I was looking through my photo files from a couple of years ago and came across this. Suddenly I felt a massive wave of sadness and loss, along with an actual physical pain in my heart. But there was also – and is still – so much love there that it’s always hard to feel sad for long when I think of Azar. Which is pretty much every day. Still, this photo made me ache with longing to touch him again. My beautiful boy.
When I named Azar I loved the play on words that his name meant “luck” or “happenstance” in Spanish but it also sounded like “azahar”, which means orange blossom.
Azar would have been 18 today. It seemed unimaginable a year ago that we wouldn’t have any more birthdays together. It still feels unbearable that I’ll never see or hold him again.
I like to think of myself as a bit of a romantic, but it kinda irks to have romance thrust upon me one day a year. It was even worse when I was the fat & ugly kid at school that my classmates shunned – that is, when they weren’t busy finding new and painful ways to humiliate me. Not getting any valentines from said classmates was just one of those ways. But fuck ’em, you know? It was really the teachers who were to blame, setting all us misfits up like that. But it still hurt.
I reckon it’s also how a lot of single and lonely people feel on February 14th – set up by the media and commercial hype of what Romance should look and feel like. None of this bothers me anymore because at this point in my life I’ve experienced enough amazingly romantic moments that I don’t feel like I’ve missed out. And since I am now a more-than-somewhat-chubby woman in my mid-50’s living between PET scans I doubt I am anyone’s idea of a catch. But I digress…
This morning I got a call from a hotel telling me that one of their guests was interested in a tapas tour. So I got in touch and, after sending info and doing a bit of organising, I met Tim and Ellen two hours later for a lunchtime tapas tour. And it turned out that they were on their honeymoon! And so there I was, suddenly spending Valentine’s Day with two young people on their honeymoon holiday… and it was great! Because I really am a romantic and it was lovely being with a couple who were clearly in love and happy together. Kinda filled me up.
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Wabi sabi is a Japanese aesthetic that, simply put, finds beauty in imperfection. It was the first thing I thought of when Sledpress sent me this necklace for my birthday, with a note saying “a small and imperfect but warmly offered totem of your angel so you can show how close he is to your heart”. At which point I burst into tears. Because if anyone was ever beautifully imperfect it was Azar, with his broken and bent front leg. It never really held him back, but it was the reason I ended up taking him in, worried that he wouldn’t be able to defend himself out there in the streets.
And so I love this little black cat pendant on its silver chain and will wear my little angel close to my heart from now on. I haven’t said much here about Azar since he died last September. Mostly because I still can’t articulate how I feel. This is the deepest and most heart-wrenching loss I have ever known and yet I can’t properly feel it. I don’t dare let myself go there. At least not yet.
I still visit his grave and find it comforting when I look out of my bedroom window and know he is “resting” below the trees I can see at the end of the street. I dream about him, which is very hard because in my dreams I can pick him up, feel him in my arms, and then wake up to the knowledge that I will never hold him again. I miss him with all my heart every single day. And somehow Sled knew that it would also be a comfort to have this little black and silver “Azar” next to my heart. Thank you, Kate.
Remember Azar having a drink out of his special glass after brekky a couple of months ago? That was before things (literally) blew up with the tumour and it seemed like he’d still be around for a good while. He always took care to make sure he got lots to drink and for the past couple of years he’d had a few different drinking glasses, but this was his last one.
After he died it was so hard to let go of little things and so when it came time to either toss this glass or find a new use for it I decided to fill it up permenantly and leave it on the top shelf in the bathroom where I always used to keep it, waiting for Azar to come and ask for a drink.
Sometimes seeing it makes me sad, other times it makes me smile, but it always makes me remember how much I loved bringing him a drink and telling him what a clever boy he was. Nothing else I was doing would ever be more important and it was always good to stop and have those few precious moments. I think it’s good to be reminded of that.
When Azar died I said in another blog post that I finally understood why people want to believe in Heaven, and I also finally understood the concept of graves. Ever since I made the somewhat rash decision to bury Azar in a square near my house I realised that I actually took comfort in him still being “close to home” and that I can see the trees from my bedroom window and know that he is resting below them. I know it doesn’t make any sense, and I know it’s just his remains there, but I somehow need him to be nearby.
I actually waited almost two weeks before I revisited his grave, in case it had been disturbed, because I didn’t know what I’d do if Azar was no longer there. But I found it just as we’d left it, and since then I’ve wandered by many times and stop to say a few words.
My most beautiful boy.