Freeing the words by sharing the sorrow
I’m caught in a phase of my life where loss and mourning, accompany me a little too tightly for my liking. Despite writing about my life with our dogs, I am at heart, a private person and not one for public emotional displays. But, there’s a place I recognise when I write, where in sharing sad times, it has a loosening effect on my words and gets my mind moving out of the sadness and me being productive again. So, seeing as I’m in the very last few days of finalising the manuscript for ‘Saving Maya’ to go off to the publisher, and I need to be productive, I’m taking who else but the greatest writer of all time, Shakespeare’s words on board:
Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.
Four days after we lost Susie-Belle in November, I was told that my dad wouldn’t be far behind. At the time, this was a deeply upsetting prognosis, and certainly added to the pain of losing Susie-Belle, it was a highly charged, difficult time. I’ve always been close to my dad, we held markedly different views on many things and he always encouraged an independence of mind which I’m thankful to him for. He’s been in poor health for a few years, so the autumn prognosis shouldn’t have been a shock, but it was.
You see, dad’s always seemed so invincible. He was diagnosed with heart failure over 3 years ago and wasn’t expected to last more than a few months then. He’s always been a stubborn, determined man, obstinate some might say. He lived his life exactly as he chose to. He’s been written off a few times as far as his health goes, and it’s been hard to really believe this wasn’t going to be one of those times. During the past 3 years he has certainly declined, and his world did shrink as he became less and less able bodied, and more and more a frail old man in a failing body that belied the true humorous, good natured man he was, with a strong mind and firm opinions.
But, he finally lost his battle to stave off death last week, passing away peacefully at home, with his youngest son, my kind, kid brother at his side.
It’s a terribly sad time of course, an era ends when we lose a parent and even though dad’s passing has been expected now for a few weeks, it makes it no less mournful a time. But it’s not a shock so we’re not reeling from that as well as coping with grief, as people do when death comes unexpectedly. Sadly, this happened to a friend this past week who’s experienced the most awful bereavement, the unexpected loss of a child. Life can seem so dreadfully cruel to the kindest people at times, those who devote their lives to making the world better as my friend has for years. I cannot imagine the pain of her bereavement, and the courage it takes to recover from it.
My dad never understood my vehement dedication to animal welfare, we were never on the same wavelength with it, but he did understand my wish to do something good in life. Almost his last words to me were to ‘get off and get that book written’ and so I will. And will work through the natural cycle of my life with all the hard and sad challenges which sprinkle it, just in case I ever begin to feel a little complacent. And I’ll celebrate the simple joys that do happen each day, the dogs help me do this in ways no human can, they get out, feel good, and freely share their happiness. Sometimes I wish I was a dog.