Monday, September 27, 2010

Martha walking, Martha resting.

Outside the morning light is astonishing, bright. 
This morning I was greeted by a shimmering pool of ginger twisting-turning-hungry-cats as I opened the bedroom door. Four cats. 
Some of the books I have written and illustrated masquerade in the world as children's books, because they have pictures in, because the language is simple, because there are not many words. The Seal Children is a book about separartion. About loss. It has space within the story so that if the reader and the child want to they can find a safe place to talk about things that trouble them. The Snow Leopard also, although I suppose that is more about death, but then death is a separation also. And The Ice Bear has loss, has decisions. Maybe this is not the best way to try and sell a book, but whilst they deal on a level with important issues I hope none of them do it in a maudlin way, preaching but rather give space to find your own understanding.
So yesterday was a day of learning my own lessons. 15 years of sharing days with Martha, from kitten play to walking the wilds and then old lap cat purring by the fire. I dreaded the moment of calling in Kath, but I can only say that I think Kath is the most amazing person, so kind, so gentle and I am so lucky to have her as a friend. She helped to make Martha's passing a beautiful thing, reinforced my decision that it was time to let her go, even offered to help me dig her grave but then gave me space to grieve. She is such a gift of a woman.

Last night I was draped in cats, cuddled by Maurice and Pixie. Elmo was out and about being Elmo, Max sat vigil over Martha. He is now the oldest cat.
Today I have work to do and I am astonished by the beauty that I found yesterday in such a difficult day.


  1. i am so sorry~we had the same thing earlier this year

  2. Your words are so so beautiful Jackie for such special moments of life.
    Thank you for being a such beautiful woman.
    Cuddles to the ginger family.

  3. Aw, Martha, bless her. It seems everything about the love you shared is expressed in your final sentence.

    My sympathy for you.

  4. So sorry Jackie, though it seems she had a life filled with warmth, company and love with all her two legged and four legged clan. And she had you to help her on her journey at the end...

  5. Thank you for your lovely post about your cat, Martha. I recently had to let go and let my beautiful cat, 18, go as well. It helps when you have a kind and wise woman as you did (as did I) to help guide you. May your memories lift your spirits.

  6. Kindness and understanding are gifts not everyone has. I choose my vets with care for precisely this reason, am so so glad you had Kath to give Martha's last moments the gentleness you both deserved.

  7. What astonishes me the most is the power that life gives each of us in its most humble way. Martha will always live in your heart and mind Jackie, just as all those that we hold precious will do. Finnbar and Levi (my two beautiful white knights) and I have lifted prayers to the great goddess Bast to always keep Martha and Kiffer safe for you.

  8. Reading of Martha's passing yesterday, I was prompted to sit for awhile looking at the photos of my cats stored on the PC--[I've only had a digital camera for a few years, but have scanned in older photos.]
    The major places we have lived and events in our lives are marked and remembered by the pets, especially cats, who have shared each home with us. I've had to dig bury-holes in each place--in the hard, thick clay of New England and in the shallow dry sand of Wyoming, grubbing out a space among sage brush roots.
    I have thought sometimes of the strong, delicate bones I have left behind when I moved. The memories go with me to a new home.
    When a cat has spent many years gracing our home with its individuality, choosing favorite spots to perch or sleep, the mind's eye sees them there still.
    Knowing better, I sometimes think that if I turn quickly enough I'll see a warm shadow just slipping out of sight.

  9. I wish I could say the passing of my two had been as peaceful and calm as Martha's. They are such small creatures to leave such a huge hole in our lives when they move on.

  10. I love the photo of Martha walking with the ginger brethren. Happy memories to hold and treasure....

  11. My thoughts are with you, Martha and lovely Kath. It's wonderful that she is now with Arthur, back to the earth which provided them life and joy.

  12. Thank you for sharing these moments with us Jackie. I find beauty in your blog so often I really feel fortunate to share in it and your books and outlook...

    So sorry for your loss of a loved companion.

    Again, thank you for the beauty you share with your readers.

  13. You are a lesson you us all dear jackie, even in times of such sadness you see the beauty, & tell your tales so very perfectly, x

  14. A good friend is worth all the gold in the world. Whether that is Kath or Martha and yet sooner or later Death takes them all and us too.