Above: the last picture ever taken of Cerridwen and me together, from 28 July 2020
I will keep this short and to the point, as it’s the only thing I have the emotional stamina for:
At about 4:30 AM on Monday, 26 October 2020, while resting her head against my hand, my very wonderful and sweet cat Cerridwen passed away. She had been given a terminal diagnosis in June, related to an ongoing liver complaint, and the vet said at the time that I might be able to squeeze out a couple more weeks with her, but she fought very hard to stay with me as long as she could. In the end, it was a fairly short decline: though she was sleeping more this year than in the past, and her appetite was growing noticeably weaker over the last four days she remained a vocal, curious kitty right up until about 11:00 PM on the 25th, falling asleep while we watched the deleted scenes from Friday the 13th, Part VII together (very, very long-time readers might recall me mentioning that Italian horror and black-and-white Japanese dramas were the two thing she seemed weirdly alert and attentive during. A late-’80s slasher sequel is hardly an Italian horror movie, but I hope it was close enough to make her happy). When it came, the end was very quick.
In 2016, some of you may recall, I started a pledge drive on the old blog at Antagony & Ecstasy to help pay for medical expenses she incurred that summer; at the time, the vet told me that what ended up happening would probably happen, and there was no way of knowing how long it would be. To those of you who donated in 2016, I want to offer my deepest thanks for providing me with another four-plus years with my beautiful, beloved little girl. She was 16 and a half years old, a respectable age for a domestic short hair born to a feral mother, but of course it could never be long enough for me to share all the love I had for her. I have never met a more special kitty, fiercely loyal and talkative and fond of cuddling and fonder of biting to make me start cuddling her. Wherever I went, she would follow at my heels, even in the very last hours: she didn’t have the strength to jump on the couch (and that was my sign that something was going wrong), but she pawed at the air until I picked her up and set her next to me, and that is the last memory I will carry with me: her settling down against my leg in front of the television, as we’d done thousands of times since 2004, a moment of quiet comfort for both of us.
Adopting Cerridwen was literally the first action I took as a fully-fledged adult; I have never lived alone without her, I have never been a film critic or a film scholar without her. As I begin these first days trying to discover who I am when I’m not a cat’s roommate, I do so with great pain in my heart, and a feeling of loss so big I almost can’t breath from it. The only thing I can think of worse than trying to watch and write about movies like everything in life is normal, is to not do that, and just sit in an empty apartment staring at the walls, so I’m going to try to get back into reviewing movies ASAP, but I beg your patience during this time of stress and transition in my life, and if my writing seems a bit more despondent and outraged at the unfairness of a universe full of suffering, this is why. Fortunately, I’m still in the thick of the Ingmar Bergman retrospective, so probably you wouldn’t even be able to tell anything was different.
Regular posting will (maybe) resume tomorrow, with reviews of Bergman’s Hour of the Wolf and the Amicus Productions horror anthology Asylum. I cannot bring myself to read any comments on this post, on the grounds that however sincere any words of condolence would be, they’d hurt too much right now. I only ask that you keep me, and my dear, sweet little one in your thoughts. If you have a pet in your life, please hug them extra-close tonight, for me.