Once you were a stranger who filled my hand.
Now you are a memory who fills my heart.
Original poem, “Once You Were a Stranger” © 2016 Bernadette E. Kazmarski
. . . . . . .
Your petite silhouette lingers
long, graceful legs tipped with soundless slender paws
the waving tendril of a tail that curls in a perfect circle
as you pause in your eternal dance
and enrich my life,
awaken nascent creative visions
and laughter at the silly joy of youth,
yellow eyes illumining my world
leaving rainbows in your wake;
the images you inspired in your brief existence
ease the sadness of your leaving,
as I remember and render your antics
I can share you with the world.
Original poem, “Lucy” © 2007 Bernadette E. Kazmarski
. . . . . . .
I wrote this poem just days after Lucy died, before Mimi and her kittens joined us. I had no idea what would happen, and I was afraid I’d forget the details of her memory. Little did I know she would join us forever when I opened the box with Mimi and her kittens.
July 10 was the day we lost Lucy, and the day I saw Mimi in my garden, and the day I decided she needed to come to me, along with her babies, and despite all the pain of love I would not turn away from my feline companions.
A day filled with such extreme sadness and joy, and forever change.
We remember Lucy, and thank her for her gifts.
. . . . . . .
A Little Beauty
The series of photos below is on film. I’d been experimenting with lenses and exposure times and other techniques just before I’d gotten my DSLR and took these photos of Lucy in her last month, some black and white and some color, that were haunting in their intentional distortions of light and color. With all the costs of Lucy’s treatments for FIP after all the costs of losing four seniors the prior year, and then the arrival for Mimi and her children, I couldn’t afford to develop the film right away, and it sat for three years, waiting to be rediscovered. I had digitals and some other photos on film but kept remembering this series of photos and kept looking, until one day I got back to developing rolls of film that had been waiting, and there they were. And just like the series with Namir and Cookie and my garden I also preserved what we looked at that day, and the memories of all that lived in that moment.
Lucy was a little beauty, and as she gazed out into the back yard through the basement yard we enjoyed a little beauty together.
The photos above were not modified in any way, just taken with the 50mm lens with a magnifier and a filter that diffused light areas, so the sunlight on Lucy’s sides is flashed out. It was taken in June 2007, and Lucy really was that slender; she was slender like Mimi, but was also just beginning to lose weight.
Below are a few of the things we were looking at out that basement door, as I took some time on a lovely morning to wander the garden and let my eye and my camera do what they would, something that has always eased my troubles as I clearly saw Lucy’s decline. Sometimes magic happens that I don’t even know about, and that was especially magical when you had to wait for photos to be developed.
The fleabane having a celebration.
The columbines looking like a cloud of fairies above a swirl of blue forget-me-nots.
White daisies, symbols of childhood innocence, and purity, floating among shadows and light.
A dandelion poof…for a wish to come true, perhaps?
And then I wandered back to Lucy, sleeping on the steps, waiting for me.
I wish this photo wasn’t blurry; I know she had sat up, then crouched back down again on her pink and gray rug, and with a manual-focus camera I couldn’t catch her fast enough. I love her shadow in silhouette, and perhaps it’s blurry for a reason. She has cast a long shadow on us, but in a good way. The photo tells its own story.
We celebrate her July 10, for though we lost her on that date, she brought us all together on that date as well. Below is the water bowl Mimi drank from, with forget-me-nots gently floating in it. July 10 is the date Mimi entered my heart, when I saw her in my garden, and perhaps I entered hers as well.
Lucy is always with us, and though her loss was heartbreaking, her age, the illness, and coming after the losses of four elderly cats in one year, but she changed the lives of five other cats—Mimi came here, was spayed, had no more kittens, and is my best friend now. Her half-siblings have a life they likely would not have had if I hadn’t taken them all in as newborns. And together they all healed me from the devastation of my loss. I will never forget that I can heal. Lucy joined with them on the day they came here, and is part of them forever.
From Mimi’s point of view in Mimi Mewsing.
For my first annual presentation at Pet Memorial Sunday I told the story of My Loss and Redemption.
And how They Rescued Me.
Art and Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
We remember Lucy as a playful kitten too!
This illustration is for the cover of the book I still intend to write about Lucy. I’ve used it on all sorts of gift items, from keepsakes to tiles to cabochons to refrigerator magnets. She’s very popular! The next time I make tiles and cabochons I’ll have to make more than one. Read more and purchase.
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.
Subscribe to my e-newsletter
Subscribe to The Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter.
Weekly schedule of features:
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Thursday: New Merchandise
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!