On Friday afternoon last week our cat Jazz had yet another crisis and I made the sad, but mercy filled decision to have him euthanased. He was 15.5 years old and had been suffering increasingly from arthritis and associated health problems.
Lucy, the vet at our friendly and very caring vet clinic had tried everything to assist him maintain a reasonable quality of life as an indoor, pampered cat but sadly since Easter her efforts and our diligent care was becoming increasingly less effective.
I have returned to the many, many photos we have and they offer a wonderful record of this sociable, outgoing, vigorous, adventurous, friendly, funny cat who survived many escapades, gave us worrying times but who adored us and was a constant source of fun, laughter and love.
Jazz outlived his brother PG by just over two years. We got the kittens in 1999 and they grew to be adults who very happily co-existed.
The following photos tell something of why Jazz is so sorely missed now.
Maori (New Zealand’s indigenous peoples) have a concept Turangawaewae.
Tūrangawaewae is one of the most well-known and powerful Māori concepts. Literally tūranga (standing place), waewae (feet), it is often translated as ‘a place to stand’. Tūrangawaewae are places where we feel especially empowered and connected. They are our foundation, our place in the world, our home.
Since the death of both my parents and now more recently the death of my brother, the place of my first months of life has increasingly become my Turangawaewae.
On a recent visit to Greytown, Wairarapa I went down River Road that leads from the house I lived in to the banks of the Waiohine River.
The river was grey-blue and running reasonably fast due to rain falling in the nearby mountains.
The trees on the banks were in autumn colours but the white light and heavy cloud dimmed those on this visit.
My mountain was somewhere amidst these mists.
The rain was falling steadily but it was a time to pause and reflect, to absorb the feelings of connection, and foundation.
A place to draw strength from this land beneath my feet and then continue along my life’s road.
On 12th April 2014 my brother, four years my junior, died suddenly and unexpectedly.
This very apt piece was read out at his funeral:
Not, how did he die, but how did he live?
Not, what did he gain, but what did he give?
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.
Not what was his church, nor what was his creed?
But had he befriended those really in need?
Was he ever ready, with a word of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
Not what did the sketch in the newspaper say,
But how many were sorry when he passed away?
This last rose of autumn, decaying on its stem was in the garden at the Funeral Home. It symbolises a lot for me.