Ghost Cats

I’m in the process of moving to Maui at the end of this month, and I’m selling my home and many of my belongings.  It’s been keeping me busy and full of a mix of emotions.  Yes, of course I’m happy and excited to be moving to Maui – paradise as everyone calls it…Now don’t get me wrong, I am beyond grateful, and know that I am truly blessed. I feel grateful for my nearly 9 years in Tucson, and the many gifts I’ve received, the opportunities, the community, friends, and how my work has blossomed and grown. I know it’s time to leave, and am grateful that my time here is complete, and the universe has “assigned” me to such a beautiful new home, one I’ve been waiting for for many years. It is time.

And, it’s hard, this leaving. Part of the process of clearing out means I’ve been going through all the rest of Elizabeth’s things and and giving away much of them: clothes (she had a LOT of them, as anyone who knew her is aware!), jewelry (also a great deal of jewelry she’d bought, been gifted, and made herself), personal belongings, art, and writing, as she was always a journal keeper and saved all her writing, which I’m so grateful for, and ALL of which I keep!

Going through her clothes has been the hardest, as they are possibly more intimate aspects of her even than her writing. Elizabeth had expressed herself through clothing since she could first crawl to the shelves and pick out her outfits! Her many personalities were expressed, and she still had her shredded pink Converse high tops from her punk days, her many pairs of high heels, and then clothes. Clothes to dress her school self, out dancing with friends self, going on a date self, getting chemo self which she also wrote about here…As I was despairing about how to find a home for all her clothes (that didn’t fit either me or her sister), I got an email from Felice, a friend and teacher of Elizabeth’s, who is about the same size, and whom Elizabeth adored.  I asked if she’d be willing to take them, and she said she’d be honored, and would also distribute them to friends who might like some! I felt Elizabeth at work behind the scenes helping me…

Everywhere I go in Tucson I am reminded of time spent with Elizabeth, from the cafes where we often met for coffee and conversation, to the hospital, cancer center, naturopath’s office where she received treatments…it is bittersweet, these memories and this leaving. As I leave behind the places with sad memories, I also leave behind reminders of our time as a family, of our closeness, of her homes, her friends, her jobs.  I know the memories are with me, and Elizabeth is alive in my heart wherever I am, but those tangible reminders will not be part of my daily life – a relief and a loss, at the same time.

So today, while my house was being held open, I went to a movie, a chance to rest that was much needed. The only one playing that appealed was “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, which I’d heard nothing about. I believe Elizabeth was guiding me to see it, and I’ll tell you why.  First, it was wonderful – funny and moving, a movie about transformation and Life, just what I needed. I really felt her presence, and started to cry during a scene towards the end.  An amazing photographer has climbed high in the Himalayas, waiting patiently for an elusive Snow Leopard to appear so he can photograph it. He speaks of how hard they are to see, and that they are called “ghost cats” because of this. I was immediately brought to Elizabeth’s fascination with and love of snow leopards, (all cats, but especially them), and a video that she had had shared with me, that we’d watched together over and over, delighting in the play of snow leopard kittens in a zoo. In an amazing reading someone had done from Elizabeth’s photo, the woman had said that she is “still drinking mint juleps (a line from one of her poems) out of silver goblets and is finally with her snow kitten”.  In the film, the photographer chooses not to capture the moment on film after all that, saying that sometimes he prefers to just take in the moment…beautiful!

I felt that Elizabeth had guided me to this film, as a way of connecting with me. I’d been feeling like she’s been far away, but also feeling like I’ve been SO busy that I haven’t had time to be quiet and notice her.  This was the first time in a while that I was not engaged with others, and she showed up.  Thank you Elizabeth, my ghost cat – here’s the video for you, though I imagine you can now enjoy snow leopards anytime you like!

20 thoughts on “Ghost Cats

  1. I wish you all the best in Hawaii, Lucia; and I look forward to your postings from Paradise. I loved the video, so sweet.

  2. No question Elizabeth guided you there. How else can they get our attention? Things manifest so that we can see them, experience them directly – not like some vision that I-did-or-didn’t see. When you’re in touch with a loved one, it’s kind of ordinary – like, of COURSE he sends me signs, of course we communicate every day. It’s now part of our life, but it’s something that’s harder to share with others. When your kid wins the national poetry contest or is first in her class at graduation, you can say it and everybody cheers. What can I say? Oh, I looked in the sky and saw a hand appear with a diamond and Philip gave it to me to put in my heart! Can you imagine how people’d be looking at me?

    Philip and Elizabeth give meaning to us where we are. That movie might just be a movie to someone else and maybe they did or didn’t like it; it wasn’t about that for you. It was you and Elizabeth communicating, so what different, richer experience you had than anyone there.

    How exciting to move. I hope it all goes well. I’d like to move to Seattle. I’d like to move where it rains. I suppose I should take a trip there, first, eh?

    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

    • Denise,

      yes, I’m so glad you got this – of course you would! After writing it I felt like I couldn’t really communicate that moment during the movie when I knew that Elizabeth was there with me, and that she had guided me there to see it… It was one of those moments where everything falls away, and my heart opens with tears in my eyes…I know you know that feeling.

      I hope you get to be wherever you want to be! If Seattle calls you, I’m sure you’ll go visit and see if it feels right…you’ll know, and Philip will guide and support you.
      Good to hear from you, always!

      much love,
      Lucia

  3. What a good way to look at it.. I too found that part in that movie eye opening…I’m glad you felt that connection, and I hope you are enjoying your new home in the tropics;)

    • Thanks Tia! It already seems so long ago I had to reread my post to remember the movie! I am enjoying my new home, thank you, and taking time to settle in and connect here.

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