Three days actually.
I imagined my first post here being a long endless strip of pictures and smiling faces, and pissed cats. But this trip hasn't really gone as planned. I expected bumps along the way but I was not expecting what happened last Friday... We packed the Uhaul and waved Mark's dad and his girlfriend Michelle good bye (they are driving all of our stuff to Ohio). Then we began packing the car and left to run some of the 200 errands we needed to do. When we came home we noticed that Mary was not around and began looking through the apartment. Then we began searching through the apartment. Finally frantic we concluded that she was gone. but how? Did she slip out when we were carrying something out? We started searching the neighborhood, the basement, the roof, my neighbors gated yards. But no Mary. Reinforcements came to help search but still no Mary. Finally we had to leave to make it to the hotel that night.
I kept checking my phone to see if someone had found her (she was wearing a tag) but I soon gave in to the fact that she was gone. I went through waves of being a big bawling mess to being o.k., just trying to be strong. Everything made me sad, the scratch on my hand from her, Oscar alone in the kennel, a pretty landscape that Mary was missing. I tried to enjoy the scenery but a huge chunk of grief was wedged in me. She was my baby after all. I raised her, I woke up every two hours to feed and poop her (kittens are very glamorous) and I worked so hard to keep her alive those first weeks of her life.
We got to Denver last night where we were staying with our friends Ali and Levi. We ate dinner and I tried not to cry. Then on the way home I got a text. "Hey it's your neighbor, we need to talk about your cat". WHAT!? So after many texts and phone conversations everything was figured out. Mary was found in the apartment, she must of hidden behind the stove or fridge, but she was ok. Andrea picked her up and has been taking care of her. I'm flying from Denver to L.A. tomorrow to pick her up and then flying her and myself to St. Louis where we will meet back up with Mark.
The craziest thing about this whole experience has been the overwhelming kindness and generousity from everyone. Friends coming to help look for her, people (including strangers) offering to care for her, offers to pay for her to be shipped home, a free plane ticket from a friend, neighbors feeding and petting her, prayers and positive thoughts. I'm SO touched and SO thankful for each offer. My gratitude for all of this is so deep that I'm having trouble thinking of how to write it out. I just can't.