It is the Winter school holidays in these parts. My family spent a lovely and well-needed family holiday in Hawaii a couple of weeks ago. But I returned with some bad news and an extra bad cold, so it will take a little time to recover.
Update: The Character Archetypes series will have a little rest for a couple of weeks while I catch up and get back into the stream of writing.
But really, this is just a note and ode to my lost writing companion, Rocky.
This was Rocky, a half burmese black cat, who shared her life with me for 16 years. She has made appearances on this blog, usually sighted sitting on my desk, up against the hard drive warmth of my laptop. I constantly had to move her away as she overheated the battery, and threatened to get her fur in my cup of coffee.
Rocky was gifted to me by my future husband in June 2000, in New Zealand. She was both a birthday and an engagement gift. As a kitten and later on as a cat she was a terror, and the most evilest hunter of them all. While we went off to get married in Hawaii that year, Rocky terrorised our house sitter. She was always the Queen of any household she lived in.
Rocky was born three days after the death of my mother and later on would share that birth date with another cat we had. We always celebrated her birthday with a can of tuna for her. In 2001 when we left New Zealand to live in the U.K. Rocky eventually took her place with us. Before her 12,000 mile trip, she underwent several months in a boarding kennel and then quarantine. Despite this six month absence, when we picked her up at the airport in London to show her to her new U.K. home, she still recognised me.
Rocky was the cat who first welcomed (a little harshly) our newborn daughter, and many other pets to the household. Twelve years later we moved from the U.K. back down under to Sydney, bringing Rocky and several other pets with us. This makes Rocky one of the most well-travelled (and expensive) animals I know of.
Rocky was one of those one-person animals. She deigned to put up with other humans, but I was her favourite. And she spent most of her days very close to me. Over the last few months she became sick with thyroid disease, and she clung to me through treatments. I couldn’t go anywhere in the house without her. At one point I had to spoon-feed her little bits of yoghurt just to get her eating anything, but managed to get her back to health before finally deciding it was okay to take our family holiday to Hawaii. To my regret, as Rocky decided it was her time to go, and couldn’t make it until I got back home, we received a call from our housesitter on our last holiday day out in Oahu, telling us that Rocky had passed away over the night, dying peacefully while she slept.
Now we have buried my writing companion, in a patch of ground she used to sunbathe in, with a mound of rocks on top for her namesake. Not that I will ever need reminding. The picture above was taken only a few weeks ago, after some of her treatment. She was feeling sick at the time but appreciated being lifted out to find a sunny spot in the garden.
This year I had several inklings that it may be Rocky’s final golden months with me. I try not to regret decisions, but wish that I could have been there for her last hours. I will miss her immensely and remember her always as the cat who helped (and sometimes hindered) my writing from the very beginnings of my writing career.
Rocky’s place can never be taken up by another pet, but because we had one cat left who appeared to be missing Rocky, we rescued a cat from the pound last week. Bandit, a wacky and confident young boy is making another place for himself here in my home, but Rocky will always be present in spirit on my desk as long as I write. Maybe one day you’ll find a book out there, dedicated to Rocky, my writing companion.