A year ago today, at just about this time, I said goodbye to one of the most unique, most loved cats I’ve ever known, but remembering him is hardly a sad affair, not with a goof like Namir. It’s a celebration of a cat who, despite multiple life-threatening health issues, loved every single blessed moment of every single blessed day and shared that with every single blessed person he ever met in his life, including all the veterinarians who every poked, prodded or did indecent things to him. I’m still finding things he taught me and reasons to be thankful he was part of my life.
Following is the introduction to his story, written last year about two weeks after he transitioned. Please read through the introduction, but especially click the link to go to my website to read all about Namir and look at all the photos and artwork. If you’ve ever loved a cat, I’m sure you’ll find something to identify with in his story; and if you’ve lost a cat, I’m sure your journey was much the same.
July 13, 2009
I say farewell to a dear friend, my Namir, who was a dear companion and a great inspiration. The art in the header is actually a painting of Namir, and my avatar for Portraits of Animals is Namir’s face from this painting.
In addition to this blog post, I have written a remembrance of him on my website, and invite you to read it and enjoy the art and photos.
It’s rather long, but I write this memory of a remarkable cat because I want others to remember him, still others to know him, and to share some of the more challenging things about living with a cat who has several unpredictable and life-threatening conditions, the time, the finances, the decisions, those last moments, the impact on the rest of my household of cats, and, of course, what a creative inspiration he was for me as a painter and writer and photographer, even as a designer of stylish crochet items.
And woven through Namir’s chronic long-term conditions has been the pattern of my household growing older, developing an end-of-life illness and then each is gone. For about five years I’ve been extremely vigilant, observing appetites, checking respiration rates, taking temperatures, administering sub-Q fluids, giving medications and whatever supportive care was necessary to keep everyone comfortable, often to several cats at one time, as I lost four in one year. Losing Namir is, in a way, the ends of that cycle finally meeting. Loss is only an end if a lesson in the loss goes unlearned, so this cycle has fine tuned my ability to care for all my cats because I have learned many lessons.
Professionally, I have been able to immediately put these lessons into design work which I coincidentally began in April and May. The cremation service I use is also one of my customers for design and photography, and we’ve been redesigning her logo and building up her website to include much more information about her services. Through a chain of connections I was able to illustrate the cover and booklet interior for a pet loss CD, this in turn leading me to work on my long-term idea of sympathy cards for the loss of your animal companion. Reciprocally, working on these projects when I knew I would soon lose Namir gave me great comfort in the last two months.
And I hope to share my experiences for the sake of anything that anyone else might gain from them in lessons or comfort, technical information even, though I’ve kept everything pretty general, and not named any persons or businesses.