Here is how it goes:
A wave of sorrow tears itself up off the ocean floor, rolls towards the shore, and has picked up so much speed by the time it makes landfall that it smashes everything in its path.
The writer part of my brain says: Oh, for heaven’s sake, don’t start with hyperbole. And a rather strained metaphor, on top of it.
The wounded part of my brain says: I’m trying to say how it is, and I don’t have good words.
The writer brain sniffs, and goes off to look things up in a thesaurus.
The grief crashes come, pretty often, perhaps more often than I remembered. It does feel like being smashed up. I tell myself to let it go through me; it has to be allowed. All the time, my mind is running around like a dog searching for its ball, looking in all the dusty corners and forgotten crannies, desperate for anything, some bit of knowledge, some shard of wisdom, some ancient debris of remembered strength. It wants to know what to do, and it is not sure.
Time, someone shouts, from the back of the echoing hall that is my current frontal cortex. It’s just time. This too will pass. It passed before. It will again.
Bugger that for a game of soldiers, says another of the jostling voices; this is a major design flaw. This empty, flinging pain serves absolutely no evolutionary purpose. If ancient humans had fallen apart every time a dog died, they would never have got out of the caves and invented the internet.
I think: this has no utility. I love utility. I know the drill. It’s a sign you have loved; it means the human heart is working. It is a sort of fitting remembrance, to feel the loss. Blah, blah, blah. But whoever thought up this whole shooting match really did not get the proportions right. You should be able to love someone and let them go. It should not feel as if you are missing a limb. It should not hurt all over your whole body. There’s no good in that.
The dear departed would not like it, should they know. As my dad was singing his final song to the pretty Australian nurse in his last hospital room, he would not have been thinking: oh, good, very soon I’m going to make all my children cry. The Duchess and The Pigeon, had they spoken English and understood the human concept of water coming out of the eyes, would not have lifted their heads in delight and approval. It’s all wrong.
I know comparisons are not much use either, at a time like this. I know she was not just a dog; she was my daily love and my boon companion. She gave oceans of unconditional, touching, generous love, and you can’t say that about everyone. But there is a kind man we all love here, who just lost his wife of thirty years. I see him out and about, in the distant fields, whilst I am with the horses, looking after his own animals. I think: how is he putting one foot in front of another? My griefs have been what I think of as the ordinary griefs; they would not make front page news. A gentleman of eighty breathed his last; two old canines slid away. These are the things that happen to everyone. That kind man has the rupture grief, the rip up your life grief, the loss of someone who should have gone on for another twenty years, if there were any justice in anything. I think: he is carrying on the face of much greater odds. I damn well can too.
It is a major design flaw, and someone should go back to the bloody drawing board.
So here is the bald truth: every atom in my body misses my old girl. The house is hideously empty without her. I had no idea until now how much she filled it; even when she was quietly sleeping, her benign, gentle presence permeated every room. I am really, really sad. My antic brain has no answers; I can’t talk myself out of it. In the order of griefs, this comes somewhere down the list; brave people face things much harder than this. Yet, just now, I am undone.
I shall rally. I remember a day, after my father, when I woke up and found with surprise that the worst had passed. There was a sense of shift; some tectonic plate had moved in the night. I still missed him; even now there are sudden moments when I get the Railway Children tears. But the world had rocked back onto its axis. Humans are amazingly resilient. I just wish we didn’t have to go quite so deep into the dark before the light comes again. Bloody design flaws.
Everything was very still and lovely and light up at Red’s View. It was minus one, but the sun still had warmth in it:
This one makes me think of Robert Frost. ‘The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep.’
The dear equines were very sweet and consoling this morning. Here is Autumn the Filly, with her noble face on:
And the small ball of fur that is Myfanwy the Pony, who seems to have picked up the Minnie the Moocher act from Red:
I did not work the mare this morning. We just hung around together in the field, gazing at the view and thinking our thoughts. She does the very touching thing of standing at my side, without restraint. She has four acres of field to wander off into, but she stays with me. Occasionally, she bends her head round to my chest so I can stroke her white face. At least, I think, I still have somewhere I can put all the animal love. That was one of the great gifts the Pigeon gave – a place for all the love to go. Not all horses like that much affection; they can be cat-like in their independence. By some great stroke of fortune, I ended up with the softest horse in Britain:
This is not her most beautiful face, but it is the one I love the best, all dopey and dozy:
I also love that, as the winter comes and her coat grows thick, she has lost some of her duchessy aspect, and is more like a goofy old bear:
These are not going to stop for a while. The blog is not the blog without the Pigeon pictures. These are some from December and January. The beauty stops my heart:
Thank you again for the amazing goodness and kindness of all your comments. I can’t begin to express how much they touch me.