From the time I began writing about my experiences in pet loss, relating what I was feeling and thinking about it as I moved through grief, readers have thanked me, often in private, for my honesty, grateful to know another shared their feelings as they moved through grief, or helped them make a decision.
Last year at this time spring was just as early as this year and Mewsette was being her silly self outdoors, playing the Garden Faerie Queen on her garden chair.
In fact, she and Mimi spent a good bit of February rubbing themselves all over all the chairs out there, wood, wicker and those old lawn chairs too.
Indoors she was silly, getting her face into whatever I had going on my worktable in the basement or on my desk, trying to steal some Cheez-its as I was snacking, appearing from nowhere when I pulled out the soda crackers and making off with one square in her mouth, stealing sips of my coffee. And lining up with everyone else for the Senior Lunch Special, or just gathering to observe me in the kitchen with the possibility I’d hand something out.
One of the reasons I couldn’t post for a while in the past few months was the photos. The photos I take with my DSLR are stored on their own drive on my computer, organized into daily folders on my SD card which I download nearly every day. As I search back through them, and occasionally my cell photos, of course I see Mewsette, Jelly Bean and Giuseppe.
I had shared photos of Mewsette in the late summer and early autumn, but when Giuseppe quickly escalated into his condition I stayed with only photos from September and later. Until now I’ve avoided those older photos to avoid that intense pain of seeing them.
Last week, finally looking through photos from last spring, Mewsette seemed to be everywhere, showing up unexpectedly as she and Mimi and I went outdoors every chance we got, and there she was in the kitchen, then she was on my desk, and then in one of the baskets by the window, doing all the things she did and looking much like she’d looked all her adult life. It seems like years ago now, not just a year ago, all before the change in her health in mid-March. I had a good cry more than once, and let the tears come. I miss her so much.
And then last week I’d begun to work on my Marketplace post for last Thursday about my annual discounts on original feline artwork as well as other artwork, and reading through last year’s post about how excited I was that I was constantly producing artwork again with all those new pastels, it felt so good and I had so much art planned for the year, including sketching my flowers out in the back yard, and even Mimi and Mewsette. That pretty much stopped in April because I couldn’t focus when Mewsette was suddenly in such bad shape and I felt the need to monitor her constantly. I never got back to the artwork, and still have not even now. I had actually forgotten that time. And that post took me far longer than I thought it would for that reason—I finished it Sunday.
Last autumn I let the sunny backyard adventures when Mr. Sunshine and Giuseppe joined Mimi and me start the healing as we four felt the presences of Mewsette and Jelly Bean while making completely new memories. I was just feeling ready to return to grieving Mewsette and Jelly Bean as the days grew shorter. I had had the awareness that my losses weren’t over and before I saw the changes in Giuseppe I sensed them. We tumbled into his last five weeks and he was gone before I knew it. Losing him, the third loss in six months, changed everything. I focused on him.
Now I’m ready to see those photos, even though it hurts to look at Mewsette and know I’ll never see her again, pet her plushy fur, get a fervent nose rub on my face, have her knead me with all four paws while I’m settling down to sleep. I’m afraid I’ll forget.
I have the feeling I’ll be grieving Mewsette for a while here, and I’ll just be with that. I know from other photos I saw and from long history that Jelly Bean loved his bathroom sink especially on early spring afternoons when the days grew longer and the sun was higher in the sky but the trees were still bare. Those photos, and Jelly Bean’s memory, will be waiting for me.
I haven’t been able to return to my artwork yet, much as I’ve set myself up to do it. Creating is the most healing for me, more than getting out on the trail and in the woods, even gardening, and while my handmade goods and my crochet projects are therapeutic, creating images, especially painting, is what really takes me away, even when I don’t go anywhere, and effects the deepest healing. I may need to wait until these grieving periods are over. I guess we’ll see.
I’ve been working on my article about complicated grief, in my case complicated by multiple overlapping losses. I had the feeling that wasn’t going to be contained in one article, and it’s not. So while I work on that, and since I’m feeling more social I’m looking forward to talking to a few of the therapists I know about the aspects of complicated grief.
Thank you for following our grief journey after losing three members of our feline family.
I hope sharing our experiences have helped you in some way, as sharing my experiences with you helps me.
You can read all the articles related to their loss by tapping one of these images in the side bar and in articles.
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Mewsette lets the warm sun wash her back while she sits and simply looks lovely. Read more and order.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Tuesday: Rescue Stories
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And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!