Monday, February 6, 2012

Restart Button


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.

Brenda

34 comments:

  1. Brenda,
    ♥ I'm so sorry to hear about your latest troubles, but most especially about the loss of your sweet Mercy. I understand your grief so well. My cat, Blues (her sister's name was Rhythm) was my surrogate child, as I have no children, and she was with me from 6 weeks until I had to put her down at age 21 years. You will always miss Mercy, but this pain you're feeling now will likely diminish with time. I look forward to seeing your sketchbook painting of this beautiful cat, because it will be painted from a place deep within your heart. My most sincere condolences.....
    Linda

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    1. Thank you for your sweet words of comfort.

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  2. My cats are such a nuisance! Funny how fond I am of a little nuesance! Each with different personalities, both vying for attention. Loving and mischievious they weave their feline selves into the fabric of our lives. I would miss my cats and I know you will miss Mercy. A loving tribute in your sketchbook is fitting. Please share it when you can.

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    1. Fond nuisances...love it! She was always into whatever we were doing. She insisted on rubbing on my husbands wet legs when he stepped out of the shower. It was her idea of a easy bath.

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  3. I am so sorry for your loss & sad. I know what it is to lose dear kitties...What a lovely tribute you just shared...

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  4. So sorry for your loss, Brenda. She was certainly a gorgeous bundle of trouble and companionship. I look forward to seeing the painting. I'm glad you made it home in time to be with her.

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    1. Yes...grateful I was home in time. I think she held on to see me again.

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  5. So sorry to hear of your loss, Brenda. We lost our Cassady a year and a half ago to pneumonia, and I had it at the same time!! A new kitty will come into your life and steal your heart, but for now it's the memories of Mercy you keep close to your heart. Thanks for sharing these wonderful stories. Love the pictures. What a mischievous, fun-loving character she was!

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    1. Mischievous...she was! Mercy's playmate and fellow cat Joy still roams the house looking for her. My heart aches for Joy to lose her companion.

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  6. I'm so sad to hear of your loss of your furry companion. I wish you peaceful memories of your time together.

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  7. Oh Brenda,
    The description of your lovely girl, inclusive of her pranks and elfish shenanigans made me feel so much for you. Mercy sounds like she was a light in your life like sunshine. -Kellsey
    I wish I could wrap my paws round your shoulders and thank you one more time for your care and for your loving patience with me.-Mercy

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    1. Bless your heart...your words hit the spot.
      Her shenanigans were unique...Her favorite trick was jumping from atop the kitchen cabinets to land on my husbands shoulders. It scared the ##//# out of him more than once. I was the only person she would allow to cuddle her...but if I over did it she promptly corrected me. She was always tiny and had a hard time keeping warm. In the morning she would run upstairs and wiggle her way under the covers. She would stretch out against my body to take in the warmth.

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  8. Am so sorry Brenda,i how hard it was for you to make that decision.
    I have a papillion ..Pablo...who shares my art room. Can't imagine his not being there with me. he drags an old rug, or old jeans with him each day when we go to paint.

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  9. My heart goes out to you, your hubby and Joy. The family is one shy now. The next time something spills in you studio it might just be Mercy letting you know that she is OK and Loves & Misses you too.

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  10. It's so sad to say goodbye to a special friend, especially when it's unexpected. I'm so sorry for your loss.
    I had just worked up enough courage to try sketching our smaller Maine coon, Dali, for the first time -- just as soon I bring her home from her vet appointment. The sad thing was that she never came home; they found a tumor that was the cause of her not eating and she would never be able to eat again.
    Needless to say, I have sketched our other Maine coon, Bearcat, many times now!

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    1. Vicky, Good lesson...don't wait, do it now. I have almost finished the small painting of her in my sketchbook. I want to write on the page...I just haven't been able to. I need to do this final thing so I can release her.

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  11. I just chanced on your blog from a comment on WetCanvas and read your very moving post. I am so sad for your loss. As they say - cats leave paw prints on your heart. We are facing a similar problem with our little boy but he is still with us - for another day at least.
    Your art is inspriational and your blog very motivating - I've decided to do the 75 painting challenge - just for me. Pity I live on the other side of the world - painting with you would be fun.
    Ros

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    1. Ros, Thank you for your touching note. These little creatures sure find their way into our hearts. I finished a sketch of Mercy and hope to share it in a day or two. It was a tough one (emotionally)I hope your little boy remains strong and with a while longer.
      I am delighted you are going to do the challenge! Please let me know when you complete it...I love to know!
      Brenda

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    2. Ros, I paint all over the country...check my website under "teaching" www.swensonsart.net. Perhaps we can meet up and paint together someday.
      Happy Painting!
      Brenda

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  12. Oops, I didn't mean to be anonymous, sorry.
    Ros

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  13. Your Mercy was such a pretty baby. My mother used to say that cats were living works of art, and they know instinctively how to arrange themselves into a lovely pose. I'm an animal lover too, and am joined at the hip with my Brittany dog, Rocky. There's nothing like them.
    My sincere condolences and much love, Yvonne

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    1. I like that...living works of art! Thanks

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  14. Hugs to you, Brenda, on the loss of your sweet little girl. It's amazing how something so small can fill up your heart and life....it sounds like you were a good match for each other.

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  15. I just read your post, and I am so sorry for your loss. Our pets are a part of our lives forever.
    Hugs, Bernadette

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  16. So sorry for your loss, Brenda. . . I had to say goodbye to a special furry friend in July. Its so hard.

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  17. Hi Brenda,

    I just found your blog via your post to the FB Artists Journal Workshop group. I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face because I have experienced this same anguish for a beloved pet many years ago. I too held my little dog til his last breath. I am so very sorry for your loss but I'm glad that you have so many wonderful and mischievous moments to remember your dear Mercy.

    Time is a great healer,

    Serena

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  18. Serena, Bless your heart! Memories can be bitter sweet. I hope you have experienced the joy of sketch journaling. It has amazing healing qualities.
    Hugs to you,
    Brenda

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  19. Brenda, I just found your blog because of the article in the new Plein Air magazine, liked what I saw and .read, and then found this moving post. I have a very special furry friend, or rather, he owns me. Sometimes I think of life without him and how difficult it will be to say goodbye. I don't even have the assurance that our pets will be with us in the next life, but then God is good and he knows what we need.
    I hope time has healed the broken spot in your heart in the months since you wrote this post.
    Your work is inspiring. I, too, love to draw and paint as I travel here and abroad. It would be fun to travel with you.

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    1. Jo,
      Nice to hear how you found me...through the Plein Air magazine.

      I still miss Mercy and the empty place she left. She was full of mischief, spunk and heart. The hurt has lessened and the joy she brought into my life lives on.

      I hope to meet you some day. Happy Painting!

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