slide show

Friday, March 18, 2011

In Memoriam

A lot has been happening in my life the past few months. Those of you who follow me on my Personal Facebook page know some of what's been going on. It has been a fall and winter full of changes for me, and unfortunately lots of worry and sorrow thrown into the mix.

The first thing that happened most of you already know about - that I had to move again just as fall began. When I was young I loved moving around. It was always an exciting adventure to live someplace new and have the opportunity for a fresh start. (I'm a big fan of beginnings) Now that I'm older, I'm really very tired of moving. I can't help but see it as ironic that now that I'm finally ready to put down roots, circumstances in my life have been forcing me to keep moving. *sigh* This most recent move was due to the fact that my fiance got custody of his 10 year old daughter, and all her friends and relatives are here in Bucks County. And to be honest, I have always been a Bucks County girl at heart. Any excuse to move closer to the woods and New Hope is always fine with me! :)

Moving, however, is a traumatic event no matter what the circumstances. (Especially for those of us with ocd issues and many boxes of breakable items, lol) I read once that 3 of the most traumatic events a person can through in life is: Death, Divorce and Moving. After having moved several times in the past few years, I have to say I agree. We downsized from a 4 bedroom house (this area is much more expensive than where we were living) and that in itself is hectic trying to find room to store so many items. I still have to wade my way through boxes and bins and over-stuffed closets just to find anything half the time.

Not long after we moved, my kitty of 10 years, Figaro, was hit by a car and killed. I felt awful. I still feel awful. Most of my kitties have always been indoor cats, for many reasons of safety and health. Figaro, however, was a kitty I rescued from the streets of Philadelphia. She was already accustomed to being outside and hunting, and though I had her spayed immediately, she never lost the urge to go out. When I lived in Morrisville for 4 years, we had a big back yard and lived far back from the road. Figaro went out all the time and was super happy there. She brought me home all kinds of prizes from birds to garden snakes to baby mice. I can still remember how proud she would be showing off her mighty huntress skills for mommy. :_) There were times when I was forced to keep her indoors 24/7 due to where we lived, but she was always miserable and cried at the doors and windows often.

Here in Yardley it is very woodsy, and the house affords a little property for a kitty to run and call her own. I hadn't seen her so happy in years. She loved it here. The bad part is that on one side of the house there's a road. I bought her a reflective collar and tag, brought her in every night, and hoped that her street smarts from her days in Phili wouldn't desert her. Sadly, it wasn't enough. There was a thunderstorm and it was pouring rain with bad visibility. I couldn't find her to bring her in before the storm, though I searched and called. We found her after the storm in the road. She had been hit by a car. It was obvious that it had been quick, thank god, but that is scant comfort. I don't think the person that hit her even bothered to stop. :(


During the summer and fall of 2010 my father was having a lot of trouble with his health. This is not uncommon for him, as he had been plagued by health problems for many years. Everything from prostate cancer, to diabetes, to heart attacks and high cholesterol. It was rare that he let anything stop him though, he just kept chugging along. After he had a double bypass operation 2 years ago, he and my mother decided to sell their properties in Philadelphia and move to North Carolina. They bought a cute little house in the foothills of the mountains, about 30 minutes outside of Asheville. I know he loved it and was super happy there. But his health never bounced back as it always had in the past. He became plagued by fluid build up in his limbs and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. In early December his kidneys began to fail and the Dr.'s had no choice but to put him on dialysis twice a week. This was too much of a strain on his heart, and he passed away at 8pm on December 22, 2010. (the night of the Winter Solstice and the Lunar Eclipse)

It took me this long to be able to talk about it enough to post this blog. I am still working through my grief and a lifetime of feelings. I was my father's only child and our relationship was often a complicated one. The first thing people always ask when a relative dies is, "Were you close?" I'm never sure how to answer that question where my father is concerned. There were times when we were close. And then there were also lots of time when we weren't. :/ We never really understood one another, we often butted heads and hurt each others' feelings. (I'm alot like my mother and I think that drove him nuts) Things were for the most part patched up between us for the last several years, and amends were made on both sides. I knew his health was deteriorating, I knew it was coming. Yet it still hit me like a ton of bricks. I am learning that no matter the relationship, the death of a parent is a huge big deal.

In Memory of : Frank Cutillo
Born - Feb 29, 1944   Died - Dec 22, 2010

Yup, that's my parents. :) They were married on Valentine's Day.

and that worried looking little poop-head is me! lol

me and my dad years later . . . . I think this was Thanksgiving.

my father as granpop with my daugher Casey, back when she was just a little rugrat.
(she's 18 now!)

A few months after my father's death, Dr.'s found a tumor in my mother's bladder. It was cancer. Already trying to wrap my head around my father's passing, (and everything else that had been going on) I now had a new crisis to deal with. My daughter, her boyfriend, my cousin and myself made a trip to North Carolina to be there for her while she had the surgery to remove the tumor. I had actually already been planning a trip to see my mom to help her go through and pack up my father's things, and so that I could pick up his ashes.She was very sick afterwards. We are still not sure if it was a reaction to the chemo or some of the medication they gave her. But I am happy to report some good news for a change! Further tests (and a biopsy of the tumor) have revealed that the cancer was in the very early stages, and they got it all. Her prognosis is excellent and she's doing much better now. THANK GOODNESS. My mom and I have always been close. She is the glue that holds my world together. The one I always run to when I'm upset or have a problem that seems insurmountable. My font of motherly wisdom and humor born of a lifetime of experiences and struggle. I would be lost without her.

There have been various other trials and tribulations that went on this winter that I won't go into. Suffice it to say it's been a rough few months, and I'm really looking forward to spring and better days! Sadly however, there was one more death to come. Though my mother was saved, we lost our kitty Jax shortly after. :_( Jax was my fiance's cat. He received Jax as a gift for his 10th birthday and the 2 of them have been best buddies ever since. Their relationship was very special, and it has been super hard for Troy to lose him. Jax was always a healthy and happy cat up until his very last day. He died in our bedroom with Troy holding him. He became sick very suddenly, and by the time the vet arrived it was too late. He had organ failure due to old age and died March 7, 2011 at the age of 21. We still miss him everyday.

Well, I think that pretty much brings everyone up to speed. I'm continuing to work my way through editing that got backed up while all of this stuff has been going on in my life. I love my work, so it actually helps me tremendously to have quiet hours to get lost in photoshop and practice my art for my brides. Though it can be tedious, for the most part I find photo editing to be quite soothing. In the way that my father used to come home and plop down in front of the tv to forget his problems, I escape into my art to forget mine.

So stay tuned! I will have lots and lots of new photos to post in the next few weeks. And a great, big, heartfelt thank you to all my friends, clients, and fans who have been so understanding and supportive during this time. :_)


  1. My love and comfort go to you wholeheartedly, sweetheart. You are such a magnificent being and I know for sure you're one of the angels Bob sent to this world to make us all smile and see beauty in life. I see that whenever I talk to you, physically see you and hear about you. I love you. Be well.


  2. I miss your dad too. I always remembering him call me about computer problems.

  3. Your writing is as eloquent and flawless as your photgraphy. I love you, babygirl! Hang in there <3

  4. I found this quote right before I read your newest blog.. it seemed to fit perfectly <3
    "The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."
    --- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

  5. Hurt and loss are feelings that most have a hard time dealing with, let alone putting into words. Yours are sweet, tender and raw wrapped in a poetry.

    We always hold your heart close and continue to send our love to comfort you.


Blog Archive

Have a Facebook account? Click here to follow my blog!