Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Grief Knitting.

I've got some sad news to share - yesterday, after 17 years living a full and happy life, we put my lovely cat Sunshine to sleep.

I know not everybody will understand what it's like to lose a pet, a member of my family. It's particularly difficult because it wasn't fast. He's been off-colour since around November last year, losing weight dramatically for the last month and finally lost the ability to walk yesterday which led us to make the decision to take him to the vets. She didn't do a full examination but it looks like it was cancer and even she said he'd 'given up the fight'. Yeah, I'm pretty devastated right now.

It's well documented that creating helps you move through grief so after the crying and reminiscing and the dinner we had in his honour (really odd/hard to eat a takeaway without the furball nonchalantly rubbing past your feet, just to remind you he's here and, if it wasn't too much trouble, he'd quite like a chicken ball all to himself), I started a new project. A crochet tunic using the bamboo cotton in dusky blue.

It hasn't gone well. Apparently you can't read patterns through teary eyes and I used the wrong hook, wrong by about four sizes. So that's destined for the frog pond.

I've tried again today, a shop sample of a new brooch kit in a lovely grass green that, had he been a customer, I would have pleaded with him to buy - pefect with his ginger tones. Seems to be going well, I think I've made a mistake but it's not too bad and I'd like to finish something today, just for the sense of achievement and finality.

I know it'll pass - this isn't losing one of my parents - but he was the sweetest cat I've known. Not really a cuddler but very soft and ever-willing to offer up his belly for a rub. I had a horrid thought as he passed that I couldn't think of any good times we'd shared. But that's not true. As I was crocheting I realised that when he was little, he'd bite by nose and his bottom teeth were set just the right width apart to get one in each nostril. Once he'd got in that position, nothing short of a kitty treat would dislodge him. That's a nice memory. Or the fact that he gave kisses - nose to nose. Or the fact that he didn't bother with wool, or indeed projects knitted solely for him, but lay something down on the floor or table and will him not to get a hold of it and yeah - you guessed it - he'd be on there. He really had a thing for my crochet blanket:

Him in his happier, fatter, 'yeah it's my blanket, what you got to say about it?!' days.

He was a scruff bag with a gnarled up face and a manky eye from too much fighting. He was also an idiot cat who would not learn from his mistakes. And, he really didn't care for fibre arts. But he was lovely, soft, cuddly and loving. He'll be missed. 


Love Eleanor.


  1. Oh bless him. X We have four cats at the minute, and have lost two, so know how your feel. Our oldest, Harry is 17 this year and we have had him since 6 weeks old. He's the Granddad of the house and we are dreading losing him. He's lots older than both our children for goodness sake!!! So, so sorry for your loss, sending love. XXXX

  2. ((((hugs)))) for you Eleanor.

    My old girl Maxie is 17, she still lives with my parents who spoil her and pander to her every whim. My mum phoned me on Saturday in a panic, Maxie had collapsed in front of them. Mum massaged her chest gently and she came round. She sure gave everyone a fright!

    I got off the phone and sobbed. We really thought that we were going to lose her. Fortunately for us, it turns out that she'd been stung by something and she was allergic to it.

  3. I'm so sorry for your loss, Eleanor. I'm very sad for you. Sunshine was such a good name for him, the colour of his beautiful coat! I know how difficult it is to lose such a good friend after so long. It'll be a while before you can think of him without tears but eventually you'll smile when thinking of Sunshine and be glad for the love and warmth you shared. Your instinct to stay busy is a good one, I think it helps.

  4. losing a pet is always hard, they are beloved members of the family as much as the humans (who are merely there to serve the cat after all!). Thinking of you and sending hugs. found this link and thought it might help, a lovely idea :) x

  5. oops sorry Eleanor, that last post was from Liese, take care and see you monday. x

  6. Thank you for the comments everyone. The old cliche about cats and knitters must be true. They have a funny place in our hearts despite the fact they're selfish, hauty little things.

    It's got better anyway, as I knew it would but he's definitely being missed.

  7. I have just read this blog this morning, yeah scatty and late as ever ... I was quite moved by it and am sorry to hear about the loss of your cat. I remember when my mother had to put the old family cat Tibbles down. She had moved house and Tibbles just couldn't cope with it. Its a painful choice to make. My mother now has a cat called Gypsy. By the way I am getting on with finishing off the two knitting projects I started. Finished the neck of my yellow 1984 singlet last night. Just have to do the arm holes now. Also completed the first arm of my crocheted shrug. Thanks for all your help, Suzanne x