Usually my workload drops after the Swedish Riksdag closes for summer recess. My students and I were looking forward to being able to do things we had neglected during the hectic spring.
The Parliament and government have been working extra hard due to COVID. In addition to their regular work, about 16 supplementary budget bills have been passed in the past year, containing various rescue and recovery packages.
Sweden had a problem forming a government in 2018, but after 4 months and much negotiation, a coalition was formed by several parties, with compromises laid out in a 73-point programme. This spring, one of the parties felt that their points had not been included in any of the bills passed in the past three years. This resulted in a declaration of no confidence in the government – the first ever – and the Swedish government was dissolved. Just like that, we had no government.
So while everything hung in the balance, my heavy workload continued almost three weeks longer than normal. The politicians I teach were in limbo – no one was sure whether there would be an extra election (only one year before the next general election), or if they would stay in their seats parliament/government or not. So they chose to have English lessons while in the eye of this very weird storm. I enjoy teaching, but I was so tired at this point. A political crisis in the middle of a pandemic is not ideal.
After a new government was formed a few weeks later (without an election), things calmed down. My father-in-law and his partner visited us for a long lovely weekend. We spent a lot of time with them and did Stockholm sights.
The day after they left, we rode to the south of Sweden on the bike (600kms) and stayed there for four days, spending time with family. We had our regular live-in cat sitters in our house spoiling the cats while we were away. The day we got back, Harley the kitten arrived.
We also took delivery of our compact LG washer/drier – my first ever new washing machine! I was thrilled! You can even turn it on remotely!
We then celebrated our wedding anniversary and my birthday in the same week. Our apartment building has a very nice guest apartment (sleeps 8) and event venue (seats 40), so we could make the birthday dinner nice for our guests. Luckily COVID restrictions had lifted in early July, so the number of people allowed at a gathering went up from 4 to 50. We had 11.
My close friend Tina, my stepdaughter Amanda and I all celebrate our birthdays in July so we could celebrate everyone at the same time. It was really nice. My husband did all the cooking and the food was spectacular. I was dreading this birthday and – for the first time ever – depressed about my born day. But after the party I felt much better!
This past Monday, Fluffy ate in the morning, but not in the evening. He was grinding his teeth so we thought he had what he had had before – FORL, now named Feline Tooth Resorption – which is very painful. So on Tuesday morning we took him to the vet. No problem with his teeth, but the bruxism was caused by pain and nausea due to stage 3 – 4 kidney failure. We were told it can be controlled by medication and diet. I was a bit doubtful as I know how quickly it can progress but I did not want to make a rash decision until we had tried the medication. At home that night he quickly deteriorated, so on Wednesday evening the vet came home to us and gently put him down. I held him in my arms as he went to sleep. Just before the vet came, we took him on a last walk. He could not longer see very well or eat but he walked around the garden on his own, sniffing his favourite smells. We were glad we could give him that. And because we have both been working from home for the last 18 months, we have been with him all the time.
Neither of us ate or slept that night. It was hell. He was everywhere and nowhere. Ziggy was miserable and so were we. Fluffy was my one of a kind special cat. I have had loads of wonderful cats I have adored, but Fluffy was my special one.
On Thursday we could not stand being in the apartment where he was a constant absence, so we went on a long bike ride to clear our heads. On the way back, we were behind a postal truck as it hit and instantly killed a beautiful ginger cat. We could not stop as the road was so busy and there was heavy traffic behind us. I cried my heart out all the way back to Stockholm.
The scene of the accident was a long way from where we live, in another municipality. So when we got home, I searched for community groups for that area on Facebook, joined one, and posted what had happened. Immediately, a number people in that neighbourhood went out searching for the cat. Within one hour the body was found and someone in the group sent for a chip reader. They found the owner who was able collect the body and give their cat a worthy burial. I could speak to her and let her know her cat did not suffer. It was instant. His name was Zimba.
Strangely, I was more calm after that, and not in a fog of grief about Fluffy. I was able to use my energy to find the owner and identify the cat. I didn’t want someone to worry if their cat was in pain, trapped somewhere, trying to get home, hungry. It is better to know. I then sponsored a foster kitten in Zimba’s name. I could comfort the owner in a way I normally could not, because I too, was grieving. My heart knew how her heart was feeling. And despite the horrible circumstances and downsides of social media, good people went out and helped each other, which made me feel better.
That night I hugged our cats and loved them extra hard. Being inside cats, we at least know there is almost no chance of them being in a car accident.
Thank you for all your wishes on social media and on my blog about our Fluffy. He was a huge part of our life and I hope that one day we will meet again. Hug your loved ones today. All of them.
Much love x