Baby and Teddy Bear

As I go through the fifth decade of my life, being in the middle of it, I could say I’ve had enough losses, big and small, tangible and intangible, personal and of any other kind. This is no surprise: everybody hurts. We all have something to talk about. 

But when I think of the biggest one, or the hardest to go through or the most memorable one, I’m in doubt to point it out. 

In 2009 I took a decision in my personal life that I now sometimes regret in a way. Looking back from today I’d probably would have chosen another road but back then I thought I was right. I feel sometimes that my life would’ve gone in a more natural way to me. But… There’s no sense to regret it now as you can’t rewind your life. So why worry? You can only learn this lesson, analyze it and go on. This is what I’m trying to think. 

Black Cat

Another big story was my cat, Freddy, named after Freddy Mercury. I got him when he was only about two months-old, taken away from his mom too early. It was a present to me – this is how he came into my life. He was obsidian black, as black as anthracite, black nose, too, light-green eyes. 

I was renting an apartment back then in 1999 living alone so I was everything to him, more than a mother. I remember when I was going to work in the mornings, he was crying like a baby trying to keep me home… he was a baby… Freddy was going mad at me because I was still leaving him… sometimes he was waiting for my return and then peeing on my pillow as revenge, looking right into my eyes in the process. I believe those events in his early live reflected on what he has become: Freddy wasn’t a cutie to sleep on your knees. He wasn’t a nice cat. He was sharp and sometimes aggressive. But he was always hanging around me and if I was moving from one room to another, seconds later he was following me. Funny… 

Once he fell down from my apartment’s window, it was the 9th floor. I remember moments when I just went back home and nobody met me: it looked suspicious as he was always waiting for me to return. I was desperately searching for him in my small flat and then I noticed the half-opened window in the kitchen… I went down anticipating to find his body. Then I found him. I think he flew through the trees and managed to take the right position to land. He was very silent: not a sound. I drove him to the vet in the night: he was fine, not a scratch, just shocked. I think he was re-born that day. 

Freddy died on April 5, 2013. The last year of his life he had a major kidney problem so it was everyday injections just to keep him alive. He’d been having ups and down, better days and worse days during this last period… It was a nightmare. He died in my hands. 

Literally the next day after I buried Freddy I had a dream: a bright morning, the room was lit up with sunshine and I was sleeping in my bed. He came up to awaken me. Just like he’s been doing it many many times. I remember the sunlight all around and a very joyful feeling shining through, very realistic. I woke up happy. I still think he was saying good bye to me coming to see me for the last time. 

Our Rusuk Blog writer Sergey

I’m sure I would face massive losses in the years to come. 

But so far it is Freddy. My beautiful cat with a very bad temper.

My great loss….

I was barely seven years old when my parents came home with a brand new 45rpm record – a 1959 chart hit for a chap called Wink Martindale. It totally fascinated me. 

First of all, what a stupid name, how could anyone be called Wink, unless they had some sort of eye impediment? Secondly, having been attending piano lessons for some three years, and already having the ability to read and write musical notation, the opening lament of this record mesmerised me. It was played on a harmonium, and the haunting melody continued throughout. There was no singing, just our Wink telling the story of a soldier who was arrested for playing cards in church. You can hear the original track here.

I decided I wanted to write this melody down on music paper, so I could play it on our piano. So I set it up on the family record player, or gramophone as my parents used to call it, and the tune played. I immediately wrote out each note of the melody onto the music paper as I heard it. In the correct key as well. As soon as each note sounded, my brain instantly worked out the note. 

I thought nothing of this ability at the time, because I assumed everyone could do it! I didn’t even realise I had “Perfect Pitch” until many years later, when somebody told me that, apparently, only one in 10,000 musicians possessed it. 

Later on, I had a lot of fun, like in the music room at school, where I would get my mates to play random notes on one piano, and, from another piano on the other side of the room, instantly replay the very same notes.

This capability saved me a huge amount of man-hours during my musical career, where I could listen to any piece of music and instantly transcribe it, knowing exactly the correct key and notation.

Roger Bara

Until fairly recently, that is. I began to notice that when doing what I’ve always done, and transcribing some music, my ear was telling me the notes, but sadly, a semitone, or sometimes even a tone higher than reality. So, somehow, and I’ve no idea how this has happened, I’ve lost it. I still enjoy pretty good pitch, but it’s no longer perfect. And that’s a big loss to me.


I do enjoy writing these articles. Some are a chance for me to vent about wrongs committed and others just make me smile. This article made me look inside.

See, what I most regret losing isn’t a material item: It’s the innocence of my youth. I have never sought money or material things; I wanted the world to be a better place. I know better now.

Naivety is both a curse and a blessing. I was always an easy mark and a sucker for any line. Trying to find the best in everyone caused me great pain more than once. I miss that.

I can find joy in things others would consider silly: blowing bubbles or humming dramatic music when I pick up a knife. Much of that is gone now, replaced by life grinding my soul to dust.

Don’t get me wrong, I still believe the future is better and there are opportunities ahead. But I know I have lost something that I valued. A very real part of who I am. Maybe I can get that piece back someday.

Photograph of Dean Lewis

Forgive me, I’d rather not write about this anymore.