Have you ever had one of those weeks when you wish you had a restart button? Last week was like that. My computer went on the fritz and locked all my documents and I had a book deadline looming. I woke up sick mid-week and still haven't kicked the thing and worst of all is what happened on Monday...
Everything was going good Monday morning. I had just finished teaching a negative painting workshop in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I had 22 wonderful artists and enjoyed the southern hospitality and charm of the group. At 10:30 am Monday I caught my flight to Houston, and onto LAX. I arrived home at 4:15 and looked forward to relaxing before my husband walked in the door. The first kitty in the house to greet me was Mercy. But this time the sight of her was alarming! Something was terribly wrong. I left my suitcases in the middle of the doorway and gently picked her up. When I looked into her eyes there was a look I hadn't seen before...was it agony?, despair?...I do not know. I called the vet and rushed her to the clinic. My worst fears were realized. She was terribly ill. They felt a mass in her stomach, fluid in her chest, dehydration, low heart rate... They took her to the back room to give her oxygen. I sat in the room alone feeling terrible. Almost on cue my husband step through the door (he had found the phone book open to the page of the clinic). After the vet spoke with us I knew I had to let her go. They brought her back to me. I needed to see her one more time and to let her know she was not alone. I held her close until the end as she took her last breath, and her spirit left her tiny body. I felt no struggle as she gently slipped away. Why was I so fond of this mischievous little creature? Heaven knows how much trouble and damage she caused. She greeted me first thing in the morning by clawing my bedspread, she attacked the furniture when she wanted attention, and bit my husband. But what I remember now is how she would jump out from behind doors hitting me with her paws as if to say "you're it" and running off. I would set chase and play along...we repeat the game again and again. The only toy she liked was little strips of watercolor paper. She would carrying them off and hide them under doors and cry for me to retrieve them. She was my constant companion in my studio...she knocked things over, slept on my chair, and jumped into everything I opened (boxes, drawers, cabinets). My sketchbooks were of great interest to her. In two of these pictures she is on top of them. In the picture of me with my sketchbooks I am holding her so she won't climb on top of the books. Was it because they smelled of me or that she fought with them for my attention. I'll never know.
My last act of letting her go...is to paint her in my sketchbook.