Monday, 14 June 2010

The book I reached for when my cat died

A week ago Saturday our beloved cat Bandit was put to sleep. Her cancer had finally spread, quite suddenly, and we knew it was time. After we held her, and said our goodbyes, and buried her, I found my thoughts straying to a book for comfort. No, not the Bible. No, not a childhood book like Black Beauty or Little House on the Prairies or even Anne of Green Gables.

No, surprisingly, my thought flew towards Stephen King. Out of the blue, I wanted to read Pet Semetary. The urge was so strong, that after checking my shelves - once upon a time I owned all of his books, and am now rebuilding my collection of his titles - discovering I hadn't replaced it, I rushed out and bought it at Chapters. I read The Cipher Garden as fast as I could (very very good mystery by the way, will review it shortly; I was in the middle of this when all this with Bandit happened, and after waiting 6 weeks for the book, I was not putting it down again until it was done!!) and then opened up Pet Semetary with a happy sigh.

I can feel you all looking at me. But Susan, it's a horror novel! you are all saying. In fact a friend of mine at work asked me on Friday about this. Your cat just died, and you're reading Pet Semetary, she asked. Can I ask why?

Yes, I answered. I want to remember why it's good to not want my cat to come back.

It's funny what our minds turn to for comfort, and what books we suddenly need to hand, isn't it?

I haven't read Pet Semetary in over 15 years, and I am enjoying/deliciously scared by it all over again. And I'm really hoping I never see the earth disturbed over top of where she is lying.

Goodbye Bandit, you were such a beloved kitty.


Chris said...

So sorry about your kitty. That's always tough.

I can see why reading it helped you. I wouldn't want my cat back from Pet Semetary. That was a scary book.

Kathleen said...

Sorry to hear about your precious kitty. I am always amazed at the power that books have to make us feel better. While the choice of the Stephen King novel would seem unorthodox it helped you and that is all that matters.

Jeane said...

Sad about your kitty. I never read Pet Sematary, it sounds too scary for me!

zetor said...

So sorry about kitty. We had to have our beautiful Mog put to sleep in March due to cancer. I miss her so much!

Daphne said...

I lost my beloved Tiger Lily last year and am still capable of breaking out into tears at odd moments, missing her. I say, read whatever makes you feel better (and I can totally related to needed a reminder of why you don't want to wish her back!). Sometimes a good scare can be just as comforting as Little House on the Prairie. :) Hugs and peace to your family.

Judith said...

I am so, so very sorry about the death of your beloved cat. I'll be thinking about you in the days to come. The death of a pet is very, very hard.
I'm glad you found a book to help assuage your grief.

Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)

Chris said...

Oh Susan :( I'm so very sorry to hear about your kitty :( *big hugs* Your book choice certainly makes sense to me! Glad you found some help through it.

Molly said...

I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Bandit; our pets are so precious to us and grief is a necessary process. I am glad that you have found a way to help you process.

Anonymous said...

Pet Sematary sounds like the perfect book to read after such a sad passing, come to think of it. Never read the book but I did see the movie.

mariel said...

So sorry to hear about Bandit. She had a wonderful name.

Memory said...

I'm so sorry about Bandit. I know what it's like to lose a pet, and I can see how PET SEMETARY would be good reading material right now. :(

坤郁 said...

在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」 ..................................................

Amy said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved kitty! I know how hard that is.

Life by Candlelight

Clover said...

I was a little horrified at your selection .. until you explained it.

I'm really sorry for your loss.

Susan said...

Chris: thank you! It is a scary book, I just finished reading it again. Definitely don't want her back!

Kathleen: thank you. You are so right too, books do help, for all kinds of things. I am so glad I live in an age where books are widely available to read, for everyone.

Jeane: It's a very good book. Stephen King does his characters so well. It is scary, too, I admit that!

zetor: this is my first animal as one I've owned myself, and I find I miss her in so many ways. I'm sorry for your loss too. Our animals do creep into our hearts and souls, don't they?

Daphne: I was almost in tears at work yesterday, telling a co-worker about her (he knew she'd been sick). I'm sorry about Tiger Lily, I remember how much you loved her.

Judith: thank you so much for your kind thoughts.

Chris: I'm glad you like my book choice! lol thanks for the hug, I need lots of those right now.

Molly: thank you so much for your thoughts, and surprisingly, Pet Sematary has helped.

StephanieD: thanks! I think I saw the movie, though I much prefer the book.

mariel: Thank you. She got the name because the first time I saw her, I fell instantly in love with her - she stole my heart.

Memory: Thank you. Even though I've been through this before, it was long ago as a child. This is the first time as an adult, and it hurts just as much. They are special, our pets.

Amy: thank you! your thoughts and sympathy mean so much.

Clover: I know! I was a little horrified too! Once I started reading it though, it was perfect, a book about loss and grief and not being able to let go. Thank you for your sympathy, too.

Lesley said...

So sorry about your kitty. :-( It's hard, even when you know it has to be done. We had to unexpectedly euthanize one of our beloved cats recently, too.

I read Pet Semetary about the same time you first did, and it scared the bejezus out of me - your choice does make sense, in a macabre sort of way. :-)

Bybee said...

I'm sorry about Bandit. Really. I know what it's like to lose a pet.

Still, I can't help imagining this as a frame, you're inconsolable and in the next frame, you're reading Pet Semetary. Speaking of which, I want to read this book now. One of the Kings I've missed.

Susan said...

Lesley: It is hard, isn't it? much harder to lose a pet than I remember it being. I'm sorry for your loss, too. One of my friends here just lost one of her cats on Friday night. We all need a good hug, I think! I like how you call it a macabre choice - it was, and I still enjoyed it! It helped with the grieving in an odd way.

Bybee: having just read it again, I can say it does hold up unexpectedly very well. You should read it, especially as you have lost a pet before. You might relate to this book a little more than you think..... thanks for the sympathy too, book-twin.

Bookfool said...

Sounds perfectly logical to me. So sorry about your kitty. We just lost our 16-year-old kitty in January and now have a rambunctious 9-month-old kitten. What a dramatic change that's been!

Carl V. said...

I am so very sorry that your cat had to be put to sleep. We had to do that with our dog a few years ago and it was not an easy thing to do despite it being the right thing to do.

And it thrills me to no end that you honored your cat in such a memorable and unconventional way. Good for you!

I haven't read Pet Semetary in over 20 years, but I remember loving it when I read it as a teen. At the time I thought if I ever had a son I wanted to name him Gage. Once I got older I realized that naming a kid after a troublesome Stephen King character was probably not going to be a good idea.