Rosemary Nissen-Wade: Aussie poet and teacher of metaphysics – a personal view
My bestie nicknamed me SnakyPoet on her blog, and I liked it. (It began as
'the poet of the serpentine Northern Rivers' and became more and more abbreviated.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Levi and Me — Making Our Adjustments

The first week without Freya, Levi moped and I cried a lot.

I kept his routines as close as possible to normal, and gave him lots of attention and affection. This helped me too.

After two weeks he was already noticing the upside of being the only cat. 

Some things changed. She was always the spokesperson — like lionesses in the wild, who do the hunting while their males loll about. 

Levi soon learned he needs to speak up for himself now. He has become much more vocal. In general he is becoming more assertive and self-reliant — just as I did after Andrew died.

He has taken over what used to be Freya's favourite spot in the garden, curled up under some bushes.

And he is now the bedtime cat, who comes and says goodnight to me with cuddles when I retire — even if he doesn’t stay there all night. (But he’s always back by morning.)

By the third week it seemed as if the gap of her absence had closed over seamlessly. I made up reasons for this — it was because she didn’t suffer, it was because the timing was right….  Then I took Levi to the vet for a check-up. 

When I brought him home afterwards, he looked for her. Of course — in the past she would have been here to greet him and be told telepathically (and by smell) all about it. He looked all over before he gave up. It made me start crying again.

The good news is that he himself is doing well. Anaemia and kidney disease stable, no deterioration; lungs good; no indication of any stomach cancer, which they once thought might be causing the anaemia. No reason he shouldn’t be around for a long time yet.

Now that we are only two, he is even more demonstrative. He licks and head-butts me like mad. According to something recently aired on facebook, it means he’s claiming me. ‘Yes,’ I tell him, very Game of Thrones: ‘I am yours and you are mine. My lion.’

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Overflowing Books

In February I showed you a picture of all the books waiting for me to read them, piled up in and on an old TV stand in lieu of a bookshelf. I did eventually get a couple of assemble-them-yourself bookshelves from The Reject Shop. Of course the number of books waiting to be read has grown to fill the space available. Initially the whole top shelf was book-free; now I'm wondering how long it will be before it too will hold nothing but books.

(These are just the excess books, you understand. This little bookshelf is in my bedroom. Some others are in the living room. The great big shelves, as well as a whole lot of medium ones, are out in the garage — which has never been used to house a car.)

Meanwhile the old TV stand has been pressed into service to hold all my journals — plus a couple of items from the soft toy collection. I tell myself that one day I'll get around to transcribing all those journal entries on to the computer, but I secretly doubt I'll live that long. I haven't even started yet.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Farewell to Freya

Her name was Freya, and she left on Friday, Freya's day, to go on to a new life on another plane.

She was diagnosed in May with mammary cancer. In recent weeks her lump softened and shrank, so that the vet thought perhaps it was benign after all. But a few days ago it was suddenly back, and it was large and hard.

She had shown little sign of being ill apart from the tumour, and she was still agile, affectionate, communicative — the most communicative of cats, this one — and had a good appetite. You'd never, at any time, have taken her for the 16 years old which she was. But this week it began to be apparent that she was not entirely comfortable any more, not entirely happy. She slept most of the time, didn't go outside much, and when she did she came back in soon. Her breathing was sometimes audible.

Her ritual was always to wait until I went to bed at night, then arrive on the bed — knowing the exact moment even if she had been outside — and snuggle up for a cuddle, purring. Eventually she would move away and I'd turn over, and we'd go to sleep. The last few days she still did that, but was quicker to move away, and the purr was not so loud. Again, it seemed as if it was hard for her to be comfortable, even under my Reiki hands.

She could have lasted longer, but I didn't want to wait until she was even more uncomfortable. There were just a few days of decline — but I've seen decline before; I know how fast it can be. I knew on Thursday that her time had come, and phoned the vet, but couldn't get in until Friday. By the time of her appointment, I had confirmed my inner knowing via Reiki and Tarot. And when the vet examined her, she confirmed it too. The cancer had spread to Freya's lungs. 

I stayed with her. It was a remarkably quick and peaceful death. I was strong while I had to be, but afterwards collapsed in tears. The vet's nurse gave me a can of Malibu and Cola. I'd never had it before. I bought more on the way home, and tim tams and cashew nuts. Comfort foods. 

My household has shrunk to a very small family now. Just me and my black panther, Freya's brother Levi. As siblings, they loved each other but also had spats. They played together and rested together, and there was sometimes jealousy. Now it's just him and me. He has all my attention at last; but he is already missing his sister. 

'The first two years are the worst,' I was told about widowhood. They were not fun, that's for sure! Freya was my in-house support during that time. There were many supportive friends, but sooner or later I had to come inside and shut the door. Then she was there to help. She grieved for Andrew too, but she also made sure to give me what comfort she could. She was very good at it! (Poor old Levi, always a sensitive soul, was extremely attached to Andrew, and went through terrible grief for many months. I had to look after him, not the other way around.) Now the two year milestone has been reached. The 3rd of September was the second anniversary of Andrew's death. Freya went two days later, on the 5th, her work done.

Freya was my familiar. If I was doing energy work, she would quietly come and add her energy. Sometimes she knew about it ahead of time, and would be waiting ready.  Levi is more my guardian. Although sensitive and clingy, he can be fierce in the face of any threat.

He is clingy now, following me about like the dog I believe him to have been in his last life. And he is subdued; he looks lost. It's a bleak little household we have now, the two of us. Andrew took a lot of warmth and colour when he left. Freya, with her purposeful personality, has taken more.

Levi is a cat who hates change. I'll have to keep everything as close as possible to what he's used to while he adjusts. I'm going to start putting Rescue Remedy in his food for a while; should have thought of it more promptly. Spats they may have had, but she has been his companion all his life. Their telepathic bond was strong. Each would come and tell me if the other needed something.

Perhaps he knew this time was coming soon. He used to sleep elsewhere at night, and come onto the bed first thing in the morning for his cuddle. Just lately he's been spending his nights on the bed with Freya and me. It has become his place too. I'm glad he will keep me company now.

My little girl looked so beautiful when she went to sleep for the last time. As the vet took her away afterwards, the last thing I saw was the white ring around the tip of her tail. She was a faery cat, all tortoiseshell but for that white ring which marked her, I thought, as faery. All her life, right up to and including the last week, she would sometimes race around the house, executing occasional leaps, as if playing chasey with something invisible. I thought she was having fun with her faery friends.

The vet gave me a package with things that might help — a sweet poem, a bit of her fur, a paw print in gold paint, and two small candles. I chose the purple candle to light for her, to accompany the (Pagan) Prayer for the Dead which I say when someone I care about crosses over.  She too is a soul, a beloved soul. I did what I could to help her journey.

I know she is better off where she is than if she had stayed here any longer. I know that Friday was the day she had to go; that it would have been wrong to keep her even a day or two more. 

I told Andrew, on the way to the vet, 'You better be there to meet her!' and I'm sure he would be. 

But I'm doing a lot of crying now.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Party time! Virtual book launch

'People who haven't seen me for a while sometimes ask, 'Are you still writing poetry?' To which the answer is always yes. It's how I've spent my life since the age of seven, through all other events and circumstances.

Occasionally I produce books of it and/or get published in literary journals or anthologies. I mostly play online these days, so the journals and anthologies are as often as not digital only, and now I'm branching out into ebooks of my work. 

First cab off the rank is actually a collaboration with three other women: Helen Patrice of Melbourne, who has been a  close friend for many years, and Delaina Miller of Kansas City, Missouri and Leigh Spencer of Tucson, Arizona, whom we've got to know online. We love each other's writing, so after we all participated in a month-long poem-a-day challenge earlier this year, Delaina suggested we combine the results.

It's been a heck of a project, time-consuming, exciting and challenging, and we've learnt heaps. As you may know, I was once an independent publisher of poetry; some of my books even got international awards. Creating an ebook is whole a different experience, with different requirements. But we did it!

The book is now available on Kindle, iBooks and Google Play. It is also available as a pdf file. It is 155 pages long and only costs $7.77 (USD).

We asked four poets of stature online (one a Kindle poetry best-seller) to write some blurbs for us. We received an embarrassment of riches — not just a few polite sentences but paragraphs of generous praise — and had to do some reluctant cutting. 

Obviously I am saying all this to convince you that you might like it even though it's poetry!  

We're having a virtual launch on facebook this coming weekend, where we'll answer questions, tell outrageous true stories, do a reading via YouTube (not yet available to the general public), run competitions and give away goodies as prizes.

But what if you can't come? Well you can still get the book, in whatever format suits you best, via the link here; look top right. Yes, it's the book called She Too, with purple cover and Venn diagram. (That's the back cover illustrated left.) There are various options to click on to buy it in your preferred format. 

Or you could go direct to Kindle, iBooks or Google Play and do a search — in which case you'll need to use the whole title: She Too: Four voices in (almost) harmony. I think doing it via the link here is easier.

Of course, if you happen to be on facebook but not connected to any of us there, you are still very welcome to join in the fun at the launch party. You can register for the event ahead of time, here.