Making Peace

As I write this September 1, it has been one year to the day since we lost our kitty Lucy. She was very, very sick towards the end and it was an extremely painful process. It haunts me every day, i.e., her suffering. Lucy is buried in our garden with a wreath made of mossy oak twigs adorning her grave. Someday I will make something more permanent, but for now this feels appropriate.

This has been a hard day but I find something has shifted. I made peace with her passing just today, as much as is possible. This morning, FM and I said a prayer for her, made an offering of bird food to the bird friends who visit their feeder just next to Lucy's grave, we lit some incense and hugged one another. Lucy is at peace in this garden and I felt a weight lift from me as if she were letting me know that it's all okay. As all life enters this world it also leaves.

I spent the day in the garden, remembering Lucy when she was full of life in happier days while simultaneously and quietly observing and sensing this shift. These photos are from the day in the garden, Lucy filling my heart with love and peace.

Buddha sits watching the rising sun in the east with Lucy's grave at his back.



This is the first place Lucy would run towards when we would let her out for her walks in the garden. 


Warm flower colors and a tinge of autumn in the air. This palette is quieter, more subdued.


The morning sun lights the border next to Lucy's grave.


I've spent much time sitting here staring out into the garden this past year.


The little things - Rosa moyesii rose hips.


Aster subspciatus, Douglas' aster, our native flower with a visiting honey bee.


The meadow garden in full sun. Lucy especially enjoyed getting lost in this garden bed.


The fire pit, the bed behind with a fresh coat of compost. When the sun warms the stones, it's a perfect place for a kitty to lounge.


Through the labyrinth garden.


At the edge of the labyrinth garden.


Cotinus 'Pink Champagne', also in the border next to Lucy's grave. 


 The border next to Lucy's grave, left side.


The right side. This past year the border has filled in considerably and is one of my favorites. It feels resolved and lush. I'm glad it's right next to Lucy.


Sedum 'Matrona' is coming into bloom and the honeybees couldn't be busier. She really loved watching the insects.


The edge of the labyrinth garden, Oscar the agave in the foreground.


Zauschneria californica 'Bowman's' - a very upright California fuchsia that has grown beautifully this year. This is sited in a very tough spot next to our gate where it receives almost no water. I think this is the first time I've photographed it as well as really taken notice of it.


Honeybee drinking water from a rock in the birdbath.  


The gravel garden.


Cornus 'Midwinter Fire' glows in the evening sun. Those leaves are turning to gold very quickly.


Yesterday Annie wandered down to Lucy's grave (behind her) and sat there for a long time. Animals know. As one stage in life is over, a new one emerges. Annie is quite ready for adventures in the garden, I'm sure with Lucy watching over her.


Her grave today with a bouquet of garden flowers which includes, of course, cat mint, her very favorite.


Sweet Lucy
2005 - 2018

I don't really know why I was able to let go of my pain this day, perhaps it was because I understand it's me that's suffering, not Lucy. Thinking back, I am glad that Lucy had the chance to enjoy the garden and experience nature, for the garden is a healing place. It feels right that her grave is in the heart of the garden because while working there I think of Lucy, and of all those who have passed before me. I think of life and am quite aware that I am alive. How the plant in front of me is alive. I think of connections in the soil, of plants communicating with one another and with the insect world. I hear the song of hundreds of birds and croaking of frogs and I am reminded to be kind to creatures, to one another. We are all one world, after all. I am sad, to be sure, for I miss her company. But I am consciously attempting to let go of the pain, a totally different thing.

We all experience loss. It is painful. But it is in nature that I find peace. As gardeners we can appreciate and are sensitive to the cycles of life. As I said one year ago when she died, if given the choice I would do it all over again and embrace the whole package - the suffering, the loss, the love, in a word, life.

Here's to all of our furry family and friends who make our journey on this planet a very special one, indeed.

Comments

  1. Sending hugs your way.

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  2. Your sweet & sad post reminded me of all of mine who have gone on - Mayling, Topper, Runt Grunt, & Chin Ho Kelly. I loved them all as I know you loved Lucy.

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    1. What great names for your furry family. xoxoxo here's to them all

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  3. Hugs to you and FM. I've had several cats over the years, and I remember how I lost every one of them. Although I loved each one, I did have a special bond with a couple and I still feel their loss, years and years later. We can't forego that special bond because they live so much shorter lives than we do and we want to avoid the pain of losing them. I hope you can let go of more of the pain without losing the joy of having the memories.

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    1. Hugs to you, Alison. You are so right, their lives are shorter and that makes it very hard. xoxox

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  4. Big big hugs my friends. Your tribute to Lucy is beautiful. Your final thoughts about gardening and peace reflect my own sentiments. Your gardens are looking as beautiful as ever. Jen

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    1. Thank you, Jenni. Warm hugs to you, too. We are all kindred spirits, me thinks. xo

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  5. They never really leave us. (((HUG)))

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    1. Hugs to you too, Kris. They never leave us. Ever. xo

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  6. That was beautiful I am glad you have peace and so glad you have a beautiful garden full of delightful and loving memories of Lucy. We live on a busy street and I was never able to let Coal outside, but during his last month (he had cancer and we knew the end was near) we took him outside. I rejoiced with him/for him when he waited patiently and then caught a mouse on his last day with us. Now I am crying for all of us. xoxo

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    1. Oh, Gail, what a wonderful thing that he was able to do that on his last day. I am crying for you too! So wonderful that you were able to do that for Coal. xoxo

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  7. Anniversaries are so hard, I was a weepy mess on Lila's one year mark. I am glad you're healing and have that beautiful Annie in your life.

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    1. Hard hard hard hard. Oh, Loree...so hard.

      Annie is pretty special, Hobbes is too. xoxo

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  8. What a sweet and loving tribute to your dear Lucy, and a thoughtful, healing post for you to write. Our littlest family members are so hard to let go of, even when it is clearly time; it has been just over a month since we had to say goodbye to Pearl, and I find myself more bereft than I ever thought possible over her loss. Warm hugs to you and FM, Tamara.

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    1. The littlest ones are so hard to let go of. I am so sorry for your loss, Jane, I did not realize you had to say goodbye so recently :(

      It's so unexpected - the amount of pain over such loss. Warm BIG hugs to you two, Jane. If you need a hug or an ear, I'm here. xxoxoxo

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  9. What a touching post and I feel the pain in your words. My cat and several of my chickens are buried in my garden. I think of them often as I garden around their grave sites. I try not to think too long as it makes me sad. It's the fun times we all had together in the garden that I want to remember. Sending hugs your way!

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    1. Oh, that's lovely. Yes, I try not to think too long, also. Fun times are the memories to hold on to. Hugs to you too xoxo

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  10. A lovely tribute to your sweet girl. It's hard to lose our feline friends-cats are so misunderstood by folks who have never had one ! Yes they come when called -if they feel like it. Yes they follow you around the garden. Yes they sit on your lap and purr-nothing is more comforting. Life spans make our grief inevitable. But we can always offer a home to a new friend. I miss my departed and beloved kittys, but I love to welcome a new member of the family. I am glad you have peace at last.

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  11. A beautiful eulogy for a beautiful friend.

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