There's no better celebration of any season than the decorated tree adorned with the rich symbolism of nature—my ritual to inform and inspire you in the journey called life.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Luci in the sky

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. —Anatole France

IF THERE WAS ever a reason to relate the unique bond that sometimes humans are lucky enough to be able to share with animals, then there would be no words to describe such a profound and wordless expression of love. Poetry could possibly come close, but true-to-form, the love (and bond) I shared with my Calico cat Luci was indescribable in words, except to say that I've never had a more amazing connection with an animal. She brought such pure love and light into my life, I wonder sometimes if I could have made it through some of the losses and trials I've been through in the past few years without her. Now that she is gone from this plane of existence, I'll have to find my way back to her with all the good memories she left with me.

BARELY ABLE to write the Saint Patrick's post I had already prepared the photos for last week, I was at a loss, but did it to take my mind off of my grief, if only temporarily. It was written last Tuesday on the evening of the day I had to let Luci go "run with the Gods." I titled that post "faith, hope, love and luck." And I had in mind a double meaning when that title was decided, as that was a set of words that could also describe the reasons for the angst I felt in my loss. It was almost impossible to make the decision to have her euthanized because she wasn't letting go of this life very willingly and I wasn't letting go of her because I was able to care for her well in those last days without her being too uncomfortable. But I know she was hanging on for me as much as anything, and that awful decision finally had to be made for her sake. For this week's post, I add the word "light" to that list of words . . . in honor of Luci.

THIS FIRST day of spring was a rainy one here, but last Tuesday, when I had to let her go, it was a beautiful, sunny and warm day that felt more like the first day of spring than today. Being an indoor cat with only minimal time outside during her life, I took her outside that day. She bathed in the sun, breathed in the fresh springlike air and even attempted to nibble a few fresh grass blades. Coming home this evening, after the rain had let up, I looked up into the sky and saw the stars more clearly than usual (with all the ambient light a city like Atlanta creates). Maybe it was only Luci looking back at me and allowing me to see more stars in the sky than I thought possible. There's something about the days of mourning after a great loss that makes one more cognizant of the profound things the universe holds—so easily missed—in our busy lives. I'm paying close attention to that and I'm trying my best to remember that through the tears I've shed after loosing my constant and beautiful companion. She's just with me in a different way now and it will take some adjustment.

LUCI WAS a magical cat if there ever was one. Her name Luci (short for Lucifur) quickly became one that held the meaning "light-bearer" instead of what one would commonly think of as a name for Satan (Lucifer) in English. Lucern ferre in Latin literally means light-bearer—the morning star or dawn appearance of the Planet Venus that heralds daylight. The name Lucifur stuck for the wrong reasons when she was a kitten, as she was so active and mischievous, but was quickly shortened to "Luci." The Gods must have known then that it would have a deeper and more resonant meaning as the years spent with her came and went. Over sixteen years later, growing from a kitten to a beautiful diva, she makes her exit to the stars. I can only hope her becoming part of the collective consciousness of souls creates more of the light and love needed for this existence in larger quantities than ever before.

I DEARLY LOVED Luci. She left a big void and my heart aches in her absence. It will never be the same without her, but I know her light will continue to illuminate the way. I must keep my eyes open to it and become as watchful to the unseen as a cat.

MEMORIAL | (Top) For some reason, the color red became suddenly significant after loosing Luci. I found this stone cat that was carved in Kenya on the day Luci died.This weekend, I picked red camellia flowers and red-berried holly (both evergreens) from a friend's yard to make a memorial arrangement (composed in a milk glass fish bowl vase). A terra cotta bird Jon gave me this Valentine's day sits atop a tiled bone box bought to hold Luci's ashes. A Christmas bell ornament that Lowell gave me this past season with the word "dream" written on it sits next to the red stone cat carving. Jon and Lowell are two very important men in my life that have realized and shared the incredible love bond with Luci that I did. Lowell was there for the formative years of Luci's comfortable life and I thank him for giving his own brand of magical love to Luci. Jon has been with me the whole time through Luci's illness and death (and a while in health) and I thank him for his incredible love, grace and recognition. Luci thanked them both in in her amazing way of bonding with them.

YOUNGER YEARS | (Above, bottom) This black-and-white photo of Luci taken by Lowell about mid-way through her life has always been one of my favorites. The magical beam of light in her eyes is evident.

 memorial photograph and styling by Darryl Moland
photograph of Luci by Lowell Hylden 


  1. Darryl, what a beautifully written tribute to Luci and a celebration of your connection. Let this special feeling always inspire your creativity.

  2. What a beautiful tribute Darryl - you do her proud.

    I am so sorry for your loss,

    With love and kindness, Rita

  3. Darryl,

    Your bond with Luci is so sweet and this so poignant it is touching to the point of tears ;_; How inspiring that you are able to pay tribute to such a wonderful cat and your amazing relationship so beautifully! Thanks for sharing.