If you've read this site for a while, and its predecessor, "My Head Talking," which dates back to the summer of 1997, you know how long I've had cats and how many I've had over the years.
At one time, about eleven or twelve years ago, I had no fewer than twenty-four cats.
I'll let that settle in.
I now have exactly four. Well, five, if you count Katie, the barn cat who volunteered her services a couple of years ago to look after the wabbits in the barn.
Loss has been everywhere in the last two months. I think I talked about the loss of Grace and Nutsy's entire first litter, a wonderful set of kits who died the week after I got back from Lotusphere 2012. It was a brutal, brutal week, helpless, angry, sad, despairing. And even then, it wasn't over. I lost Clara, the last of the cats born in the 20th Century. I lost Liz, a terrific Flemish doe. And then, one week after a great show at Lebanon, Pennsylvania in February, I lost Lawrence, maybe the best buck I ever touched, let alone had in my barn. Had he lived, he would have changed the entire course of Flemish Giants in the East.
And yet, it didn't end.
Bert became ill. Bert, one of the kittens born in my barn in February, 2000 -- not four feet from where Lawrence later died -- is majestically stupid and incredibly friendly. He lost half his weight in four months, and I pulled him out to find out what was wrong. He turned out to be diabetic, and I am figuring out how to cope with that. But while I was focused on him, and without any warning, his sensible, smart, elegant sister, Margaret... died. Their brother, Phil, looks at me and wants to know what's going on, and I have nothing to tell him.
When will this shit end?
The losses have been horrible. They haven't been confined to my little domain here in the mountains. The parents of good friends have sickened or passed away. Friends have lost homes. Friends have lost loved ones. They've had their houses damaged by floods and storms. They've lost companion animals. They've lost jobs. They've lost hope.
Maybe I have, too.
When will this shit end?
I'm better off than some. My mortgage has never been late. I've never missed a power bill. The network connection stays up. The feed and hay is well-stocked in the barn.
And two litters of kits are on the way.
I've been in IT for over thirty years, but my greatest hope comes from two wonderful does in my barn, and the kits they will have in a couple of weeks. Unless you follow me every day on Twitter, and the twitpics, you don't know how delighted I am by a boxful of tiny, curious wabbits when their eyes open and they come out to meet a world in which they know nothing of loss.
If I've got anything to do with it, they won't.
Not for a long time.
But it's hard.