on to this very physical trace of him.

Cleaning the flat was very hard. Tidying up. Removing the subtle remains of his presence in my life. The first time I hoovered without him trying to run out of the flat. The first time I changed the sheets without him trying to get under them. The first time I washed things in the bathtub without having to worry about him drinking the soapy water.

That cat was everywhere, all along my days. Watching TV: a break comes up, where’s the cat? I get up from what I’m doing, “to find the cat”. All these reflexes which are now meaningless.

My one consolation right now is that my grief is simple. I did everything right with this cat. He was a wonderful pet. I have no regrets. He lived a long life (14 years is not exceptional, but as Aleika put it, he probably outlived all of his litter-mates by at least 8 years) and even died pretty well (if one can die “well”). I don’t feel guilty, there’s nobody to be mad at, I knew he was going to die someday, and I treasured the time I had with him, specially these last few years.

It doesn’t make things easy, but it makes them simple. Even when it hurts as much as it does right now, I know that what I’m going through is normal, and that it will get better in time and tears, and that I will probably be ready at some point for new feline companionship.

So here it is: the one pain I’ve spent my whole life being so afraid of. I’m in it, it’s dreadful, but I’m still alive and happy to be. I have plans, I want to do things, I laugh and I smile. Life goes on, it really does, I know it for good now.

It hurts, but it goes on.

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Internet et la mort: plus qu'une vitre brisée [fr]

[en] I write a weekly column for Les Quotidiennes, which I republish here on CTTS for safekeeping.

Chroniques du monde connecté: cet article a été initialement publié dans Les Quotidiennes (voir l’original).

Après ma chronique sur la théorie de la vitre brisée il y a deux semaines, je n’avais honnêtement pas l’intention de vous faire faux bond à nouveau. La mort de mon chat, fidèle compagnon de ces dix dernières années, a quelque peu coupé court à mes bonnes intentions.

Bagha peeking out 1

Ce deuil me fait prendre conscience d’une dimension de complication qu’ajoute internet en pareille circonstance. Mon chat n’était pas juste présent dans mon appartement. Vadrouilleur, il était connu dans tout le quartier, et passait aussi ses journées à l’eclau, dans mon espace coworking. Mais en plus de ça, il était connu sur internet. Un compte Twitter, une page Facebook, un compte Catster comprenant un blog, des myriades dephotos et d’articles sur mon blog.

Alors OK, je suis une mamy à chat et je suis très présente sur internet, mais n’empêche: en plus des gamelles et des bouts de ficelle devenus inutiles, de l’appartement vide et des soirées télé sans ronron, il reste toute cette présence numérique devant laquelle je me trouve un peu démunie.

Que faire du compte Twitter? Est-ce que Bagha va utiliser sa page Facebook pour envoyer des bons mots de l’au-delà des chats à ceux qui l’ont connu? Dans les jours, semaines et mois qui viennent, il y a aura des profils à récrire, des sites web à modifier — en plus de toutes les annonces déjà faites pour informer ceux qui le connaissaient (souvent sans l’avoir rencontré) de la triste nouvelle.

Mais au-delà de cette mort féline, je pense aux conséquences de nos présences en ligne quand notre heure sera arrivée. Qui aura accès à nos comptes? Je martèle qu’il ne faut pas partager ses mots de passe, oui, mais quand on ne sera plus là? Je me dis que je vais sérieusement jeter un oeil aux services comme La Vie d’Après

Sur ce, je vous prie de me pardonner pour cette chronique pas très festive. Bonne année à tous, et je vous retrouverai à mon retour d’Inde, quelque part en février.

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