It is with mixed feelings I announce Wean's retirement.
After years of working alongside me, both in photography and paint, it is time for him to begin his next set of adventures. Those are primarily sleeping, weighing down my lap, and eating.
I'll miss being with him in the office.
We've joked about his declining work ethic. He hasn't been able to jump on my desk in ages. I often lift him into my lap because he isn't steady enough to get there on his own without removing skin from my thighs. He sleeps in. He's late for meetings.
He still shows up, though, and that means a lot to me. It's time for him to enjoy his life in a new way.
This month Wean turned 16. He's also been showing signs of cognitive decline, and it's happening faster than we expected. He lives with confusion and more intense needs for comfort and connection than he's had before (which is significant because his previous needs were already exceptional). We live with the odd vocalizations we refer to as meowling and the uncertainty of knowing when and where we might next discover cat vomit.
Wean is so much more than an office cat. He's the one I talk through my work with when I feel stuck. He assures me that things will always work out, even if it doesn't feel that way. He helps me feel my grief, for our family as well as the families I serve. He is never far away from me.
I could not ask for a better companion and partner in this journey. While I am broken up about doing this without him, I know it's time for him to sleep more and check in with me less.
He has been my assistant for years. It's my turn to serve him.
I'm Shannon, and I love and am loved by four Great Danes, four cats, and one horse (four Danes, one cat, and one horse are no longer walking this earth). Here I'll share stories of my adventures in grief photography for companion animals, my own grief journey, and thoughts on caregiving.