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Archive for January, 2019

Borrowed joy

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Mum & her fan club

[August 2018] There’s an old saying that we don’t inherit the world from our ancestors, but instead, borrow it from our children. I’ve been wondering lately whether we might sometimes also borrow our happiness from future sorrows.

Forgive me the gloom, but there’s something about living with senior dogs that makes you so horribly aware of mortality – theirs, your own and that of basically everyone you love.

Annie turned 12 last week, Little Bear was 11 in June. Annie is feeling her age; the arthritis that we feared in her hips and the site of her TPLO materialising instead in her front legs. Little Bear’s now numerous lumps and bumps are tracked on a hand-drawn map that lives on the coffee table to save us time at the vets.

When we meet complete strangers when out with the dogs, everyone seems to comment on how Annie’s ‘a good age’ and I have to bite my tongue SO hard. Some have even asked if we’re considering getting a puppy – how subtle is that?

The reality is that anticipatory grief, the grief we feel before the loss of a loved one, is very real and when we choose to share our lives with little souls who don’t live as long as humans, it’s there in the shadow waiting for us from the very day we bring them home.

This ‘ghost of Christmas future’ type feeling has been with me for weeks now and writing this is, I suppose, my attempt at trying to exorcise it.  I’m not sure it’s entirely worked, but in the spirit of Gandalf’s sage advice: ‘All we have to decide is what to do with the time that has been given to us,’  I’m going to go downstairs, hug them stupid and then get the clicker out for some training and playtime.  I may not have them forever, but while they’re here they’ll know they’re loved.

Note: I drafted this on 24 August, but then couldn’t bring myself to post it. It felt too dark and miserable, so I distracted myself with life – re-building my business, a trip home to Wales, nice walks in the woods and trying (without much luck) to think of more cheerful things to blog about.  

A few weeks later, completely out of the blue, came the 4am phone call and the start of a nightmare that would culminate in the loss of my darling Mum – and Grief stepped out of the shadows and made itself well and truly known. 

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