Personal/Art: Uncovering my sad self

Last night I discovered a new dimension to my sadness over Tisha. I thought I was doing really well, tidying the house and answering emails, only crying a little bit. But then I got in bed and missing Tisha just hit me like a brick, cracking my heart in a whole new place. I kept thinking, I’ll never hold him on my lap again, I’ll never get to love him again. Evenings were always our time. In past months we spent them cuddled up together on my reading chair; when we lived in LA, times when Erik traveled for work, Tisha would come keep me company in our bed, his purring a reminder that I wasn’t alone.

After sobbing for a while, I realized what had changed in my emotions. I’ve cried a lot in the past few days, but it was mostly for Tisha, for his pain and sickness and for the end that was coming. After he was gone, I couldn’t cry for him anymore, so I thought the worst was over — until I started feeling sad for myself, for how I would never get to hang out with him again. I always knew my sadness for him would have an end, but sadness for me? That could go on forever. Of course I know it won’t; I know time will ease the sharpness and someday I’ll find another kitty who will be my friend the way Tisha was. (Lyapa, dear girl, is a pet. When she looks into my eyes she wants to be petted. When Tisha looked into them, we talked.) But for now, I just miss him a lot.

A bizarre, slightly creepy thing happened last night, before all this misery and weeping. I was in a calm space between cryings, and I thought to pull out the final project I’d been working on in watercolor class. For our last two sessions, we were to choose our own project, and last Tuesday was the second-to-last class. So I started a self-portrait, because it was two months since I did one. I was excited to try it, but when class ended at one I wasn’t satisfied. The colors were weirdly dark, and though I felt fine, the portrait had a sad expression.

Yesterday I skipped the last day of class, obviously, but when I took the portrait out to look at it again, I was stunned to realize it now perfectly reflected my emotions. Those deep colors, that sorrowful face… I actually went and looked at myself in the mirror, and saw the portrait’s mournful eyes staring back at me. Even more uncannily, the class runs from 10-1, and Tisha died yesterday about 1 o’clock. So I made my grief portrait almost exactly a week before I had cause.

Grieving too early

Grieving too early