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recollections of an artist

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It took me a long time to realize that I don’t have to go it alone.  There was a time when I was convinced that asking or needing help was unsafe.  It meant I “didn’t know” and that someone else did.  What did I need to do to earn the help?  What if I needed more than someone could offer?  It all seemed so uncertain, so vulnerable and so trusting.

Today I had coffee with a friend that has been there for me over the years and who I think would also say that I have been there for her.  She is someone who has helped teach me that I can show the darkest parts of my life and be held.

During our meet up, she paused the conversation and motioned toward her bag, saying she had something for me.  Out of her bag she pulled a key on a bracelet.  She called it a “giving key” that was once given to her during a time when she needed strength. The word strength in inscribed on the key as a reminder.

Giving Key

She explained that I take the key, wear it and hold onto it until I feel that someone else needs it and then I give it away.  And right now, strength is just what the doctor ordered for me.

As the Beatles originally put it, I get by with a little help from my friends.  This week’s song of the week, a remake of the classic, is a reminder of the strength in love.

To my friend, thank you for helping me get by.

Sometimes it takes losing a loved one to realize how much they mean to us.  We don’t always get the opportunity to say those important things.  Or make those last few moments count.  That’s the thing about loss.  Everybody faces it at different times in their lives, but it’s presented differently to all of us.  And none of us have the perfect answer on how to deal with it.

On Thursday I got a call from my energy healer.  Her soft tone instantly alerted me to the notion that something was wrong.  I listened on the phone to her describe the horrible sickness that was slowly taking her cat, Sam, from this world.  The cancer had grasped hold of his lungs and he would need to be put to sleep.  As I prepared myself to be supportive, I discovered that she was calling to offer me a chance to say goodbye to Sam before he began his next chapter.  Having thus far lived a life of sudden abandonment and loss, my heart melted because I saw that her call meant she knew Sam mattered to me.  This was a promise she made to me in the very beginning – never leaving without closure – and here she was, even in her own grief, keeping that promise.

Sam was a cat that could only be described as an evolved being.  Humble, loving and calming, he frequented my hour and a half sessions since I began working with my energy healer. He subtly and silently worked through attraction rather than promotion.  Whether he was sitting on my feet or warming up my seat prior to my arrival, I knew Sam was working his own healing energy into the room for me to absorb and learn from.  And now, I was being given the opportunity to express how much I cared about him and more importantly, how much I was going to miss him.

Those two final hours spent with him seemed like forever and nothing all at the same time.  I took photos of him in his most casual poses and sat around in his various favorite spots , just in case he felt like he was up for receiving more love and gratitude.  He humored my artistic process by allowing us to dip his paw into ink and then willingly walk across a piece of my finest hand made paper to create his own unique print.  I discovered I didn’t have to know what my grieving process was.  Sam had used our final visit for one final life lesson.  Simply being present in his life was the greatest way to show him that his presence mattered to me in my life.

A soft kiss on the crown of his head told him how much I loved him.  On Saturday, at approximately 1:45 PM, Sam’s body was put to rest.  But his soul and memory I believe will be around for a long time.  This week’s Song of the Week is for you Sam.  For this week, “Cat Power” sings for you.