How are you doing? How is everything in your world?
Stepping Over Elephants
I've been stepping over that 'Elephant in the Room' again, for quite some time... I had intended coming back much sooner and sharing where I am in my world, but I guess the pain of saying goodbye to our beautiful Cocker Spaniel, Sapphi was just too hard to face.
However, here I am, showing up as fully as I possibly can.
I had a dream last night that I was walking towards my Grandmother's house and as I opened the gate there was our beautiful dog lying on his side, but with head up, watching the world go by. He looked so well, so healthy, his coat shiny, that contented, calm look in his face and when we looked at each other, reconnecting, I felt filled up to the brim with love and happiness.
I was so happy to see him and went over to stroke him. Then I spotted another Sapphi scratching at my Grandmother's door to be let in. He looked around and saw me and ran over exactly as he would run to greet us at our door. How odd to have two of him there with me in my dream. I haven't fully explored my dream as yet but will however my initial thoughts are that I have 'put' Sapphi with my Grandmother in her old house and he looks wonderful, healthy, shiny and content.
Whilst I have been grieving I came across a really apt quote, sadly I don't have the source but I am grateful to have found it;
"Grief, I've learned is really just love. It's all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is love with no place to go."
That quote really summed up how I felt and what I was experiencing beautifully for me.
and of course it didn't make anything easier...
Coming Home To An Empty House
The first day we came back home to a Sapphi-less house was devastating. No happy wagging tail bring his favourite toy to us, no loving strokes and excited 'hello'... his nose in the bags... 'where have you been? what did you bring back with you? anything I might like?'
In those first few moments I was struck down with immediate vertigo, swimming head, nausea... I had to lie down in bed for a few days until 'all that' passed and then of course I had to come back home at some point again to a Sapphi-less house.
Both my Beloved and I were ill for a few weeks with various things, perhaps our immune systems were low due to grief... perhaps our grief was finding its way out of us through symptoms as we found facing up to the full blown experience of our loss too hard to do? Who knows....? What I do know is that this has been the hardest loss I've ever experienced - ever... human-kind, animal-kind... and maybe that is due to my new levels of self awareness or may that is simply due to how much I loved our Boy.
We have had some unusual conversations such as the day I was in my studio and my Beloved rang me and said... 'Kas, I am thinking of washing the laminate floors in the hall and dining room... how do you feel about this?' Now I have never been one for housework and being houseproud, all of you who visit, who come to painting days knows my home is lived in and not pristine however it is rare for me to be hesitant about an offer of floor cleaning duties... and so the conversation continued... 'erm, I don't know really to be honest, I don't think I'm ready for that yet...'
Odd? Sounds it... and yet when we know the whole story of something, everything makes perfect sense. When the sun shines into the dining room and down the hall, I can see Sapphi's little paw prints from his last walk in the rain. Washing away his paw prints forever is not something I want to do and so you see, the discussion about washing laminate flooring begins to make sense and reveal so much love and loss in washing away his paw prints.
I took photographs of his paw prints... Grief leads us to behave in ways we don't usually I find.
Think Of The Good Times
"Think of the good times Kas," well meaning others have suggested to me... Kindness, I know... But...
The only one thing that keeps springing in to my mind is how I tried to combat the shivering cold for him when we went walks. I had made him some long leg warmers that allowed his little paws to walk around but kept his legs cosy as it was December and he had lost a lot of weight by then.
Peacock Coloured Scarf
I dug out my most favourite velvet scarf which I have loved for years. It has colours of Peacocks Tails in Emerald, Turquoise, Purple and an amazing Pink. I gently wrapped it around his belly under and over his torso and then put his coat on top of it. This stopped the uncontrollable shivering when out walking so he could really enjoy having a wander and a good old sniff of who's been where, the local cats and dogs, the night time fox and occasional galloping Hare we sometimes see around here leading up into the ancient field behind our home.
Remembering...I am now doing my best to remember Sapphi for the hugely loving, incredibly brave, funny, handsome, gentle Soul that he was and imagine him trotting in and out of the low tide on his favourite beach in the East Neuk of Fife on his holidays with us doting parents, eyes full of love as we watch him. He managed to have one final week up there mid November. All so sudden... we did our best to ensure he felt our gentle care and deep love for him and we were all snuggled up together with his Beloved Dad and me at the very end.
Funny old World....
I've just had such a funny, synchronous experience! As I got to the last paragraph above, a little dog, lost... frantic... wagging tail unsure and nervous.... arrived at my garden gate along with my Sister and her partner who had found her dashing around. What a funny old day this is.... the dream of two Sapphi's, and something else I have not mentioned to you, my good friend who is also a wise Therapist offered to explore my painting 'Sapphi's Angel' (which is the header Image) with me today at 1pm - exactly when the Lost dog turned up and I reached that final paragraph above! She had the longest eye lashes and sweetest nature, trotting around inside my home, sniffing Sapphi's favourite sofa seats and following his paw prints around the house whilst having her portrait taken for social media in the hope someone would know where she lived.
It only took 50 minutes to reunite dog with owner thankfully. Seeing the dog owner frantically searching for his lost girl outside my house mirrored my Loss. I guess as I looked in to his face and saw his fear and loss I recognised my own?
Today seems to be a very key day for me perhaps about Acknowledging... or Letting Go somehow? Dreaming about Sapphi being with my Gran - both now passed... they will get along well together... I can rest knowing they are keeping each other company and imagine them wandering along all the country lanes that my Gran walked with me as a child and I walked with Sapphi over the years. Yes, I sense a settling feeling inside my heart and gut, as opposed to the usual turmoil I experience.... for Now.