Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The Sad Goodbye

Buster, painted on a scrap of watercolour paper

Its' been some time since I wrote on my blog and I am so sorry. Firstly there was the wonderful excitement of looking forward to Christmas. Then Christmas itself after which New Year took over and I meant to visit here so often. To wish everyone well. But behind the scenes our home has been dealing with what we knew was inevitable. The agonising farewell to a well loved family pet. I  am afraid I didn't want to come online until I felt my usual cheerful, happy self. It didn't seem fair to share my sadness.And after all. Buster is just a cat. Not a member of the family. Or so that is how some people may feel.

But to be honest Buster, our cat,  was a huge part of my life. I took his photographs on every workshop with me and artists from all over the world have eagerly painted him. He was a huge fluffy monster of a cat that even managed to get into magazine features when I have been interviewed at my cottage. He always seemed to steal the show somehow. Like the time we invited artists back to our home after an international workshop in UK last year. As everyone delightedly wandered around the garden taking photos of the scenery and flowers out pranced Buster to become centre of attention. Everyone immediately turned their cameras on him and he played to the audience.

He had a loud purr which I used to love listening to.

His roar when he caught mice to present to me I actually do miss even though I thought I never would. At times like this I would always look at my husband John and ask him to deal with the little lifeless form. Which Buster seemed to be very proud of.

During Christmas we went to the vet twice expecting not to come home with our fluffy monster. But we did. Joking that was anotehr of his nine lives gone feeling huge relief to have him for more time. Buster has had his last Christmas with us. Last week we made the dreaded decision not to let our sweet cat suffer and took him to the vet for the last nightmare visit. I tierd unsuccessfully to hold back teh tears as we made our way to the veterinary centre. Once there I felt I was quite brave. I listened and we all knew what was best for our pet.  At this point my husband offered to take Buster from my arms. But I couldn't let him go. Years ago it was my choice to have cats and I naively thought I wouldn't get as attached to them as to my dogs. How wrong I was.

The vet told us we were being kind and wise. 

I held Buster and stroked him fo rthe last time. My heart was breaking as he purred loudly in my arms even while he drifted into his final sleep. This is the  moment is when your world falls apart and you feel ashamed because you know there are far worse things happening in life all over the world. But tears streamed down my face. I know that I have happy memories of a kitten that wasn't supposed to live but survived for eleven and a half years having a ball until the nightmare that is Cancer appeared in the form of a tumour and bone cancer . By the time it was discovered it had spread to become inoperable. Given only months to live then by the vets  Buster went on to live for years so we have already had borrowed time with him. Ovet the last few months we waited worrying about how we would know when it was the right "time" to lose him. Not too soon and not too late.

It has been agony. And I have not felt like painting initially or even coming online which is so unusual for me.

But painting is healing. And it brings a peaceful calm. I faced my easel this week and couldn't bear to paint on a new piece of white paper. I knew my heart had slowly sunk to a rare point of lowness for me. Finally, I looked in my paper bin and pulled out a torn scrap of paper that I had previously discarded and started painting from an old photo of Buster that was nearby, Tears flowed eventually and I let my feelings out. I miss this silly old fluffball.  I miss picking up his heavy weight each morning to feed him as he preferred being placed near his cat bowl kept well out of Baileys reach on a worktop in the utility room. I miss him staring at me when he has noticed I am watching a film intently. It has always seemed to be his mission in life to gain attention when he knows you least want to give it.

And how I would give anything to have a film interrupted again.

So my blog has gone quiet. And I am so sorry. And I have a zillion emails to reply to. And so much happy news to share too. Lots of workshop information and talks in USA.  Yes, I need to get back to work. And I will. 

Soon.


******************

15 comments:

BB said...

Don't let anyone give you a time limit to grieve. Pets are such a precious addition to our families, and it hurts so to lose them. Painting can be a wonderful healer/therapy, and you have many wonderful memories to fall back on. Paint them as they come to you.

veredit - isabella kramer said...

Take all the time you need. I knew exactly how you feel ... it's five years ago we lost one of my two cats. Souris, only six years young - but what a cat, so near to our heart. I paint her, wrote poems about her etc.
Now five years later we have not forget her, she's in our heart, every day. So I feel deeply with you.

Send you my warmest thoughts.

isabella

Bindi said...

As another pet mother who has had to face this terrible decision on behalf of our beloved little animal, this blog makes my eyes sting. I had to face this 6 months ago for our little shih tzu, and also several times prior to that. True animal lovers never give up and we will always have room in our hearts for more pets. Thank you Jean for sharing, sometimes it helps to write it down.

Gail Storti said...

Dear Jean,
I can barely see the keyboard through my tears as I write this because I've been in your shoes before. I am one who knows that our pets are family members and no one can tell me they aren't. Even though your heart is broken now, the wonderful memories you have of him will also heal it and he will live on in those memories. It is such an agonizing decision to make, but such a kind thing to do. sending you love and prayers and hope for happier days ahead.
❤️ Gail

Lynley van alphen said...

I'm just bawling💔. My heart breaks for you Jean, l too have cats and other animals and l know the pain when we have to say goodbye. You were so brave to do what you had to do, but it was right and all the great moments you had with Buster will now only be memories and with that comes the knowledge he will be with you in spirit where ever you go, Safe always in your heart😊

Lana said...

Oh, I am so very sorry! I have been through this experience and it is one of the most devastating times. Our fur babies are members of our family. People that do not understand that - I just feel sorry for them. I pray for peace for you. He was a beautiful kitty and obviously loved you so very much. Much love to you from a Texas fan.

Yabut said...

So sorry you have lost your furry purry. I know how that feels. I kept "seeing" my kitty where she normally would have been out of the corner of my eye for a while. Missed her so much I dug a stuffed toy one out of the basement to snuggle for a while. It's hard to lose a beloved pet. Be good to yourself.

Claire Bull said...

Such a touching and heartfelt tribute to dear Buster , Jean... I understand - Our dogs and cats have come and gone and each one fills your heart and then breaks it. But what a great life they have had. I am missing them but grateful and sounds like you were the best Mom in the world and Buster had a happy fabulous life. So so sorry. I kept a toy. And I could see it and it felt like they were part of me still. I wonder if that will help. The painting is beautiful. I love all of your paintings. And a fan for years. Hang in there ❤️ at one time we had 4 cats 3 kids and 2 dogs. And random birds or rabbits ha. Right now it is just a dog. I was alone for a while and can't handle life without an animal. One day at a time. ��

colorpoems said...

I am so sorry for your loss. My pets are dear to me and a part of the family. There is no limit on tears, along with a broken heart when we lose these special friends. My heart aches for you and your post here caused me to cry - I am very touched by animals...
Lucky you to have your art to help you work through the grief, and beautiful art it is. Blessing and my thoughts are with you...

Poetry and Wild Roses said...

Dear Jean, I loved reading about Buster, and feel so moved by your affection for him~ I love your little painting of him~ So sweet! God bless~ Hugs

Wood Fairy said...

I am so sorry you have lost such a treasured companion. I know the feeling - our pets give unfaltering loyalty and love and ask for little in return. I hope you will feel comfort that your little cat knew how much they were loved.

Caroline McKinney said...

Please take time for you and for Buster. We can wait.

adots said...

I've been in those mama cat shoes. Hurts to let go. But I wouldn't have had it any other way. I clipped some of the fur from my last cat, cherish it more then diamond rings. Hugs.

Andi said...

Tragedies take all forms around a the works, but the ones we have in our lives are the ones that can break our hearts. They are personal and poignant and can't be compared to anyone else's. My heart goes out to you and I wish you the best as you navigate life anew.

esscee said...

My eyes are tearing as I write this. I know how devastating it can be. We lost our beloved 15 year old Silky terrier recently. We took him everywhere. I understand how Buster was such a part of your life, and everything reminds you, first of your loss, but eventually, hopefully, of what a loving wonderful companion he was. Eventually the thoughts bring more smiles than tears – that’s what I’m hoping anyway! Don’t feel guilty or silly no matter how long it takes to get back to your art & writing. The people who appreciate you will understand.