Until one has loved an animal, part of the soul remains unawakened

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Until one has loved an animal, part of the soul remains unawakened

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Happy Cat Lady

Happy Cat Lady

Aug 27, 2009

Calico Transfer

I had told Xavier that I would deliver Keli's poster to him. Even though it is a very long drive between here and San Francisco I was determined. But, today he called to tell me that his friend, Ian could bring it up to him. All I had to do was drive to Ian's house and give it to him.

I realized that Xavier and his friends would all be traveling together to Big Rock. He mentioned before that he had rented a truck to transport everything, all their tents, camping gear and supplies to sustain them in the desert for a week. He mentioned that the Playa had a very alkaline soil, that there were dust storms.

All I could think about was, where would Keli's memorial poster fit into the scheme of things? It would be too delicate if tucked up against some picnic chests or folding tables and chairs. What if, in traveling, the load shifted, and Keli's poster were to get all scraped up and smooshed against the wall of a truck? What could I do to protect it? I would be going too far to wrap it in a special box. But, a non-descript plastic or paper bag would allow it to be visually lost among everything else. I know my son is responsible, but in the midst of unpacking and setting up their camp as a group, it is possible the poster might be set aside, forgotten, and just not found when looked for.


Silly of me to worry. Deep inside I know it will all work out perfectly. Just the same I decided to take Bambi's mesh "tent" and turn it into a poster holder. It was perfect. Originally designed to carry laundry, it was a wonderful tent for Bambi to play in. She often played so rough with it that she flattened it. The perfect shape to put the poster in. And now, it will bring attention to it by it's unusual appearance and not misplaced.

I drove to Ian's house. He held the poster for me while I took pictures of it, and then took it into his house as we said good bye.

And so, dear Keli's poster, thus begins your journey. I hope her spirit will watch over you and benefit from her experience of going to meet her boy, Xavier, grown now to a man, who held her body in his arms, and cried when we put her in the ground. I hope that this will help appease some of those demons of depression that demoralize me.

I remember what a remarkable place the Temple was for Xavier last year. I remember how he told me about the way a hushed reverence embraced the place. I remember he told me of all the names tucked into the wall, all the prayers, all the comments made to loved ones lost to death by the many thousands who attended Burning Man. I remember him telling me at the end of the Burning Man experience, the Temple is lit on fire, to burn to the ground. Ashes to Ashes.... Playa dust to dust. And I think... what more perfect way to get rid of those demons but to burn them in the effigy of my most beautiful Keli.

And so today, Keli Memorial begin's her journey up to San Francisco and subsequently, on Saturday, She will arrive at Burning Man. She is ready. I am ready for her to go to be placed in the temple with all those others who are remembered and loved. And then all her pictures, (the creation and representation of her earthly life and spirit life) will be immolated,
will go up into smoke,
high in the star filled sky.
Will the ash of her poster reach the heavens?

Maybe. But she is still here with me. Perhaps it is my terrible grief that will be freed in the fire?

I hope that I can heal from this grief in a healthier way, and I feel like, maybe, this is the beginning.

Aug 26, 2009

Calico Birthday

Today is Keli's birthday. She would have been twenty years old. For the longest time, I had confused her birthday with my daughter's which would have been a few days later, but having found my diary, there it was. Keli was born on the 26 th.

I called Xavier and told him I would be driving Keli's poster up to his house. It wouldn't matter if he were home or not. I would just drop it off. I was too stressed out about asking Kats too ship it, to find a correct way to wrap it according to his, fedex, standards.

Even though I have found working on this fulfilling, I have also had this underlying inexplicable stress. Perhaps my medicine? Perhaps because I totally forgot to go to the animal shelter to attend the training night so I could be a volunteer there? No... more probably all the fires. The Bonny Doon fire... I mean the Lockheed fire. Why did they change the name? even though I do not live close to Bonny Doon, the winds blew the smoke and ash southerly right across the bay. Asthma all messed up. Stress. Then, there was the Gloria fire that burned south of here about 50 miles and the stench from that was worse. My breathing suffers. Locked in the house, air conditioner on. It is stressful even going out to the car. Stressful to go to the grocery store. and discover that the air in the store is polluted, that children are screaming and running up and down the aisle, that parents are shouting at their kids. That three teenage boys are throwing a basketball at each other, that the announcements from the LOUD speaker are particularly LOUD! Stress.

I just want to get home. I want to get back to Keli, to loving her, to remembering her, to knowing how much she mattered to me as a daily presence of love and peace in my life. Now, gone.

Aug 25, 2009

Calico Earth Cat

It took me until quite late last night to complete the Spirit side of the poster. So, I slept in this morning. Awoke feeling very tired. It took me the better part of the day to pull myself together. I was very distracted and kept focusing on many other things instead of my purpose. I kept working on this and getting up and doing other things and forcing myself to go back and sit down. In the meantime the kitten was paying attention to everything I was doing. Bambi wanders around the house making purmeow sounds... a mama cat calling her kitten. Then, Spyder goes to her and she stops.

The pictures I put on this side of the poster represent her earthly personality. The activities of her life. In a few of the pictures, I believe there is also a surreal quality that shows through. On the bottom left she holds a typical Goddess Bastet pose and if you look carefully, you will notice aura of light above her head. In the picture right beside it, again you can see a light above her head. In the upper left is a profile picture with a colored aura. So, even though this is her earthly side, she had a spirit side of her that shown throw. and because of that, I created the picture of her in the center so that a third eye was part of it. She always seemed to have a quiet dignity about her at times. She could be typical kitty cat, and all knowing guru cat, both.

I was hoping to go over the hill and give this to Kats so he could ship it overnight, but he couldn't. He suggested I bring it over the next day, but I have a doctor's appointment. Not possible. So I will just drive up to San Francisco to Xavier's house and deliver it myself. It already means a great deal to me that I do this. I've accomplished something in regards to Keli. I don't know what it is yet, but something.

Aug 23, 2009

Spirit Cat

This was started as a memorial card and quickly grew into a poster. I had a small notebook beside me while I worked and as I aligned the pictures thoughts and memories would come to me and I jotted them down in the notebook.

I was going to paste the notes underneath the pictures, but realized that my thoughts needed to stay with me.

The pictures could go off to Burning Man and be burned in the Playa Temple. It made me think of cremation of the body, which I hadn't had done for Keli. Wish I had, as there is something disturbing knowing she is rotting four feet beneath the soil right now. If there ever is a next time, I will go the extra expense of cremation. If I suddenly won the lottery. I think I would have her dug up and cremated.

This memorial card turned into a poster. I had started a water color painting a few years ago. A painting of a universe of sorts with planets and a nebulous cloud resembling the eyes of the buddha. But, I never finished it. Waiting all these years there it was begging me to be used for Keli. I took her pictures, and cut them all into individual Keli's to be placed on the planets, to float in space. To be the center of the universe with her third eye chakra wide open in wisdom and compassion. To represent that being who occupied the earthly body. To represent Keli's higher spirit that which is beyond this plane of existence. Her intuition, her gifts of healing, her power to influence the mind.

I worked feverishly on this. I felt unwell physically throughout all this, but felt compelled to complete it.

Aug 22, 2009

I spoke with Xavier on the phone tonight. I just wanted to chat for a few minutes while Kats was fixing the front door. Just wanted to catch up a bit, connect before he goes off to Burning Man. He just got back from New Zealand. I haven't seen him since he returned. I guess I'm just being a lonesome mama.

We talked about what's been going on with both of us since he returned. We both have been under an incredible amount of stress, lately. Yesterday, or was it the day before I was looking at BurnCast on Facebook and watched a lovely video someone took of the temple, as people visited it and up through it's burn.

Of course, I cannot go there to Burning Man, because of my health issues. Well, not unless I can retreat to a motor home with air conditioning. Ha! Perhaps someday... In the past I have given Xavier a paper to put on the wall, so that the requests I put on it would go up in smoke to heaven. (Description and reasoning more complex than sentence implies). Previously, it was a list of the chondrosarcoma patients that died up to that point, and a request for an imminent cure for chondrosarcoma.

As I watched the BurnCast, I was reminded that the heavy part of my heart needs release of the pain that binds me. So in the conversation I asked Xavier if he would be down here in Santa Cruz again any time soon.

No, not before Burning man, he said. But, he knew I had a reason for asking. It hadn't occurred to me, but it did to him. All I have to do is mail him whatever it is I want to have hung in the temple to be burned.

Aug 10, 2009

Emptiness Overload

It hurts. I feel real physical pain-- a black hole in my center that once was filled with love. Now it is only filled with emptiness.

Sometimes I have sobbed.

Mostly I can't allow myself to just let go and cry, because of allergies and asthma. I get to where I can't breathe. So, most of the time, this great emptiness, this terrible sadness wells up unexpected. I don't get to release. It is what it is.

I'm in the bookstore and tears come. I have to leave. I'm walking by her favorite chair, I feel my gut churn. I wan't to throw the chair out. I cry. The sadness abates momentarily. It touches every part of my life. I chance upon something, anything, (a chopstick, a twig, water) that triggers a thought of her, no matter how far back in time, and I am in the same pain I had the moment she died, the evening of her death, the day after. The traumatic stress that felt like I'd just seen everything precious to me blown to smitherings.

I washed and put away the food dishes. I couldn't stand to look at them. I couldn't let the other cat eat off them. Much of the time my eyes are dry and barren as my heart. I knew I needed time to grieve and not go out and adopt another cat, but Jeffery grieved and wouldn't eat. I got a cat to keep him company, but also chose that cat, based upon the type of cat I wanted and would find compatible with me, in case Jeffery also died. After all, he is 18 years old, skinny as a rail, has problems keeping his food down. Drinks tons of water, cant remember where the food is, constantly asks to go outdoors then come back in. His meow is one of pain. It's not normal.

I put off taking him to the vet. I know what he is going to tell me. It will cost a ton of money to keep Jeffery alive, or half a ton of money to put him to sleep. In either case the reality is that Jeffery suffers. Am I too selfish by wanting to keep him alive as long as possible? How can I really tell when it is time to let go? I didn't know when it was Keli's time! I was in shock when the vet told me it was too late for her, or pay thousands to treat her, but no guarantee she would survive.