In a World Without You

A life update.

I went to see Bastille in concert recently. They were supported by Rationale. Thank you Bastille for introducing me to such a powerful, soulful voice. I was disappointed to find out afterward that Rationale won’t be releasing an album until next year, which means the songs I heard are unreleased? I am confused. Anyway, after Rationale Bastille came on stage and played a great mix of old and new songs. They played some of my favourites like Laura Palmer, The Draw and Of the Night. Although they skipped out their fabulous city high cover of What Would You Do?, which made me sad. I went with my sister, who had seen Bastille before they were famous (my sister is an unintentional hipster) and it was interesting to hear her talk about how before they were barely filling the standing area, when now the whole arena except for one block was packed. The lead singer was constantly wandering around stage and weaving into the crowd, which was a bizarre game of where’s Wally, followed by two massive bodyguards. He had nothing before, my sister claims. The concert was too short. It was massive fun. And although I didn’t get a chance to check out their latest album before going, I’ve bought it since, intrigued by what I heard. I’ve been looping the album daily since and I like it, though not quite as much as their first. Though to be honest, the bonus disc of Bad blood probably contains some of their best work. I’ve also been looping my videos of Rationale and waiting impatiently for his new album – which I’ve got preordered. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a concert, and it was good fun. The crowds were intense though, and I don’t think I could have coped with that aspect without having my sister next to me.

My sister stayed at mine for the night then the next day we went to see our parents together, where I was to stay for the weekend. I wanted to go back to see my cat…wasn’t there. I needed to see she was gone. It was weird though, being home without her there. I kept looking for her – instinctively scanning every room I entered, looking out the window to see if she was in the garden, looking up at every noise, wondering if that was her, jumping off one of the beds upstairs, or something. I couldn’t find her and I couldn’t make sense of it. I still can’t stop thinking about her, missing her. We received her ashes back from the pet crematorium recently, and we ordered a small memorial stone for her today. It really is tiny, just a little piece of slate engraved with her name. We will bury her beneath the azaleas were she spent her last days, and place the stone to mark the grave, subtle and not fussy, just something to honour her. She was our first proper pet. My first pet. I didn’t realise that I had beliefs about death or what comes next, and I am surprised by how strong some of my feelings are when it comes to how she should be laid to rest. Like, I desperately want to bury her with her nametag, and some of her favourite things. I want her to have them with her for…later. I didn’t know I held that belief. My family probably thinks I am a little crazy.

My sister recently got her own cat, and I am a little jealous. I’m not sure what is too soon for a new cat for myself, but I know I do want another one at some point. There is a cat shaped hole in my heart. I cannot have my own though, due to my rental contract, so I am relying on my parents to want another one. I am slightly jealous of my sister for having her own house now, and having the freedoms that come with it. It can be hard to have an older sibling, to see them ahead in the future, living out the life you are still working towards.

I have really been so gloomy since my cat died. I thought, I wanted, to come back from holiday happy and relaxed, but my cat’s death shook me and uprooted me. I lost my way for a little while, and I am only just putting the pieces back together. I have started my happiness journaling again, I am watching my diet more closely (I stopped eating for a time after my cat died, subsiding mostly on random binging episodes of much junk), and am cleaning up the house, getting that all back together.

I miss her too much.


Taking pictures of fish doesn’t get any easier the more fish you have

I got new fish today! My big tank is extremely stable. I was worried about my tanks when I went on holiday, but it turned out to be needless. The ammonia in my little tank spiked briefly, and I got some algae in my big tank, otherwise everyone was alive and well. Regular water changes (and for the big tank, gravel cleans) since and everything is back to normal.

My big tank had zero ammonia and zero nitrites and low nitrates even after going away, so I figured it was time to add more fish. As it was, my danios were being a little too boisterous as well, and I thought a larger community may make them calmer. I went to the pet shop and I talked to the guy there who said with my size of tank, I could get 50 small fish in there. That can’t be right, can it? He also said I could add 10 more fish today, as long as I kept a close eye on things in the coming weeks. I was wary, I had come there with the intention of getting 5 or 6 fish, but I let myself be persuaded. After all, they have discounts the more fish you buy. Thus I bought- 3 leopard/snow danios, 2 hi-fin zebra danios, and 5 silver white cloud mountain minnows. I tucked their bags into an insulated cooler bag, in the hope they wouldn’t freeze before I got them home, although thankfully I managed to get the bus quickly, and a limited stop bus at that, so it was ok. I got them home, cleaned the tank, changed the water, then put them in. Everyone is now shoaling beautifully. My new minnows are absolutely tiny, barely a centimetre long (so so tiny!!) and I hope the danios don’t bully them, but thus far everyone looks happy. It’s kind of amazing to watch them swimming around. There’s just so many of them! There’s 19 fish in the tank now…

I also picked up a new fake plant whilst at the store. The nymph episode has put me off real plants for life. I want to build up a more dense ‘forest’ in my tank though, as I’m hoping to eventually get some cherry shrimp. As shrimp are essentially fish food, I want to give them place to hide/escape. My minnows probably won’t care about them, they are extremely lethargic and indifferent fish, but my danios are very inquisitive and active and I am not sure how they will be around shrimp. I’m very pleased with this plant – its the huge bamboo one in the center. Yes, it’s nice and large and dramatic. Plus, it fits my Japanese theme nicely. I’m hoping to get some more medium sized plants to line up in front if it. This plant is unfortunately not silk like I wanted, but it’s a nice soft, gentle plastic. I’m hoping to get some silk plants for those medium ones. They have a softer, more realistic look. My Betta tank is silk only and it looks too pretty .

As for my betta, the only addition to his tank is a cut up coke bottle. Wait, it’s actually a thing called a baffle that you use to reduce the flow of the filter. My Betta was getting blown about by the outtake of the filter, and he seemed to be cowering in one part of the tank. So I googled about, found about the “water bottle hack” and did it. His water is a lot stiller now and he can explore his kingdom quite happily now without all those pesky bubbles. :) I’m not putting more fish in there, as he seems very content to lord over his kingdom all alone…

“Please tell me this is only the story of the continuing dream and that I’m not yet awake”

Last Tuesday I phoned my mother up, distraught over my cat. It had hit me that day that my cat was going to die. Although I knew she was dying, I felt a terrible certainty that there wasn’t much time left. The rest of the week passed with the same awful feeling spreading its weight over my shoulders. I was late for work every day; I couldn’t sleep, was struggling to eat, and had no energy. Tears kept welling up in my eyes at random, inappropriate times. All I could think of was going home to see her, all I could worry about was that I wouldn’t be able to hold her one last time. I clung to the fact that the last time I saw her, she had climbed onto my lap and I had shoved her off, and kept beating myself over it. This weekend I went home, determined to reassure myself that I was being irrational. But my cat was not in a good way at all. My parents had decided that they were going to take her to the vets on Monday. Today. On Sunday I held her for the last time. She was light and bony, her heart was pounding with the effort of staying alive. I told her how much I loved her. I didn’t want to let her go.

Today, she went to the vets.

She went to sleep for the last time.

I received the message from my parents at work. I couldn’t get away from my desk fast enough. I sat outside the office in a private area, fighting back tears. Then I took several deep breaths and went back inside to work. Even now, I am trying not to cry. I do not want to accept this reality.

I do not know how to process this. My top coping method for when I am feeling this sad is to go home for some cat therapy – to cuddle her, to play with her, just to be around her. I’ll never be able to do that again.


I arrived back from holiday yesterday. Four days in Copenhagen with my sister, followed by a week in Northern Germany alone. I had a good time, mostly. Europe is pretty expensive, especially Denmark. But there was lots to see and do.


The journey back was a big mess. My flight was cancelled which meant I was facing an extra night in Germany, and I would have to pay as they would compensate, but not pay out immediately. I was stressed. I didn’t have the money for a hotel. I didn’t want to stay longer- I had Japanese class tonight and am due back at work tomorrow. In the end my father found a cheap enough flight to book me on to get me back. I phoned my original airline and they said they may compensate that too so fingers crossed they do.

The new flight wasn’t direct like my original flight, but compromised of two short flights and a small layover. The first flight was packed and uncomfortable. The second was emptier so ok. I was on the aisle, the middle seat was free, and someone else was at the window. A good arrangement. I didn’t like the way it felt- taking off, then pretty much landing again straightaway, then taking off, then another landing after a tiny cruising time. It didn’t feel good. But at least I was going home.

I spent the night at my parents then travelled again today to get back to my flat. I was so happy to see my fish. I lay down in that room to rest and be close to them before class. I am quite tired out. Holidaying is surprisingly draining.

Of course, I was also looking forward to getting back so I could see my little cat, who is still very sick.


It’s very obvious my cat is dying.

She looks so very tired. When you stroke her, you can feel her bones. She felt very fragile under my hands earlier today, and I was almost afraid to pet her. We don’t pick her up anymore. These days, she isn’t around us much anyway. She won’t come indoors. She seems to be going a little feral as the end nears. Even in the pouring rain, she is to be found outside. She will allow you to approach her and pet her, purrs even, but only for short amounts of time. She used to come in every time we were in the kitchen, and whine for food, winding her way around our legs and getting in the way. She doesn’t anymore. She is still eating, but mostly wet food and in small amounts. She isn’t interested in food anymore. Not like she used to be (she used to be such a greedy cat!) I feel she knows she is dying. I feel she is quietly resting and preparing herself for the end. Someone told me animals don’t have the same emotional attachment to life that we do, that they therefore don’t feel the same anxiety around death. I find that reflected in my cat. She seems to have accepted that her end is near. She seems calm. She just seems tired and a little uncomfortable. It’s upsetting to watch her quietly dying like this. I want to do something for her, anything, to make it better. Just so she can breathe normally, so she won’t purr in such a stilted way, so she won’t feel so breakable, so she won’t look so exhausted. There’s nothing we can do and that’s the frustrating thing. All we can do is give her space. We take her to the vets every two weeks. At first he gave us pills to give to her to help her to breathe, but she grew too resistant, it was stressing her out too much forcing her to take them, so the vet gave her an injection last appointment instead so we don’t have to do that anymore. At the next appointment she may receive another injection, or the vet may tell us it’s time to let her go. We don’t know. We are all of us waiting for the end, in different ways. It’s horrible.

Tomorrow, back to work. I’ve been feeling disoriented since just before my second flight, as I began to hear people speaking in a) English and b) British accents again. The feeling hadn’t gone away yet. I feel like I’ve been away for ages. I’m not sure how I’m going to function tomorrow…

“You had not expected this, the bedroom gone white, the astronomical light pummeling you in a stream of fists”

kittyToday I found out that my cat is dying.

It’s not totally unexpected; she’s been unhealthy for about a year now. She has not been ageing well. First it was the fleas taking it out of her, then she had cancer and had to have surgery to have it removed. We, my family and I, were told then it may come back at any time… but you always think that won’t be soon, don’t you? The next time she went to the vets everything was fine and she just needed to be booked in to hospital to have her teeth cleaned. The vet said she was fine. We all breathed a sigh of relief. The cancer wasn’t back.

Today she was labouring when breathing so back to the vet again. I only found out now that this had happened. That the vet had x-rayed her and found cancer in her lungs. It was moving fast. We could have a week, we could have two months. But either way we are going to have to put her down.

I hate that I’m not there with her. I call her my cat but she is the family pet and she lives with my parents. I’m just a little too far away to be able to see her when I want. I hate it. And I hate that I won’t be there to hear the final verdict when she goes back to the vet on Monday. And what if the verdict is something immediate has to be done? What if the last time I saw her was the last time?

I never seem to be there when those that I love pass away.