Saturday, January 14, 2017

Courage and Memories

 Life got in the way of blogging. Holidays got in the way of blogging. Work got in the way of blogging. Art and journaling got me through the holidays and life's curve balls. In August, our beloved fur baby Coco, aka Coconut Jenkins Wyatt, got sick. Had to be rushed to the Animal Medical Center hospital. He was treated (fluid drawn off sac around his heart) and they said to bring him back in three months for a checkup. In about a month we were back. More treatment, seemed okay. Then he had a seizure. Again rushed to AMC. Then he got sick again, this time the fluid was around his lungs. We couldn't touch his tummy, couldn't put a coat on him. Couldn't bathe him. Then he wasn't the same, got sicker every day. Wouldn't eat his favorite foods. The day after Christmas, we took him to AMC. He crossed the rainbow bridge. Somehow that week I managed to get to work and push my way through the loss. Concentrating on work was better than walking around the apartment crying. Every little thing was a trigger for crying and feeling the loss.

Journal memory written on December 30 after meeting a little girl on the 6 train
It was the Friday before New Year's Eve, a little after five, Coco had died just after midnight three days before. I was riding the 6 train home from work. A mother with a baby boy in a carriage (not a folding stroller, so they must have been from out of town) and a little girl about four got on the train and sat next to me. The girl was wiggly and jiggly and even with my headset on and iPhone music cranked up I could hear the mother asking her repeatedly (and patiently) to sit down, to turn around. After a few stops she was still wiggly, so instead of playing a new game of FreeCell, and grooving to my oldies, I went to my photo album and clicked on pictures a four-year old might like: paper dolls with wings, handmade sock monkeys, some of my more whimsical art and craft creations, and the occasional silly Barkpost dog doing silly human things. We didn't say anything to each other, just looked at photos together.

After a while the little girl--who interestingly looked a lot like me at four--pointed to a picture of Coco, so I made it larger for her to see. She bent over and kissed the screen and smiled at me. My heart melted. I felt like she was a little messenger from Heaven telling Coco that he was loved and remembered.

With all that happened in 2016--the changes at work, family health issues, the loss of Coco, the social and political climate in the country--I chose the word "courage" for my 2017 word of the year. I know I will need it and I hope I will find it when needed.

Courage journal page, with Dina Wakley face stamp and Artistcellar Om stencil.