Today my entire body is sore. I woke up feeling like my spine had fused into one long rod jammed under my skin. I have spent the last three days with my whole body as tense as a clenched fist. I’ve taken some Advil, I’ve stood under a blazing hot shower on the massage setting, and I’ve laid on the couch.

Bruce was diagnosed with metastisized lymphoma on Thursday; there were tumors in each kidney, his intestines and several lymph nodes. With chemo, they said, he would live a couple of months but it was impossible to cure and he would be in tremendous pain. Without treatment, he had at most a few days.

The veterinarian came out to the house on Friday evening and, in the back yard he loved so much, helped him not have to suffer like that.

I have cried until my skull ached. I have cried until I could no longer speak. I completely lost my shit when the doctor got here Friday, and then I cried so hard and so long that I haven’t had to cry since.

Friday night some friends came over. They distracted us. They made us laugh. They asked how the day had gone. We spent the day laying in the living room floor letting Bruce climb around on us, lounge against us, purr to his heart’s content.

There are people and animals for whom I would have given anything to have one more day. With Bruce, I got to have one more day. It made a big difference.

And today, I hurt like there is no tomorrow. I hurt like I hurt after my worst car accident – every muscle stiff, every joint popping anytime I move. I have curled up in front of DragonQuest VIII and played it and played it and played it. I am probably 1/3 or 1/2 of the way through what’s theoretically a 60-hour game. I’ve been playing it for less than 2 days.

The thing that sort of shocks me, and sort of doesn’t, is how like losing a human this has been, only scaled down. I have thought I saw him out the corner of my eye. I have thought I heard him. I have wondered whether this is all some big mistake and they’re going to bring him back and everything will be OK. I have done laundry and noticed that the irises are already putting up green sprouts along the back of the flower bed where he liked to play. I have suffered tremendous emotional upheaval and I have started to realize that life goes on whether I like it or not. With people, this is a process that takes weeks (for me, anyway). With Bruce, it’s taken days. I’m not over it, but I can sense myself starting to process it and that, itself, is a comfort.

So anyway, that’s the deal. I’m going to leave his gallery up for now, though I’m thinking of closing it and keeping it private. I don’t know. I just don’t know.

In the meantime, raise a glass or a mug or a smoke if you’ve got one in memory of Bruce Banner, aka Bruce, aka Brucy-Bruce, aka PurrMonster, aka PurrMachine, aka Buddy, aka Kid, aka The Hulk. I miss him terribly, but as Bascha said to me on the phone Thursday night, this is the price we pay for so much love from something so small.

I wouldn’t trade a day of having him in my life, not even to avoid feeling like this.