Thank you for the kind comments on my last post. I was really saddened by Debb's comment and it reminds me that I'm not the only one going through something like this. Love does not come cheap -- sooner or later we either lose everyone we love, or they lose us.
I realized that the comment I made about the trouble I'm taking for a "perfectly ordinary tabby cat" might have sounded a bit strange. I was thinking of the rule that in cases involving pets who are killed or harmed, the maximum damages are the market value of the pet. The market value of an ordinary housecat is less than zero -- people have trouble finding homes for them.
Obviously that isn't the way that it works for most people -- what we feel for our pets can't be quantified like that. True love is unconditional. I am understanding that better and better lately, as I think about how to make decisions about how much care to give my kitty. I am more concerned about the cost to him of chemotherapy (would he feel worse rather than better) than I am about the cost to me.
I think I have always thought that I had to earn love. Subconsciously I think I always am asking myself questions about that: Am I pretty enough, smart enough, funny enough, talented enough, etc.? Popular culture doesn't help -- there is always the sense that women, especially, need to be on their toes to avoid being thrown over for a younger, prettier, thinner model.
It's a crazy, irrational way to think, if spoken aloud and examined for what it is -- a sick belief. I have been taking an online course around the book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, which has helped to give me more of a language to understand this "hustle for worthinesss" and to understand that it's just part of being a human being to feel, at times, unworthy of love.
Luckily my cat is not a human being, so he suffers none of this lack of self-confidence. He has been complaining, a bit, about all the medicine, sometimes trying to smack the syringes out of my hand. He especially hates the IV fluids. Mostly, though, he is taking things in stride and helping me to understand that you can be very loved even if you're just stretched out in the sun, taking a nap, and doing nothing at all to try to earn it.