"When we all think alike, then no one is thinking."
— Walter Lippman

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fred 1995-2011

On monday we had to say good-bye to our oldest cat, Fred.   He had been in poor health for some time, and had crossed that line between having pretty good quality of life and not feeling good anymore. There was not going to be a happy ending here, so we tearfully made the decision to give Fred the final gift of a peaceful end to his struggle.
   Over the course of his illness, Fred had gone from a robust, stocky physique, to mere skin and bones.  I wanted to override those final images and remember him as he looked in his prime.  So this morning I opened my journal and painted a portrait of Freddie....a cat in the prime of life, a mighty hunter of rodents, the super-cat he had been.   He was stretching, as he often did, just before he came up and gave you a good head-butt.... a real show of affection.  That's the way I will always remember him.
   The quote is from Walt Whitman, so thoughtfully sent to me by my art-exchange friend, Sharon Parker.  It was fitting that it should be included on the page:
"I think I could turn and live with the animals, they are so placid and self contained;
I stand and look at them long and long.   They do not sweat and whine about their condition; They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins;  They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God;  Not one is dissatisfied- not one is demented with the mania of owning things;  Not one kneels to another, nor his kind that lived thousands of years ago;  Not one is responsible or industrious over the whole earth"

Sometimes keeping a visual journal is a way to work through the difficulties that life hands us.  It's a place with no rules where we are allowed to express freely the things we are feeling and then stand back and say "There, now, that's a little better."


Pam said...

Dear Anne, I'm so sorry for your loss. What a brave and loving thing you did, helping Freddie to his final rest. I experienced similar with my Toni a few years ago, probably many others have like stories to tell. Thanks for posting; I enjoyed the quote, your art and the sharing from your heart. Pam

tgarrett said...

What a beautiful tribute Ann- hope Sharon sees this!

Sharon Parker said...

Aw. Wonderful Fred. God bless him. I once had a cat who greeted us with head buts. I'm so glad the Whitman lines resonated with you. And what a beautiful image of Fred you rendered (he looks a lot like our old cat, Stripe, the one I mentioned above). (btw: I was delighted when, a few years ago, the son of one of my art exchange friends introduced me as "One of my mom's art buddies" that I now use that term regularly. Art buddy: it has a nice ring to it.)

Caitlyn said...

Sorry for your loss. It is a really beautiful portrait though, what a great way to remember a loved furry friend.

Virginia said...

Catching up -- what a lovely tribute and the image of him head butting you is one I am and have been fondly acquainted with repeatedly over the last 50+ years. Let me see how many of these wonderful creatures have been my companions? (Starting at 9 months old-- me) Simon, Mona, Simon Jones, Miss Sooty, Tiger, Roxanne,Blackstone, Greystone, Tobermory, Koshka, Jax, Kitty, Sean Patrick O'Riley O'Day, and Angelina & Zeus. And, I'm sure there will be more helping me through my days here on earth!!!

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