While I didn't create anything profound or amazing, I did CREATE, and that was my purpose. I have a friend who starts out each new year with a word that kind of encompasses what she is attempting to achieve for the year. Last year her word was "journey"--and I was thankful to be a part of hers. This year she's working on "balance". I've discovered that my life is much more balanced--I, as a person, am more balanced, when I make time to create. I KNOW that about myself, but I so often let distractions keep me from doing that which makes me healthy and whole.
I made a couple of cards for people who've been on my "To Do" list to thank or otherwise contact. The one I spent the most time on was a sympathy card for my mom. Recently her cat of 9 years died. Anytime someone loses a pet, it's sad. But, what's interesting about this pet's departure is how it affected my mom. See, my mom has always been fairly "arms-length" with animals. It's not that she doesn't like them, it's just that she sees them as outdoor-only creatures. You can feed them, and play with them, but you do NOT let them inside to shed all over the furniture! Her cat, Polo, was no different....initially.
Polo was a stray. I don't remember when or how he came to be mom's pet, but she ended up being the one who fed him. Though she didn't acquiese to allowing him to live inside, he did manage to work himself into a comfy home in the garage--and even some inside time if Mom's mood was right. In the end, it was the freezing Missouri cold that got him. For some unknown reason, he didn't come home one night. Mom said she opened the door and called for him every hour until about 11pm until she finally went to bed, unsettled. The next morning she got up to go to work and when she stepped out the front door, there lay Polo all curled up at the foot of the steps, frozen stiff.
Mom said she cried and cried. She felt horrible because she didn't hear him come home somewhere in what must have been the wee hours of the morning. She thought that if she had, she could have got him into the garage and snuggled him up. I told her it wasn't her fault, she did her best, but that doesn't really take the hurt away. My parents are divorced, but Dad still lives not too far from Mom's house. She called him up bawling, and told him what had happened. He told her not to worry, he'd take care of it, as she couldn't bare to dispose of poor Polo's stiff body. By the time she got home from work that evening, Polo was gone....forever.
Many of us have experienced the loss of a pet or a loved one. The thing that's of significant interest to me is the way this loss affected my mom. I've never known her to cry or mourn the loss of a pet before. I don't know that she ever, in her whole 62 years of living, allowed herself to get as close to an animal as she did to Polo. But, my mom and dad divorced about the same time Polo came into her life. My mom's not one to wallow in self-pity. She is very independent and doesn't "need" much as far as friends or social interaction. She actually likes living alone. But, whether she voices it or not, I know there have been many days where she has sat and cried when life's difficulties have at times been overwhelming. I can imagine her letting Polo inside for a few stolen minutes to sit on her lap and comfort her. He'd been with her through all the hard times she's faced this last decade--especially as she's grieved over divorcing my dad (because she still loves him deeply--she just can't stand him!)
Although it's been hard thinking of the sadness Polo's death has caused, I'm happy for my mom. It may seem strange to say such a thing, but I am. Although it's "normal" to grieve over a lost pet, for my mom, it marks a whole new level of softness. Because her life has been so hard (and believe me, it has), she's had to put on a "survivor" mask, which became so real to her that she learned how to keep all emotion carefully in check. She had no time or energy for "frivolous" emotions like being sad over a dead cat. But now, in the early golden years of her life, she's finally at a point where she has let down her guard enough to love an animal as a friend. Polo has softened her, and I'm thankful for that. She needs to be allowed to feel love, and loss, and not have to distance herself from feeling--from LIVING.
So, like I said, though I may not have created anything spectacular yesterday, spending a few hours creating this card for my mom (and a few others) allowed me the time to think about my mom and how much I love her. Creating not only gives us freedom in expression, it also allows us a much-needed break from life's hectic pace, to ponder. I think that often we become unabalanced because we don't take necessary breaks to sit back and let ouir minds wander. But the times in which we do, are the times when we FEEL what's inside of us taking shape, waiting for the moment it can be artfully expressed.