When a pot of pills is more than it looks
It’s 8.30am and I’m staring at a small, white plastic pot on the kitchen counter. In it are 120 food supplements. One hundred and twenty days worth. Four months. It’ll be spring by the time the pot is empty. Warmer days will be here, the tulips I planted six weeks ago in large pots by the back door will be flowering. Renae will have been dead four months. The supplements are hers. Were hers.
The postman delivered the pot of pills a few days before we discovered Renae had advanced, untreatable cancer. Our last few days of unknowing.
Renae had an occasional hop and skip thing going on, first noticed when she was 4 or 5 years old. It was almost nothing and I really only started joint supplements because Jasmine had ended her days riddled with arthritis. I wanted Renae to get into old age with as few aches and as little stiffness as possible. Both Jasmine and Susie-Belle had ruptured their cruciate ligaments, so Renae was from the start, always lifted in and out of the car, those knees would not rupture if I could help it.
At eleven years old Renae was physically fit and active. Every day she’d happily run along with her young brother, wrestling and sparring with him. Feinting left and right, perfecting her moves. The arrival of playful Albert Claude in her life when she was eight and half was a tonic we all enjoyed. Renae’s life in England from puppy hood had involved lots of play time with plenty of willing dogs we’d meet on purpose. A drawback of our isolated life in France was a dearth of playful friends. Albert Claude fixed that.
Renae and he loved creating wrestles when we came across neighbours larger, often younger dogs. Always male. She was fearless, confident in her physical capabilities, her self assurance took her right into the thick of everything she wanted to be in. Her solid firm muscles and presumably well nourished joints never showing any signs of wear and tear. Maybe the food supplements would have helped her ease into a sprightly old age.
I’m working on helping Albert Claude keep up with his wrestling, heading more often along to the farms where his friends live. Only, I’m struck down with a bad back and we’re more sofa cuddling than walking. Walks, playtime, life will resume, we’ll find our new groove, soon, soon.
Now each morning as I prepare three breakfasts instead of four, the pot of joint pills stands waiting. A looming reminder of what’s happened. As well as an old age that never did.
I’ve made a decision. Cerise’s joints can do with the extra support.
Life continues. It has to. And it’s a new year, so wishing a good one to all.
Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.Hal Borland