Wednesday, July 24, 2024
black catscat photographscatsdaily photofeline infectious peritonitisFIPlucy

Once You Were a Stranger

Once you were a stranger
Once you were a stranger

Once you were a stranger who filled my hand.
Now you are a memory who fills my heart.

Remembering Lucy.

Original poem, “Once You Were a Stranger” © 2016 Bernadette E. Kazmarski

. . . . . . .


Lucy chasing rainbows.
Lucy chasing rainbows.

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.

Remembering Lucy.

Original poem, “Lucy” © 2007 Bernadette E. Kazmarski

. . . . . . .

July 10 is 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.

black cat on pink and gray rug
Lucy, Pink and Gray (on her favorite rag rug).

. . . . . . .

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. I will use one later today for another little dedication to her.

Lucy was a little beauty, and as she gazed out into the back yard through the basement yard we enjoyed a little beauty together.

black cat in silhouette
Lucy looking up at me.

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 a slender kitten, but was 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.

Our back yard with buttercups and forget-me-nots.

The fleabane having a celebration.

Fleabane, in a happy display.

The columbines looking like a cloud of fairies above a swirl of blue forget-me-nots.

A cloud of columbines, sometimes called a fairy flower, with forget-me-nots in the background.

White daisies, symbols of childhood innocence, and purity, floating among shadows and light.

Daisies, symbol of childhood innocence, purity and gentleness.

A dandelion poof…for a wish to come true, perhaps?

dandelion fluff
Dandelion fluff, for wishes?

And then I wandered back to Lucy, sleeping on the steps, waiting for me.

black cat
Lucy in green.

I wish this photo wasn’t blurry; I know she had sat up, then crouched back down again, and with a manual-focus camera I couldn’t catch her fast enough, but 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.

black cat with shadow
Lucy and shadow.

We celebrate her today, July 10, for though we lost her on this date, she brought us all together on this date as well. Below is the water bowl Mimi drank from, with forget-me-nots gently floating in it. Today is the date Mimi entered my heart, when I saw her in my garden, and perhaps I entered hers as well.

water with forget me nots
The water bowl Mimi always drank from , with forget-me-nots.

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.


Read more…

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.


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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© 2022 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Weekly schedule of features:

Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life

Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters

Tuesday: Rescue Stories

Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork

Thursday: New Merchandise

Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy

Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats

And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!




From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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