What’s On My Easel

Work in progress-a beautiful mind, 2
Work in progress-a beautiful mind, 2

My life was recently turned topsy turvy once again. We lost our family pet of just over fifteen years. Devastated, doesn’t even begin to describe how I am feeling. Pets are more than a pet, to me, they are family members. You raise/rear your children and a pet right along side. They are there through so many of your life events. Good, bad, sad, your faithful pet loves you, and always has love to share with you.

Abraham [Abe] was with me through so many of these moments. He helped me survive teen years, college, all of those growing pains families experience. Abe was there. My husband worked nightshift and my teens had anywhere to be but home, and finally, empty nesting. Abe was there. He was the constant, steady, warm presence beside me, quietly comforting and supporting.

Then came a big relocation, and I was packing and purging, settling into a new home without knowing anyone. This part is extremely difficult for a socially awkward artist. And still, Abe was there, my rock. But, time was the enemy, my little friend was aging, and his health was declining slowly and steadily. Some people make unsolicited comments about the difficulty of caring for animals in the senior stage of life, but to me, it was an opportunity to repay some of that which he had given me unselfishly. So, we dealt with arthritis, insulin shots, and mopped up accidents. Until the dreaded time came that we could not make Abe comfortable any longer. He never stopped trying for me, and this made our decision so much more difficult. As with us, the body eventually lets you know it is done.

I am stopped in my tracks at times with the sheer overwhelming hurt I feel. I am lost without my little friend. To try to regain order and make sense of my grief and new chapter, I am moving my painting materials back up to my studio. (I’d moved them down to the kitchen, so that I could be close by Abe, when he could no longer be up there with me). Today I make this transition. It won’t be easy emotionally, but it is time.

Maybe the title of this post, is meant to be a metaphor for (my) life. What is on my easel? What is on my life’s canvas, and is it telling my story? How the troubles, joys, and experiences of my life are becoming the colors, textures and strokes, that are sharing my story?

Peace, Valerie


  1. A beautiful, heartfelt post about Abe. I could feel your pain and you being so sad as you wrote it. You were so good to him.