Saturday, 16 May 2015

Life is a chocolate biscuit

When I was in my twenties, I naively supposed that, once you'd got over a few bumps and knocks, life started to get better and went on that way, blossoming into a soft, perfumed bed of roses by the time you were ready to drift painlessly into the after-world.

Wrong. And how! Which is why I now feel that, rather than landing on a bed of roses in my later years, I have sunk up to my neck in a steaming dung heap! I could cry myself to sleep every night bemoaning the wrong choices I made, the opportunities I turned down, the times I've let people down, the huge amount of money I've wasted through buying clothes to cheer myself up when I've been sad.

Some people can look inside themselves and draw on reserves of strength and courage. Rather than being made of stern, stiff-upper-lip grit, my soul, psyche or whatever is more like a leaky bucket from which the courage seeps as the regret expands. Oh, stuff the similes. I have a sieve for a soul. A sponge for a backbone. A tea-strainer for a spirit. I am not the type from whom burning-building-rescues and Amazon treks are made. When the shit hits the fan, you'll find me cowering behind the sofa, whimpering plaintively, clutching a packet of chocolate digestives, my universal panacea for panic and uncertain futures. I have eaten two today already.

Recently, life has squished me deeper into the smelly stuff. Twice in the last month I have had to ring for an ambulance because Mr Grumpy has suffered TIA's, or mini-strokes. The last occasion was particularly scary because he went blind in one eye, couldn't feel the floor beneath his feet and his left arm went numb. Fortunately, he recovered later in the day, but there is always the worry that a major event is waiting in the wings. (Pass me another chocolate biscuit.)

The other rotten thing that's happened is that poor old Flad is rapidly going downhill. He's thin, weak and has started having 'accidents', so I went out today and staggered back with a bag of cat litter, a litter tray and a scoop. I have suggested shutting Flad in a room by himself at night, so that Charlie, who is a big bully, will leave him alone. We also don't want Charlie to start using the tray. But Mr Grumpy has overruled me and insists Flad should be allowed to carry on sleeping on the sofa "because that's where he likes sleeping." And he won't allow me to close the door in case Flad wants to go out at night. The fact that our poor, doddery old mog is too stiff and weak to use the cat flap hasn't occurred to him.

I give up. I'm too sad to get on with writing my books. I feel in limbo. When we first met Flad, he was a few months old and living wild in the garden, eating the scraps we threw out for the foxes. This was in July 1997, three months after Mr Grumpy and I got together. From being a nervous feral who didn't purr till he was four, he blossomed into a beautiful, gentle, lovely animal who captured my heart. Seeing him decline not only tears me in two, it throws a parallel light on my relationship.

I shall say no more. Another biscuit, please. No - give me the whole damn packet.


Teresa Ashby said...

One thing is sure, Flad has had a long and happy life with you and could not have asked for a better home. But I know exactly the limbo you describe when a beloved companion is old and ill and how it leaves you feeling too sad to function properly as you dread what seems inevitable. I really hope Flad is just feeling a bit "off" and will rally round.

Keep eating the chocolate digestives - you've had a lot to cope with and you need to be kind to yourself. I turn to biscuits in times of stress too.

I hope things get better xx

Neil Lambert said...

Hey Lorna, Teresa said it so well. Not much more to add to that, other than I'm sorry for what you're having to deal with. I remember when Maggie, our labrador my parents had since before I was born, was in that stage of life. It was heartbreaking, watching her decline and then losing her. Time is the greatest and only healer. That said, I still miss her... even now. But I wouldn't change anything. She's always with us. You always remember fondly the happy times you shared with that special soul. And hey, I'm pretty sure we'll all be connected again some day, when it's our turn to pass over the bridge. Hope we can meet up on Skype again soon and have a good chat... something we haven't done for a while. Take care... big hugs!!