Look at the Christmas tree and the chair next to it. There is something missing from the chair. That would be Elvira. Once that was her chair. I call it her chair because it is where she spent most of her time when she was in the living room. She loved looking out the window next to at at the birds and squirrels and passing traffic. And she loved the secure closeness of the space when it had a Christmas tree on one side of it and a bookcase in the other. She had a Santa Clause and a Christmas pillow saying “MeowyChristmas” for company. She no longer uses the chair. Being blind, she wants her feet on the floor at all times now. So the chair is empty of Elvira this year. But I put the Santa Claus and the pillow in it for old times’ sake.
She no longer sleeps with me on the couch either. She especially loved to sleep with me there when there was a fire in the stove. Last year a nephew sent me a beautiful blanket with the image of a cat on it. I would spread it over me and she would sleep on my stomach on top of it. When I awoke, I would carefully slide out from under it so as not to disturb Her Royal Highness. I usually ended up waking her, but, being a cat, she had no trouble going back to sleep.
If I try to trick her into sitting on my lap in the recliner by putting her on my lap desk, which is a soft cushion with a wood top to write on, she is not fooled by the hard top. She somehow knows she is in my lap, off the floor. Instead of relaxing, she anxiously peers down at the floor, trying to see where it is with her sightless eyes. The only time I get to hold her close is when I am giving her subcutaneous fluids on the kitchen counter. And she will sit in the chair where I brush her off and let me stroke her head and face for a while after she has been brushed off. But only for a while.
So this Christmas her chair is empty. She spends most of the time in the quiet dark of my bedroom. She does not know that room is quiet or dark because she is deaf and blind. I think she chooses to spend most of her time in it because it is the room that smells most like me. Every time I go into the bedroom I pet her if she is awake. I have to stoop down to pet her because her bed is on the floor. I can do that for only a few seconds at a time. But since I am in and out of the room several times a day, she gets her share of petting. I make sure of it. She may not be in her chair in the living room but she is still with me.