I’m not sure if the Mr. realises but the picture I placed on our bathroom wall the other night has a few special meanings, sometimes I share other times I just feel the magic and smile.
The picture I have framed is taken from the Art Therapy Colouring Book, it’s of a cat and I coloured it in bit by bit. These take me months as I stop and start, begin wherever I am, there’s no set time limit and no pressure.
I finished colouring with a sense of pride as I remember when I started out, people told me I’d never finish it. Which seems silly now as it’s a colouring page but that phrase comes up a lot in life too ‘You’ll never do a, b, c…’ I think I’ll be proving people wrong for a long time yet.
Monkey was 15 years (100+ in cat years) and was my very best friend. It sounds stupid that she was but I didn’t have any friends I regularly saw for a long while, so bottom line – she was my bestie.
We kept each other company through the good (I couldn’t say no to her sitting on my lap/desk/pile of clean washing/in the most awkward places) and the bad (any argument in the home, she was the best listener). Though Monkey was a cat who liked to make her furry body into a circle to cosy up to you, she also had the best spirit and blunt attitude.
Her sweet little cat spirit is what made her almost fearless, squeezing into small spaces she wasn’t supposed to like the heating cupboard, sitting on a sofa that was standing portrait while we were moving stuff around, exploring piles and piles of items accumulated over the years with no hesitation or regard that it might all fall on her any minute. Even in her last few days her weak legs allowed her to claw and climb tree branches.
Attitude may sound a bit ridiculous after all I am writing about a cat – cats don’t answer back with attitude the same as humans do but believe me it was there. And thank god because instead of allowing me to curl up on my bed bawling tears after an argument for hours on end, one look at Monkey offered no sympathy. It was more like a look that said ‘Pull yourself together’ or ‘Snap out of it’ so instead of being sad for hours, I was sad for the amount of time to say ‘Monkey, men are so silly’ (she was a girl cat by the way) and then slowly but surely after a bit more chatting I got up and carried on with life.
Each time one of our cats has died in the past, I made a tribute for them. This might sound odd to Westerners but many other cultures do it, sometimes with shrines. Mexico has a whole day dedicated to those who have passed with Day of the dead. I used to paint on wood, colourful backgrounds and wording, this really helped my grieving process.
This time was different. Monkey meant too much. I knew I had to do one but I put it off for months, mainly because I couldn’t get past ‘When I am annoyed I don’t have anyone to talk to, Monkey was always there’. This I knew was selfish, though true also. The other truth was Monkey was my friend and confidant through some really shitty times and things have got a lot better over the years.
Though I was really scared and sad to see my furry friend go, I couldn’t see her suffer in pain as I knew she’d had a long and happy life which was greatly reduced.
As Monkey’s ill health had worsened I realised Monkey’s gift to me was getting not letting me stay at the bottom of a pit I had dug, instead she’d give me that look – get up, stop whining and do some good.
It took a few months after her going for me to ‘get back up’ on my own, I had moments where I found myself by the bed saying ‘Monkey, I’m sad and I have no one to talk to I wish you were here and I don’t know what to do now’.
Sooner or later the answer comes, it always comes. I had started reading Susan Jeffers Feel the fear and do it anyway, in it she describes breathing deeply and saying ‘I’ll handle it!’ So the next time I sat feeling sad and stuck after a ranging argument, I still sat alone but I changed my pattern.
I meditated for a few minutes, my breathing slowing everything down and then said out loud ‘I’ll handle it’. The Mr. came up one time and said ‘Err…what are you doing?’ I smiled and said ‘meditating’ (without a care in the world to if I looked weird or not) then I got up and carried on with life like before.
I hope you like the colouring page as much as I enjoy it, I have more in progress at the moment, though with no emotional essay attached. If you were someone that knew our little Monkey then please understand it’s taken this long to finally get out how I felt/feel. I’ve felt good for a while it’s just taken this long to get it into words!