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Spirit’s Grove

2013-09-15 13.59.40

Photo credit to Alison, with thanks.

Spirit isn’t much longer for this world, but this is how I mean to remember her: my cuddly teddy bear who needed only a lap big enough to cuddle in; the tongue with a dog attached; the gentlest giant with the sweetest soul.

I’m going to miss her. :(

It may seem a little ‘creepy’, or at least a little ‘odd’, but my mother has already selected a nice place to lay her to rest, and arranged for a hole to be dug. The family called in a favour or two to access some heavy-duty equipment to make sure she’ll have a proper burial, befitting a much-loved companion. We’re going to plant some birch trees around her and call it Spirit’s Grove.

UPDATE:
The vet, Scott, was as lovely and wonderful as ever. He was the one to put my cat to sleep a few months ago, and is probably the kindest, most compassionate man I know. And, he’s quite fond of Spirit. :)

She is at the end of her race, the finish-line is in sight, but we’re taking our time to cross it. The painkillers she’s on have helped her so much, though they’re a short-term solution and in no way fixing the problem. She’s moving about, walking more easily, even jogging a little, though it’s more forward momentum from her strong front end than actual effort to run.

Much like the situation with Monster a few months ago, I’ve brought Spirit home for a ‘last few weeks’ together, which is all I could ask for right now. I went in this morning prepared to say goodbye, but hoping I could get just a week over Easter for some quality time, and Scott was happy to grant that wish. We have enough painkillers to get us through until the end of the month, and he advised me not to be too stingy with them if I feel she may be uncomfortable. If I need more, call. <3

So, Spirit and I are going to have a special few weeks together, though I don’t know what we’ll do. Nothing too strenuous, for sure. I’ve set up a little nest for her to snuggle into in my office, though she’s outside right now, basking in the sunshine and I’m reluctant to interrupt. I’m going to keep the house snugly-warm and make sure she gets treats with every meal. She’ll be tired of being brushed in a day or two, and I expect I’ll flood the web with pictures as keepsakes.

If possible, we’ll take a walk down in the mornings when her friends are usually playing in the park, so they’ll all get a chance to say goodbye. She does love her adoring people.

Robert

robert_memorium

 

Nine years ago today my half-brother, Robert, died of an accidental overdose. Tragic as it was to lose him so young, and on the cusp of all things good in his life, I selfishly feel a deep sense of regret above and beyond my grief, because I never really knew him… and I missed my opportunity to say something when I had the chance.

His funeral was surreal. I remember so clearly how awkward I felt around that side of my family – people I knew by face and name but didn’t really know at all. I didn’t know how to relate to them in their grief, knowing that I honestly had no right to be there, imposing on them when I hadn’t seen him for years and years.

I remember a pause in the service between people getting up to share a story, and feeling a need to get up there and say something too. He was my brother, and I also had some fond memories of him, even though they were so far removed by too many years. But I balked and stayed back, watching with dawning amazement as I realised there was standing room only, and that people were gathered in a sombre crowd outside. Robert was much loved.

What I wanted to share was my first memory of him, when I was probably only eleven or twelve. I’d just arrived for a visit with my biological father and his new family, and I think this was the first time I’d met my three other brothers – David, Robert, and Richard. And what a trio they were! I’d met Rowena, my step-sister before, and had a childish adoration for her as a much older girl who could dye her hair and dress in clothes I couldn’t. I also had a childish crush on my step-brother, Liam, who was so not interested in the chubby, no-relation infidel to his already crazy-busy household.

David was a clever but devious child, with an impish grin and a penchant for trouble.. but always seemed to get away with it. Richard was quieter and more reflective, but no less cheeky in his own way. Robert, however, made the deepest and most lasting impression, as my first glimpse of the hooligan was him jumping up and down on a lounge chair, with coke-bottle glasses, a face full of freckles, a missing tooth, and hair so orange in the lounge room light I thought he was on fire.

That impression didn’t change much through the years, except that I discovered a deeply considerate and compassionate soul the very last time we met. He was on the verge of manhood and excited about his prospects. He was passionate about his health and fitness and charted a career path in the industry that would surely create for himself a fulfilling life. He was interested in people and listened to people, and engaged with them…

I remember meaning to make contact again when I was more settled in my own life, but I didn’t.

Alas, the next time I heard of him, it was to learn he’d just died.

Please remember to contact the people you love in your life, and remind them you love them.

Smudge Vs GW2

Smudge doesn’t like to be left out of anything.

I’ve never had a cat who pays this much attention to what’s happening on my screen, yet pays no attention to his reflection in a mirror.

This time my phone was within reach so I could capture his cuteness for posterity!

His name is Smudge.

Three weeks after Monster died, Spirit (my dog) alerted me to this little guy in my back yard. He couldn’t have been more than three weeks old.

Spirit probably interrupted his mother while she was relocating her litter, and she wasn’t likely to come back soon. Spirit would have picked him up and brought him to me if she could reach him. Instead, at 2230 on a chilly night, she called me out in my jammies and slippers.

I think this belongs to you!

Smudge is doing great. Against the odds and without his mother he’s thriving and moving in to my broken heart. He’s not my beloved Monster, whom I miss every day, but he sleeps on my pillow and follows me everywhere. I fed him special formula at all hours of the day and night, kept him close and warm, and stopped crying for a while.

He’s just what I needed when I needed it most.

I’ve been meaning to write a farewell post for Monster for almost three months now, but I can’t. I can’t even face his ashes just yet. But there will be a picture-laden ode to my old friend soon.

 

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Yesterday, I helped a man…

Protect Our Elderly
Photo by StockProject1 @ DeviantArt.
I despair of a world where an old man, frail and fragile, flinches at a helping hand.

I was doing my grocery shopping the other day, paused at the end of an aisle to wonder what I’d forgotten, when I saw an old man, likely in his eighties, struggling with his armload of shopping. He was bent down trying to pick up a large box of chocolates, but couldn’t balance what he already carried. I saw him wobble, catch himself against the shelf, take a breath, and try again.. over and over again. I’m not sure how long he’d been trying before I noticed him.

All he carried was a large bottle of milk and a few odds and ends already in a plastic bag, but his strength and balance were failing him. Worse, I saw two people push past – one of them a member of staff – further upsetting his balance and his composure.

Before my eyes I saw him seemingly fold into himself, shrink away in fright, force a smile like it was armour against the entire world.. a world it was clear he would barely hear or see anymore.

I touched him on the shoulder when he didn’t hear me offer help. He flinched, startled and afraid.

I don’t blame him – how can I when I see how the world at large disrespects and disdains the elderly, having apparently forgotten their value to a society wholly disinterested in their past and their history.

It broke my heart, though, that an old man would be afraid of me.

He was suspicious, expecting a dupe, but I left him in charge of my shopping trolley and went to fetch him a basket. He was exactly where I left him when I came back, only seconds later, his gaze fastened to my groceries as he does his duty in protecting them for me, and I made a point to thank him for guarding it as I helped him load his milk into an easy-to-carry basket.

Yes, it felt good helping him, and yes, that should be reason enough to help someone – anyone! – in need if the very fact that you can help isn’t enough (though it bloody-well should be).

He was just a gentle old man who wanted to buy some chocolates for his friend, but even something so simple and easy to me – or you – is a great struggle when your balance is unpredictable, your joints ache, your eye sight and hearing are failing. The world is terrifying for the elderly even before you consider the belligerent youth who’ll sooner bash an old man’s head in and steal his wallet than help him across the road.

It broke my heart that he had a reason to be afraid of me, but I hope his friend enjoys the chocolates.