A Journal of the Heart...
Today I had to put my beautiful kitty Akua to sleep. My world will never be the same.
I work with people about their own losses of their pets and people and it always touches me deeply. And I have deeply loved every pet that I have ever had and my heart would shatter with each loss, but Akua was different for me. She was my heart kitty. There was a different type of bond with her.
When I got her I had gone for a year without any pets. And she was introduced to me and I knew she was mine. She was a beautiful little Bengal that was being fostered. She was quite sick and they think that a breeder had thrown her out to die. I ended up bringing her home after the usual steps of spaying, etc. She was still sick but being with me seemed to help her health return. Akua was always kind of wild. And people said that Bengals are different than other cats. THAT was definitely the truth! I had never had a kitty like her! She acted like a dog most of the time. She would greet me at the door when I got home, give me a few loves and then off she would go. If I had the nerve to talk on the phone in her presence she would run up behind me and jump up and slap me in the butt with her paws. She was always gentle and loving. Never biting or scratching. If she got a little frisky while playing, all I would have to say is “gentle” and she would be more gentle. Her favorite toy was peacock feathers and she could leap high in the sky. She was a trickster and “naughty” in a good way. She had a sense of humor too. We would play peek-a-boo that was also a little like hide-and-seek. All I would have to say is “peek-a-boo” and she would run to hide. When my daughter was around here and I would have my grandog over, Akua and Frites would chase eachother and play and have so much fun! Akua would also do her best to antagonize him. She had a teddy bear that was Frites and she would kick the crap out of that thing if I said, “Where’s Frites?” She never treated Frites like that but it was so funny to watch her beat the hell out of that teddy bear! She was so stinkin’ smart! She would sit at the window where I have a hummingbird feeder and the hummingbirds would literally come up and hover in front of her face. So sweet.
Akua was THE pickiest eater EVER!!!! I cannot tell you how many dollars of cat food I went through to make her happy. And once I found something she liked I’d buy several and then she would decide she didn’t really like it afterall. She never had an accident, and always used her catbox, no matter what.
When I very first got her I heard a voice say “you won’t have her for very long”. I pushed that thought away because almost all of my cats have lived to the late teens or into their 20’s. She was an indoor only cat and she got the best food and care and love…………so of course she would live a long and fabulous life! Well, we got the fabulous part in but only 5 years of it. I would have loved another 20 with her but now I just have to accept that she will visit me and be by my side always……..in a different way.
I firmly believe in not putting a pet (or person) through treatments when in your gut you know it’s bad. I had mentioned a few months ago to my daughter that Akua didn’t seem like herself and I thought she may have lost a little weight but I was in the process of getting rid of things and preparing for a move and selling our home, so chalked it up to stress. But things continued to decline and the picky eating turned into not eating or drinking and if she ate she threw that up. Her weight continued to plummet and the vet tried some other things but I knew in my gut that this wasn’t something that would get better. In talking to a friend that has good knowledge, she is betting that she had cancer. She was suffering. Sure, the vet thinks he failed me because he couldn’t tell me what was going on. But I told him it doesn’t matter, I know she can’t come back from this and I refuse to let her suffer any longer.
Today was the most kind thing that I could do for my sweet Akua. It doesn’t matter how broken hearted or difficult it is for me. She doesn’t have to hurt or suffer or feel sick or scared anymore. She can visit me. And she will often. I honored her and love her with all my heart. Not everyone has the opportunity to have their “heart” pet. I am so lucky to have experienced this, even if it was only for a short 5 years.
Be well my baby Akua.
I am not big into New Year this, New Year that. And this year has been so crazy in so many ways. But I do find myself reflecting on the year of 2020.
As some of you know I owned a wonderful gift shop/gallery inside a nice hotel. I supported all local artists. 8 years and 68 artists when I had to close my shop due to covid. This was pretty devastating to me because this was my living. I don’t have a partner or husband, so my life is taken care of 100% by me. And of course, I still have Sacred Embers. But closing the shop really flattened me for a moment. I remained positive because this year my daughter and my son in-law became pregnant and my grandson would be born in 2020. So exciting. But because of all of the restrictions I was not able to make all the trips to be with them to share in the pregnancy.
I have also been a homeowner for 28 years and this 2020 situation made me decide that I don’t need to be a homeowner anymore. I no longer felt that I needed to own my home. I didn’t want the responsibilities any longer. I realized I could downsize (GREATLY downsize) and get into an apartment on the water that I have coveted for years. No one ever moves out of them but guess what? I’ll be moving into them in February! I set my intentions and started selling my belongings, my art, everything. Donating lots and clearing my space. I started this process long before finding out that I had a space opening in the apartment complex. I am so incredibly excited about this upcoming change! You see, the water is my peaceful place. So living on the water will be so amazing! Living there will free me to visit my grandson and his mommy and daddy! My house goes on the market in 2 days.
OH my grandson, ENZO!!!!! I got to drive with my best friend to see my pregnant daughter in June. Just a short visit but at least I got to see her in person. He was born on October 5th. The second my daughter went into labor I went on quarantine so that I could drive down. Baby Enzo is the most handsome and smart baby in the world (duh, of course he is!!). Spending those 2 weeks with them, helping with everything was wonderful. My daughter did a home birth and did amazing, but he was a big baby and she needed some help. Seeing their relationship blossom even more was what every mother wants to experience. Leaving was horrible. I bawled for about 27 miles straight and then periodically all along the 13 hour drive home. And I didn’t get to spend Enzo’s first Christmas with him because I couldn’t fly and the passes aren’t super safe at this time of year. To say that I am in love with Enzo is just not enough. This child is magical. He really is magical!
That being said, 2020 pushed me to know that nothing will stop me. I can manifest and build towards a life that I will be happier with. I have parted with items really realizing they are “just things”. I have tried new things. I have become a Grandma! I have learned I can make changes. I know that being at peace is VERY important to me. I look forward to the days of seeing people’s smiles….no masks. Being able to hug others and travel freely.
What have you learned?
My name is Carolyn Osborne. I grew up in and still live in the Pacific Northwest. I was the oldest child of 3 kids and always very shy, and always an artist. However, I always stepped to my own drummer, which was not really popular in my family. One thing I never wavered on: I always wanted to be an artist “when I grew up”. I worked in criminal justice for 12 years and left it to become self-employed. Being self-employed has always revolved somehow around being creative. (sign maker, painter, glass artist, Sacred Embers). For the last 8 years, I had a gift shop/gallery that was in a fancy hotel. My shop only supported local artists. It was a fabulous childhood dream that came to fruition and sadly, due to the covid shut downs had to be closed.
I raised a beautiful daughter that has very recently made me a grandma! I love animals and was already a grandma to my daughter’s fur-boy Frites. And now life has become so much sweeter! My being self-employed for almost all of my daughter’s life has been a journey of ups and downs but in the end it taught my daughter to have a great work ethic and the ability to think and see outside the box. As she goes through life’s adventures it is lovely to see things that she does or says, knowing she learned it from you. And I have learned so much from my amazing daughter throughout life.
I just returned from meeting my grandson. Today is actually his 1 month birthday! I cannot tell you how beautiful it was to see what amazing parents my daughter and her husband will be and of course, I totally fell in love with my grandson, Enzo. He’s so handsome and beautiful and soft and ……my grandson!!!!! My heart is bursting! I told my daughter that if I died tomorrow, my life is complete.
It does make you think about the people that are not here to meet Enzo in person. My brother would be so pleased……….I miss those jokes he would make and the wisdom he would share. He adored my daughter and I know he is so thrilled. My grandmother, Enzo’s great-great-grandma, would be over the moon in love. I know that they are still with us and visiting in their own ways.
See, I told you this would ramble. I am a kind, very sensitive person. I tend to be me at all times. I feel that is important. I am one of those people that has a few very dear friends but am perfectly happy spending time by myself. I love helping people with Sacred Embers, but of course love working on all of my creations to include commission paintings. And from now until forever I will have Enzo on the brain.
If you ever have questions for me, just reach out, I am happy to answer.
When a person experiences the death of a loved one, whether it is a person or a pet, people always seem to have expectations of how they should feel. Often times, those around them also have expectations of how long it should take someone to “get over that death”.
Be kind to yourself. Have NO expectations. You will not “get over” your grief. There is not a right way to grieve. There is not a time frame or time limit. There is not a proper way to grieve. The emotions that you will experience will run the gamut. Different memories may bring sadness, smiles, laughs, tears…………and they can literally come at any time. Even years down the road. Your love has no expiration. You will always love them.
And it’s o.k.
Do not ever allow anyone to make you feel bad for your feelings. No one is allowed to minimize the depth of your grief or how it will manifest itself.
It never gets better, only different.
Sending peace to your heart.
It really doesn’t matter if the person or pet in your life dies and it was an unexpected but expected death, the pain is excruciating and filled with so many feelings.
I remember when my Grandma was dying. It killed my heart every day to see her not able to get out of bed and be the magical little being that she had always been. She was miserable. The one little bit of joy that came to her in the end was the birth of my daughter. Oh the smiles! She was waiting for her birth and she quickly spiraled after she got to spend some visits with her great grandbaby. It was heart wrenching. I wanted her to die. She wanted to die. We talked about it. She was done. I just wanted her to have peace and to be with the love of her life again. Her death was expected….impending. And it finally happened. While I was devastated I also was so happy for her. She had an incredible life (until the last several years, but that is another story), and she got to spend time with her great grandbaby girl. But none of that erases the pain left behind. I want her here to spread her unconditional love that is so hard to find these days. I want her to hold her soon-to-be great, great grandson! Thankfully I know she is still around………..nope, it’s not the same. And to this day, 30 years later, I miss her and still shed tears for her.
When my brother was dying……….I never felt he was dying until the last year of his life. In the end though, it was VERY expected and I wanted him to die. I wanted him to stop hurting and trying to put on this strong game face every fu*k&ng day. Yes, he had an incredible life……….but it was so very short. He was very young. I have never seen someone fight cancer so gracefully, but one can only do that for so long. When he died, I was relieved. I was also pissed that the medical system didn’t catch the cancer sooner, but as David always said, “Carolyn, they’re just doctors, they don’t know what they’re doing………..that’s why they call it “practicing medicine”. He thought that was funny. I’m still experiencing a myriad of feelings about his death. But I am still happy that his suffering did not continue. And again, I know that he is still around. He lives on through Sacred Embers……..afterall, he was the catalyst for me to start Sacred Embers. But I still miss the hell out of him.
I know others that have experienced unexpected death………and expected. The feelings are all very much the same. There is anger, hurt, panic, relief, peace, anxiety, denial, blame, remorse of things said or not said, sadness, even happiness. There is not a right way to grieve or a wrong way. Grief is a GIANT ball of emotions that play pinball within your head and your heart……………daily. At some point it will ease. And some days it will seem so very fresh and raw.
As I always tell my Sacred Embers clients, “It never gets better, only different”.