Last night my cat passed away. All I could do was cry. This morning all I could do is cry. Tonight all I can do is look for his picture.
Last night, on the way home from work, my wife called me. I felt my pocket buzz with one call. I was on a freeway and so I didn’t try to answer it. My pocket buzzed again immediately. I was starting to get concerned. Then it buzzed a third time. I got my phone out. My wife told me that she had taken our cat, Yoshi, to the emergency vet. He was suddenly and violently ill. I’ve never been in this place before. I’ve never been the owner of a dying pet. The responsibility of managing the rightness and gentleness of an animal’s final moments has never fallen to me.
It was an arresting and horrifying feeling. Beth and I talked about horrible things like how to pay for his care and what we should do and our fears that his needs would exceed our means. I told Beth to spend whatever was needed to save his life. She said yes and hung up. I drove faster to get to the hospital. I needed to be there for my little man, my Yoshi.
Then my phone rang again. It was Beth. Yoshi had passed away. I arrived and he was limp, unfamiliar and irreal. When I used to hold his paws he would stretch out his claws just enough to draw my hand closer. It was a gentle and intimate gesture. I touched his paw and he didn’t do it. I was too young to understand my grandfather’s death and unable to take responsibility during the passing of a family pet when I was young. This was different and horrible.
We filled out ghastly forms. We applied for credit and I was nearly unconsolable when I saw a horrible rubber stamp that said “mass cremation”. I felt like everything that was unique and wondeful about my cat was being discarded and I was being forced to witness it. I hated that.
Today I tried to go about my work. I went to work—-and then left. I looked at his favorite places, now empty. I held his collar and listened to the sound of the chiming bell and thought about his assertive meow. His bossy demands for affection. I’d give anything to have him climb me again and demand to be petted.
Then I remembered that the day I bought my Fuji Instax I took a picture of Yoshi. It wasn’t the best picture I took of him. By far. But he was climbing my leg and demanding affection. He was bored with the noisy toy I had and he wanted me to love him. I pointed the Instax his way and took a crappy, out of focus picture of him perched on my leg. I didn’t think about that picture until today. Then I remembered the picture of Yoshi being Yoshi and doing what Yoshi did. I looked at itand had another good cry. I miss him and nothing can bring him back. But my idiotic, constant shutterbugging means that I am occasionally taking pictures of what and who is important.
Don’t save your rolls for some mythical perfect photo op. Shoot the people and animals you love. Lomography is about life. You won’t regret a single shot.