Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Matter of Life and Death

Dear readers, if you're still hanging around, I'd like to inform you that as today I resume 
my Animalarium postings. I feel I owe you an explanation for my long absence, so here it is: I was at a loss for words. 

At the end end June Seba and I were in Sweden, having a wonderful time at the wedding
 of our lovely friends Ingrid and Lorenza, when we received a phone call from one of our daughters
 informing us that or beloved little Chapi had suddenly died. Unseen, mysteriously, just outside our home, 
hit on the head by a big log of wood. The log may have fallen due to that day's small earthquake, 
or maybe Maya pushed it down as they were playing... but these speculations are rather useless, 
and we were simply left to face and accept the hard fact that we had lost our wonderful friend,
 as it had happened just one year before with Emma

our last photo together

Since I really haven't slowed down, with Summer courses, family events and even a great dancing party
 in our garden, but I have often been feeling quite sad and empty inside, and couldn't face the idea
 of writing a blog post, as I wasn't ready to talk about what had happened or to ignore it. 
And I really didn't feel at all like posting pretty pictures of animals, especially cats, 
although I did make an effort to keep the Animalarium facebook page alive.

Maya has been sad too. Chapi had been her best friend and companion since she arrived at our home,
 the two of them playing together for hours to our endless delight. We began to think that
 we should adopt another cat, hoping that magic would happen again and the big rumpus
 could resume. But we weren't quite ready.

Then, about ten days ago, a young female cat appeared in our garden. She was very hungry
 and scared, and we started feeding her and making friends. One of her eyes was 
in bad shape, but otherwise she looked healthy, with a very sweet temperament. 
I noticed that the time spent with this kitty was the most peaceful and serene in my day.
I was hoping that she would hang around, and she did. She still spends most of the time
 out in the garden, but is starting to feel more confident and to come eating inside.

Then, about a week ago, another female cat appeared out of the blue. This was pretty weird,
since during the sixteen years that I've been living here no cats had ever showed up at our door.
This one was very hungry too, but much less frightened – in a very short time, she has installed
herself in our home and looks perfectly at ease lying on the sofaIn all likeliness 
she belonged to someone, and she is either lost or abandoned. We are still looking for 
the owner, but it's quite likely that both of these cats will end up moving in with us.  

What else can I say? I am trying to learn to keep on loving and enjoying life and living creatures,
 without getting so attached that I can't accept the mystery of death, and loss, 
and nature's eternal renewal.
I believe I am ready to start again.


  1. thank you for this. animalarium has always brought me the most beautiful art and created some firm favourites i'd not known of before, and you've been much missed. but as someone who's been doing some cat based art himself who suddenly found two much loved local kittens hit by cars on his street, i know something of how hard it can be to return to the work in hand because of the sad memories (although, thankfully, my own sociopathic at remains very much alive and grumpily well). i'm glad to have you back on my blog roll though...

  2. I do understand. Thank you for sharing this story. I hope you and the cats (and the dog!) will have a happy time.

  3. Thank you for your wonderful blog, which has provided me and others with so much information, entertainment and inspiration. The collections of animal art that you post are amazing. Many of the images you post are hidden treasures brought back from obscurity. Thank your for sharing your story. I share in your grief. We lost two cats, exactly one year apart as of last May. Our (late) Cappy interestingly had very similar coloring and markings to your Chapi. We are now left with one cat, a tuxedo who misses his brothers but revels in not having to share meals. Wishing you comfort and healing, you, your family, four leggeds and all.

  4. So sorry to hear about your dear little Chapi. What a beautiful cat she was - and from your pictures it looks like she had many fun times in your garden. There is nothing like that hole left by an animal companion... Wishing you healing, happy days with your new furry friends.

  5. Thank you for this, and welcome back again :)

  6. Sorry to hear of your sudden loss, animals really do become a part of our families and their loss is very keenly felt. Please do not stop your inspirational posts on FB.

  7. oh this is so sad and beautiful and full of love, thank you for sharing!

  8. I'm sorry to hear about Chapi - I know how it feels to lose a beloved pet :( .

    With the new ones, life goes on.

  9. Not to write about the loss at my blog was something like... as long as I don't write about it is still not real. I really can understand how difficult it is to write, to find words and worst of all, to make it real by writing about it. I just lost two of my cats this year and I am fighting for the life of my third and last one. All of them were brothers and I had them for 12 years. Dean died while I was in south korea, I had to read about it in an email because I couldn't be reached due to the time difference. Just an accident and also, we will never know what really happened. It is heart breaking, sad and I know the strange emptiness that is inside. I always have these emptiness if I lose someone I love (and these includes my little ones, my cats). For me it is just hurting so much that I am not feeling anything anymore. Just put it all to the side, ignore it... because it just can't be real. Even worse after we also lost Grusel due to an accident two months later. Everything inside me scramed, it is just not fair, it just can't be true.

    I can't say anything to sooth the pain for you. But just that I am crying with you and smiling seeing your new little ones.

  10. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Poor Chapi...looks like such a lively friendly kitty. It is so painful to lose an animal friend, especially in such a mysterious way. But it is so lovely that the new kitties showed up so soon and adopted you. Stay well...

  11. Sorry to learn of this loss. I do know how it feels as I'm still missing my Millie and it has been several years. Our sweet boy Max arrived on our porch one morning, almost a year to the day Millie died. Mille also came to us the same way. I believe they are sent to us to care for, to love, and to accept that they will leave us, breaking our hearts one day. It doesn't seem to get easier, does it? But these little ones know where to find us, and it's a joy to care for them. Hope the two kitties stay with you and thrive.

  12. I am so sorry for your loss...I understand your need to retreat and grieve. Our pets are so precious...congrats on your two new additions!

  13. Somehow it seems animals can sense when you have lost a beloved companion. It is so wonderful and hopeful that these two kitties have found you. They will never replace Chapi, but they can, over time, help fill the aching hole in your heart. I love my three cats with their unique personalities. They are endlessly entertaining and mysterious - and wonderful company as well.
    I have suffered the loss of beloved cats myself, and I understand that unique, terrible pain.

  14. We may supply them with shelter, food, and love, but there's no doubt we're the lucky ones. Here's to those animals who we've been fortunate enough to be part of their lives!

  15. Thank you for sharing the wonderful photos of Chapi despite this difficult time - I especially love the ones that show the relationship with Maya. I struggle with the very same thing you describe in your 2nd to last line...I hope your new feline friends bring as much joy to your life as Chapi did.

  16. These little creatures take so much of our hearts for their own, that when they leave our lives are infinitely the poorer. My heart goes out to you for your loss.

    But nature abhors a vacuum, and it would seem the two visitors have found their ways to where they will be best cared for and loved. The universe takes away, but then gives again.

  17. Laura,
    Thank you so much for writing and sharing this with us. I discovered your blog sometime ago, and it brings me so much joy and inspiration. I lost my dog Vodka a few years ago and I knew I'd never be the same again. He was a light in my life. A cat found his way into our home somehow (he's snoozing next to me,) and into my heart, but Voddie's absence is still here. I'm truly sorry for your loss. Animals are the best friends in the world.

  18. Laura I am so happy to see that you are back. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your much loved cat. your posts have inspired me as an artist in so many ways, thankyou

  19. I am very grateful and moved by all your kind, loving and insightful comments... and sorry to hear about your own losses and sorrows. I am so glad that this platform allows me to share my loves, pleasures and pains with like-minded people like you!

  20. Dear Laura,

    I am very sorry for the loss of your beloved Chapi. But you know, I think she asked to these two kitties to go to you because she did not want you to be so sad ...

    big hugs

  21. Big Hugs here too.

    We are all learning the mystery of death and loss, but are constantly reminded by the love and joy dispersing from the beautiful pictures in The Animalarium.



Related Posts with Thumbnails