The holiday season so far has been crazy. So many projects all of the sudden and I ended up having to left some of them go. But here are the ones I actually got to:
Relieved to finally be at my parents' house without much more to do but wrap gifts!
A lovely vegetarian Thanksgiving with the Misura family in my cousin's new home. Last time I was down in Florida for Thanksgiving was when the Misura grandparents were still alive. It was nice to gather together and reminisce about those who are no longer with us. And eat excellent pie
Some friends and family members may have heard that we had to say goodbye to Archie the guinea pig this week. Her surgery revealed an inoperable malignant tumor and we hoped to support her recovery while entering palliative care. But as the sedation wore off, it was clear that she was not herself, and prolonging her life just to avoid having to say goodbye was not the answer. We gathered together with Archie and Ivy on Wednesday night to hold her one last time as she slipped away.
It's been a rough few days in our home, where our routine no longer includes our little pumpkin companion. We remember when we accidentally get food for two instead of one, when we watch TV and we only have one furry friend for two laps, when Ivy does something sassy and I call her Archie, when Ivy returns to their house and looks for Archie out of habit, and when the morning is quiet and her little squeaks for breakfast are absent. She was part of our life and our family for four years, and although we knew she was sick, it's still hard to prepare.
As the days pass, I don't want to get used to her absence, because it means I accept it and I am moving on, but I feel myself adjusting anyway. I know that time slowly fills the negative space with the good memories.
While going through pictures, I tried to choose just 10 that really captured her warmth and personality, and our deep friendship. But the more I looked the more I appreciated the volume of small moments we captured with her, which together tell the story of our time together. So instead I assembled 10 collages.
We miss Archie so much. She was my emotional support when I lost my grandparents, while I prepared myself to move on after a five-year relationship, and as I dealt with stress and anxiety. She licked the tears from my face as I cradled her and worried about her surgery. She made us laugh and she was so smart. We each had our own language with her and she made us feel safe, even when the world didn't feel safe around us. She was a small, humble creature and some may not understand her impact on us, but she was our friend, our family, and our joy. We will try to hold that, even now that she's gone. We love you, Arch McGarch
This is my parents' cat, Link. Six years ago, he followed my brother Andy and his wife home one day and they adopted him. Shortly after, Andy needed to move to a different apartment that did not allow pets; my parents "temporarily" took him in, and since then Andy and his wife have bought a house and adopted two dogs without demanding Link return to them. This is because it was pretty clear that Link found his forever home with my mom and dad, who now have an empty nest and are both retired, but love to dote on Link. That said, Link was named after legendary Nintendo character - a complement to my aunt's cat [Princess] Zelda - so my parents regularly adjust this name to the more affectionate "Mr. Binky".
My dad likes to think that Mr. Binky is our deceased basset hound Dewey reincarnated. Dewey died in June 2011. Binky was found in June 2012. When asked his rough birth date, the vet estimated June 2011. He also sometimes races us down the stairs the same way Dewey did (albeit a bit more gracefully).
Binky likes many things. The auto-feeder that dispenses his meals at specific times (he doesn't know that this was incorporated due to weight gain), the indoor water fountain, the birds in my parents' [multiple] cuckoo clocks, the cushy back of the couch, and the view from the window while my mom fills the bird feeder in the backyard.
Binky does not like the cat that my parents' feed once or twice a day with Binky's personal stock of canned wet food. They call him "neighbor kitty" even though a good neighbor kitty would not taunt an indoor kitty like Binky with his outdoor access.
Here is Mr. Binky/Link waiting for me to turn the faucet on in the bathroom so he can paw at the drain and get his head all wet.
It's going to be a very busy summer. I'll be back home visiting family for various reasons (mom's birthday, Father's Day, my dad's retirement), my brother and sister-in-law are having their first baby next month so I'm hoping to go down and help them out around the time the baby is due, and we have four weddings between the end of June and Labor Day, plus some functions related to those. One of the weddings is for my cousin Katie and her fiancé Lukas, who is from Austria. They will be getting married on the outskirts of Vienna so I'm pretty stoked for that and to then have a full week in Europe!
This week I went home for a dinner in honor of my dad, who is retiring from his post as Library Director in my home town. He had me take a photo of him to use for press stuff. The next day, we went to Nanticoke Gardens, a local flower nursery, and picked up some pansies and hanging geraniums for the deck. Mom also sent me home with this cool fiberoptic grass plant that seems pretty pleased with itself.
Hannah Dunscombe is a painter and portrait artist based out of Mansfield, MA.