The Gift of Happiness / by Jeannine Cook

Happiness, with all its definitions, often comes quietly into one's life from a direction least expected. Precious, often fugitive, and always a gift, it spreads through one's life in subtle ways. My - our - most recent gift was a diminuitive black kitten whom we found abandoned when we returned last summer from Europe. Rescued, christened Chutzpah - for obvious reasons - and installed, she soon transformed our life with her jaunty golden-eyed insoucience and ultimate absolute trust. However, we soon discovered that she had been bitten by heart-worm-carrying mosquitoes and was the youngest cat our vets had ever seen to have heart worm... a death sentence deemed to be two years ahead, for there is no treatment for cats.

We decided that her time with us was a gift, that she should live as joyous a life as possible with us - and so it was. Last night, from being a vital, purring, beautiful little cat, within ten minutes, she was dead. Seemingly the heart worms were exacting their toll, not at two years but at ten months.
Now, amid our tears, I begin to measure, as an artist, how the happiness I experienced with her in our home has even filtered into my art. As I sat drawing at the table, she would sit on the next chair, peeping up at me, always happy to have a conversation of purrs and churrs and soft squeaks. Her repose and elegant slumber were a delight to look at when I needed to rest my eyes from the drawing. Her intense interest and curiosity when I was working on matting and framing art helped alleviate the tedium of the tasks. She threaded herself into our life as a golden strand of happiness, incredibly fragile, appallingly brief, but such a gift.
Resquiesce in pace et in amore, Chutzpah. I owe these two drawings of Christmas cactus flowers to you.