Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Tuesdays With Maggie

As you know, my step-dad is building a TARDIS cat condo for Maggie. I could really use an actual TARDIS right now-- I think this is the third post in a row that has been posted late. Ah! But hey, it's technically still Tuesday at least.

I've been on a Doctor Who kick lately, probably because I get daily updates about Maggie's TARDIS, and I'm also wishing the new series was out already. I need my fix! I still find the theme fitting, albeit in a sort of sad yet wise way.

At least twice during the current run of Doctor Who, The Doctor has been asked about his companions and their eventual departure--whether through choice or not. In "School Reunion," explaining to Rose why he left Sarah Jane behind, The Doctor said, "I don't age. I regenerate. But humans decay. You wither and you die. Imagine watching that happen to someone you..." The sentence only needed completing for a naive Rose, "You can spend the rest of your life with me. But I can't spend the rest of mine with you. I have to live on, alone. That's the curse of the Timelords."

And perhaps even more heartbreaking is the exchange he shared with the character of Jackson Lake in a Christmas Special:

Jackson Lake: Tell me one thing. All those facts and figures I saw of the Doctor's life, you were never alone. All those bright and shining companions. But not any more?
The Doctor: No.
Jackson Lake: Might I ask why not?
The Doctor: They leave. Because they should or because they find someone else. And some of them, some of them... forget me.
The Doctor: I suppose in the end, they break my heart.

Obviously none of us are The Doctor. We could only hope to meet such a being let alone be anything at all like The Doctor. But we are like him in at least one way: we often refer to our pets as companions. Perhaps it's because they are more than just animals to many of us. They are our friends, our family, and we love them. We bring them into our homes knowing that eventually they will break our hearts. At some point, no matter how it happens, we will all feel like The Doctor after a companion is gone. If we didn't, this wouldn't exist.

The Doctor can fix and upgrade K-9, but our companions are more vulnerable and vastly more complicated than K-9. The Doctor cannot break the rules of time and space to spend forever with Rose, nor can he fix Donna. And I cannot heal Maggie. It's just not how it works.

But I knew this. Jeff knew this. Why did we set ourselves up for such heartbreak? Why do any of us? As humans we will eventually "wither and die" just as The Doctor says, but our furry family members will always do so before us (and none of us can even take comfort in knowing our pain and sadness can look so good in a GIF). I'd like to think it's one of our redeeming qualities as humans. We choose to find the capacity to love an animal knowing full well that he or she will depart our world before us, leaving what feels like a giant gaping hole in our world and soul. The animals may need us, but we also need them. We are better with them, better for having them even if only for a short while.

This doesn't make it any easier. It certainly doesn't in a situation such as this. I previously mentioned that Maggie reminded me most of Donna Noble. Shortly after posting it, I realized how fucking depressing having cat remind me of Donna truly is. Sure Maggie is sassy and fun, but as the days go by I notice changes in her that mean the conscious decision we must ultimately make to end her life is nearing. It's not a choice we want to make, but it is a choice we must make in the coming weeks or months. At least I've had the pleasure of knowing the most important cat in the world-- she's changed my life in so many ways, all for the better. My spirit animal might be the thirteenth doctor, but Maggie's, no matter how tragic, is Donna Noble-- the most important woman in the whole of creation.

So here's to you, Maggie.

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