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.