Do we always have to search for the upbeat?
Is it ok sometimes to write about how bloodly unfair life is and how painful and how it is a struggle just to get through the next moment?
I’ve been doing a lot of reading about cancer and dogs. There is a lot of information to plough through and it is good to get informed. I am now almost an expert.
I know about the survival rates with and without chemotherapy for the different cancers but especially lymphoma which is what Bonnie has. I know that without chemotherapy the average dog dies in 4-6 weeks. I know all the commonly used supplements and what is the best cancer diet.
In the process of reading this information you also find hundreds of stories about people and their dogs. Dogs are getting cancer in their thousands. Perhaps it is millions. People are making decisions, trying their best, agonising over side effects and when to call a halt and let their dogs go. There is a mountain of pain there. And a mountain of love. It is interesting that we know so much about cruelty and abandonment of dogs but what is invisible until you start searching is the incredible love.
I have cried and sobbed my way through so many blogs and emails and yahoo group stories about dogs and their owners dealing with cancer and dealing with death.
And in a funny way it helps me to feel these other peoples pain. I don’t need them to find the positive or end their stories with what they have learned from the experience. It is just something horrible that happens and we try to deal with it and if we can reach out to others in the same place then it sort of eases the pain.
Sort of. In the end there is one day after another and I have been really struggling to find my way through. I feel I am being squashed beneath a gigantic roller. It wants to squeeze out my stuffing.
I want to accept and be strong and keep cheerful and stay calm. For Bonnie. For everyone around me. For myself for Gods sake.
I keep asking ‘How do people deal with awful things?’ Human beings have had plenty of practice. Illness, cruelty, war, torture, loss. What are the ways and means of putting one foot after another? You never know which experience will push you to your edge. I’ve been through bad times before of course but there is something about this experience that is threatening to flatten me. Being in this ‘other’ country, not having my friends call round to the house to chat or give me a hug, Bonnie having a death sentence but being at the same time weirdly healthy, wondering if I somehow caused the cancer, wanting to get out into nature but not wanting to be alone there, still having this bloody ankle problem which makes walking so difficult. Oh you know what I mean! I am not trying to say this is the worst life can throw at a person but for some reason it has exactly the ingredients that give me meltdown.
Anyway, having said I don’t need to end on a positive note I just want to say that today I did catch a glimpse of something that helps. We walked back from town through the park. Bonnie had her first attack of diarrhoea which I instantly decided was ‘The Beginning of the End’. We found a bench and sat in the sunshine and I tried to breathe slowly and calm my racing thoughts. Bonnie jumped up beside me and as I watched her, trying to memorise her every curve and the exact colour of her hair, wanting to stretch time so it would never move on, she was just watching the birds
Her nose was in constant movement. She was receiving smells at the rate of a hundred a second. She was not the slightest bit concerned about her health. She wasn’t worried or sad. She just watched the people, the children playing football, the pigeons and sometimes turned and looked at me.
I tried to tune in to her. To tune out of me. I felt myself almost falling into the present moment. Each time I managed to just be there with her, there was at last a sense of peace, of something eternal. Then my mind would try to analyse and it would be gone.
Over and over I let myself fall into the moment.
Just Bonnie and Me.
Sitting in the sunshine.