Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Looking for the Star

2023 Star of Wonder Ornaments
2023 Star of Wonder Ornaments

Above are the 2023 versions of the Star of Wonder ornaments, regular and eartipped. Mr. Sunshine was the model for the design, but this year his looking up at the star has a new meaning. The star would be Giuseppe, or all three of his siblings.

It’s Christmas Eve and that’s okay. I’ve not really celebrated Christmas for years out of choice so I’m not cornered by social events and shopping and preparations. This year I’m very happy about that. I can continue my slow healing until I’m really ready to rejoin the flow of daily life. Since my last post about Giuseppe’s Rainbow I’ve moved through painful days of doubt and guilt and days of quiet acceptance, and watched the other cats adjust each in their own ways. I will be writing about this in future articles as I gather my notes and my thoughts.

The rainbow

Thursday morning when I saw the rainbow in the sink I’d actually been up all night, the night after Giuseppe died. I had taken him to Deb for cremation and returned to feed the household as it now was. I also had a deadline of Thursday to make the Star of Wonder ornaments and pack the gifts to take to HCMT for their Christmas party on Friday.

Each year I make a new version of the ornament, eartipped for HCMT, and each year the number increases, from 30 to 50, to this year, 80. That’s a lot for a handmade ornament, and this year I had planned a new material included on them, flocked heat transfer vinyl with a raised velvety finish for the kitty and star so it would also be dimensional. I had intended to get an early start on them, especially with a new and unfamiliar material that turned out to be a challenge to find locally and set me back with time. But with Giuseppe’s worsening condition and more need for supervision and my need to keep track of what was happening I couldn’t even make myself focus enough get started on the ornaments.

It wasn’t just the necessity of the deadline, I knew there was no way I was going to sleep that night. I don’t mind working through the night and sometimes with a big project I choose working through the night intentionally.

It was the best therapy to help me through those first hours, the distraction of a creative project where I’m using my hands, always calming for me, making something pretty that will immediately go to the recipients and they will appreciate and enjoy it. I only had the time to make the 40 they needed for the Christmas party but that was a solid night’s work since I was working remarkable slowly. I was alone at my worktable in the basement; each other cat was in their own process and their own space of adjusting and accepting and grieving. I listened to some Christmas music and thought about Giuseppe, the last few hours and days, weeks and months.

So when I went upstairs to the kitchen after I’d finished and packed the ornaments, the sun was up and I needed coffee.

And there was the rainbow in the sink with all the improbabilities of its appearance, an affirmation amid my doubts and confusion, those that always creep in after a loss. He was okay. That was enough for the moment; fully accepting what the rainbow meant also meant fully accepting that he had died less than 24 hours ago on another sunny morning just like that one and I wasn’t ready for that yet. But this beautiful and meaningful message was welcome for the bit of relief it brought to me.

So I made it through that day, Thursday, and after I’d met in the evening with my friend from HCMT, who of course knew what had happened and fully understood, came home to feed my cats and start to move on, I was plenty tired after being up from the day before with less than two hours of sleep the night before that, and not much more than that for several nights prior. Time to get rest and let the healing process continue. I would make the rest of the ornaments over the weekend and deliver on Monday.

As time has passed

I find it difficult to focus so things are going slowly, and that’s okay with me. Mimi and Mr. Sunshine and I are still enjoying the outdoors for a few minutes at least once a day. The two had an appointment for a blood draw at our vet today. I’m getting back to cooking regular meals and eating more normally, though I still tend to stay up way too late and keeping to a schedule is pretty impossible—except for feline mealtimes, of course. They wouldn’t let me get away with that.

I’ve also been continuing little projects like sorting, reorganizing and putting things away in the basement and upstairs, and organizing my work space in the basement. I had decided when the weather turned cold that I would turn the basement screen door into a storm door with pieces of plexiglas I have from old poster frames and weatherstripping so we can open it for light and so kitties can look out through the day, and that worked very well. A friend gave me a floor-to-ceiling cat tree with a spring tension rod in the top to hold it in place and until now I had no place for it but with some extra spacing underneath it works well on the landing at the top of the steps. And more things like that.

I’m pretty sure I’ll be back with posting after Christmas this coming week. I have such a backlog of photos, and just being able to write up this post gives me the urge to write more.

Thanks for the donations and purchases…

One of the realities of veterinary care, especially at this critical stage, is that it’s expensive. I’ve been scurrying to finish work, skimping on things and making promises to utilities, so I totally appreciate even the smallest donation! I will be able to make it through the end of the year with the help of so many friends.

Art and Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals


Feline Artwork from Portraits of Animals!

“Rolling Around”, black pastel pencil and white charcoal pencil on blue Canson paper, 10.5″ x 7.5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Giuseppe rolling on the floor in the sun. Read more, and purchase.


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7 thoughts on “Looking for the Star

  • Nancy Cruse

    I’m so sorry about the loss of part of your family this year…I too lost 3 of my older cats recently within a matter of weeks..a mother and daughter and my oldest girl who was 24…the pain is almost unbearable at times…the mother cat was my soulmate..the one who listened to my troubles and worries and comforted me when I cried..she lives in my soul and they all live in my heart with the others who passed before them.. I’m so happy that Giuseppe left you a rainbow what a comfort that must have been..Take care Bernadette ❤️

    • Thank you, we can certainly use them. I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  • It’s so heartwarming to know that Giuseppe sent you a rainbow! Hugs in this season of love. May your healing begin in the knowing that the rainbow is a sign that our loved furriends are there surrounding us always. XO Tommy and Teaghan

    • Thank you so much! The rainbow is also significant to this quartet of cats too, so it’s extra special. Peace and joy for your holiday.

    • I feel like I’m going to fall into it. Thank you, and have a peaceful holiday.


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