Not what I expected to write today

What I wanted to write was a short account of my week away.

I always find when I come back from a trip or a holiday, I have a strong sense of anti-climax, like a sudden surge of depression. Last night I was very relieved to be home, and a few hours later we were watching a tv programme we all enjoy when I noticed blood in my dog’s mouth. Now, she’s got cancer of the tongue and her tongue has been in a mess for a while, but the amount of blood that appeared was alarming. She’s been treated for an infection in it, and what I think happened was the pocket of infection emptied, and bled clean. Needless to say she was unconcerned and after we mopped up the mess, it stopped. By the time we went to bed, she was OK. This morning, she was also fine. Her tongue looked ok;  well, as ok as it’s ever likely to be and we headed out for a long walk. As I may have said before, she’ll be fine until she’s not. Last night I had a real fright that suddenly she was not fine. I slept badly. I couldn’t stop shaking for hours.

To all intents and purposes, there was nothing wrong this morning that wasn’t already wrong, but today has been a tough old day. Dog walkers talk. We stop and talk about our dogs; it’s the one thing we have in common and today I talked to several people. Holly’s cancer came up. I was upbeat and cheerful about it, but the second time, after I headed up the beach, I found myself crying.

By the time I got off the beach and into the woods, I was sobbing. Thankfully no one was about so I didn’t have to worry. I was thinking about all the much loved animals we’ve shared our lives with and what sent me almost into hysterics was the sudden memory that it’s actually been ten years this year since Watson, my legendary ginger tom, died. Ten years. It doesn’t feel like it. I miss him still. I miss William, my big black shaggy cat, who slept on my pillow curled round my head, now gone twelve years.

I sat under an old oak and howled for a few minutes. Holly came over and put her head on my knee and we sat there like that for a while until I couldn’t let myself stay any longer.

I’m not afraid of my own death. In some ways it doesn’t matter to me if death truly is the end for me, that there might be nothing after it. What matters right now is that if there is nothing more after death, for humans or for animals, then I’ll never see my friends and family(whether human or animal) ever again. The void they leave when they go is so immense, today I feel the great weight of that void crushing me; my chest hurts as much as if an elephant had sat on it.

Our lives are so brief, our lives are so brief. All that I strive to do and be in this life, what is it all for? What does any of it mean?

Even when I feel this bad, I usually try to turn it around and find and up side to even the worst of days. Today I can’t. I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better tomorrow, but for today, I am right here, hurting quite unexpectedly.

Oh and if anyone mentions anything to do with the Rainbow bridge, I shall probably puke. Sorry.

10 thoughts on “Not what I expected to write today

  1. It is difficult, isn’t it? Sometimes more difficult with pets.

    I know when mom died, and dad was in long-term care, he was more concerned with giving away the dog, and how much he missed it.
    This kind of grief brings up all sorts of grief.
    Dad, certainly, had to deal with his grief over the dog before he could grieve for mom. It was healthy.

    You cry, publicly. You will be a role model for all. It is part of anticipatory grief.
    I am always so happy to return home from a trip. I never sleep well away.

    I wish you all the best.
    many hugs…


    • Thanks Jenn.
      I don’t cry publicly. Said beach was all but deserted; the fishermen were cooped up in their little shelters, and the other dogwalkers had gone.. I hate anyone see me cry.
      I had a long trip with poor sleep. The hotel I was in was lovely but over hot at night and sharing a room with a colleague meant I had little “me” time; not a problem as such but I sleep walk(to slightly hilarious results) and sleep badly and toss and turn. I’d also been doing long and stressful days, clocking up vast mileage in an unfamiliar land.
      I think I am just so very tired…


  2. Our lives are so brief.

    And your words reminded me of two beloved Scottish Terriers, that even now, I shake my head at with sadness.

    Viv, I am so sorry.

    It’s hard to say goodbye — and for me at least — the time leading up to an impending death seems anything but brief.
    The heaviness just seems to slow time down.



    • It does.
      I am a little better, I think this morning, but not much. I’ve also realised that some of it is the withdrawal of adrenaline, but also, nicotine. Everyone smokes in bars and restaurants in Austria and i’ve done a lot of passive smoking, despite best efforts to avoid it, and I think some of the mood is down to that, as well as let-down of emotions.
      I know your situation is so much more acute with your father leaving this world, but leaving some of himself behind to linger, so I feel sad for you now too.
      hey ho.


  3. Hi Viv,
    I’m sorry to hear about Holly. I have problems with letting go and I dread thinking of the day when I have to. My Chocolate Lab just turned 9. You’re right, though, she’ll be fine until she’s not.

    I know you’re tired from your trip and you’ve second-hand smoked more in the past couple of days than you’d care to think about, but your grief is valid even though you’re not feeling your strongest. It’s grief. It sucks.

    Pets do show us how to love, don’t they. By loving and by leaving too. God, I can’ even write that without tearing up. Big hug to you. I’m sorry you’re sad. You’re a good mom.


    • Our animals are too precious to us to like thinking that unless you have parrots or tortoises, they will not outlive us.
      I’ve been having to face what you might call, “arrangements” for after….which is hideous to think about but better to have an idea now than later.
      It’s much easier to think about arrangemnets for my own death and funeral, even a bit of a laugh at times. I must write it all down and have it added to my will.
      The smoke seems to have given me a smoker’s cough too. bummer.
      thanks Meg!


  4. Hi Viv,

    Mercury can understand what you feel. I probably never will. Just turn it all around and see it from my viewpoint (or Holly’s.)

    We wouldn’t have been happy at all had you not adopted us. I would’ve died with a festering foreleg, if Cameo hadn’t picked me up and taken me home. I wouldn’t have been pampered, I wouldn’t have got those treats, I wouldn’t…
    There are so many things that I wouldn’t have found – and Holly wouldn’t have found – had you not traded our happiness for your pain.

    After all, your tears have bought Holly the care and the love that makes her wag her tail with joy. Remember that she’ll have you to take care of her forever. That’s a blessing – to have someone to care for you – forever. I have that blessing. Holly has it. But do you know something – Mercury and Cameo won’t have it. One of them will be left behind – all alone! They’ve traded that pain for the happiness of finding comfort in their togetherness today.

    Dear Viv, wipe those tears and give Holly some nice, soothing belly-rubs.

    Licks n wags to both Holly and you.



    • I have taken all day to think of how to respond to your kind and wise words, Oorvi and I can’t think of anything beyond simply saying thank you. You are quite right. Holly would have had a terrible life without us, probably shorter and certainly much less love.


  5. Viv, for what it’s worth, I don’t think that this is all that there is. Deep down beneath knowing and not knowing there is a connection that draws us back, a centre we left and to which we return. If anything, this is the basis of spiritualism.


    • I’ve often struggled with this issue despite being what has been described often as a natural medium and being able to sense “otherness”.
      It also comes of combining a vivid imagination with a thoroughly scientific rigour for disproving the disprovable and a reluctance to ever accept anything “one and for always”.
      In short, I can be a total mess.
      like now!


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