I actually never planned to write this. Back at the end of June when it all started I couldn’t manage a post in two weeks so wrote a quick and vague ‘Things are sad!‘. Then proceeded to list things that made me happy, so I would focus on the bright side of my life.
I can honestly say the last three months have been some of the hardest I’ve ever lived… Maybe reading this you’ll think it’s all very sad. Maybe you’ll think there are worse things. I think both views are true.
You might be familiar with the little furry face that is Mira’s if you’ve come by a few times. Mira is an 11 years old little grey schnauzer and she is very, very sick. We think of our family as a unit of three, but she is not our surrogate child, nor do we don’t dress her up in clothes or treat her like our baby (except at Christmas – she gets to wear a Santa hat and totally resents it). She is a huge part of our lives: a trusty and utterly valued little companion that brings us bucket loads of joy.
We found a tumour on her spleen at the end of June and it was taken out. The day of her surgery could have been her last one but it wasn’t – at 4PM we heard she was recovering really well and the rest of the day was joyful. For dinner we had salad with walnuts and grilled haloumi (grand miam).
She started chemotherapy and tolerated it really well. But in the last three weeks she hasn’t been doing so good. She’s had seizures, and we’re fairly positive there’s a brain tumour in her little head causing them. Her heart is much larger than it’s supposed to be, and her lungs are getting tired too.
She amazes her vet by how happy and bright she is all things considered. She amazes us. But in all honesty she is near the end of her life and I know it. And it feels so damn unfair – she is such a sweet and loving and clever little creature and I don’t want her out of my life.
And yet the life we have now is incredibly hard: it revolves around 5 different types of medication, monitoring her breathing and adjusting dosages, stroking her head and talking to her when she has seizures and panics, being overall as churpy as possible so she can enjoy our company as usual and some sense of normal. Watching her being slower, older and responding by making sure she is comfortable for as long as possible. And then, I can’t even say it.
I’ve been told how long she’s got to live at most, the three most likely ways she’s going to die and what I have to do to help when it happens (thankfully it involves giving her the same medication and jumping in the car each time so that’s easy to remember). I have timed how long it takes to drive to the vet (10 minutes in good traffic) and have already made peace with losing another 3 license points if I speed a bit on my way there (first strike was a red light…).
It’s in my nature to be optimistic but it’s hard right now not to dwell on the incredibly hard things yet to come. We joke a bit about her being a senior citizen, her sleeping and farting most of the day, and her obsession with going out onto the balcony (she’s scratching on that window every five minutes – and keeps on scratching when it’s open…).
I don’t know how to deal with this, some days are downright awful and others are tolerable. Most of the time they’re a mixture of both.
I love my Mira and that also means I’ll have to let her go. But for now, she’s snoozing next to me. And farting. And that’s strangely comforting…
PS: I wrote this yesterday but didn’t have time to publish it as things went a bit pear-shaped and she spent the night at the animal hospital. So right now, she is snoozing and farting next to a poor unsuspecting nurse, not me.
At the moment I know technically we’re supposed to be in spring. Except I’m pretending we’re in Autumn (because that’s what September is supposed to be in my world view, even after 8 years in Melbourne – stubborn I am). I think I’ve still got a good month and a half of denial ahead of me when I’ll be able to wear toasty stockings and shoes, and rug up in scarves and béret during our daily walks.
And then it’ll be on to summer and I’ll blind people with my paleness like every year, while my siblings go towards dark months and a winter Christmas. And like every year I won’t manage to get into the festive spirit of a hot Christmas day… I need freezing cold with a chance of snow, dark at 5PM, my brother scoffing marrons glacés and the telling of jokes from inside papillotes wrappers – and then it feels like Christmas. Stubborn and grinch-ey am I?
This is the best $2.49 I’ve spent in a while… So today I went a bit nuts and photographed anything and everything around my apartment. And my breakfast, shoes not yet put away, fringe, eye and nose have never looked better. Thank you Jess (monkey saw, monkey totally did).
PS: Mira and her Salvador Dali whiskers are killing me.
My little family has been going through some tough times lately. Whilst I prefer to learn and change through curiosity and (hopefully not always brutal) introspection, at the moment I’m doing it through meditating on loss, hard choices, heart-melting unforgettable and unconditional love (with some sleepless nights thrown in).
I’ve learnt by now I am not a pessimist, and prefer hope over hopelessness. So I am going to put my optimism to good use and will write about things that make me happy. Starting now…
This photo makes me melt: she is my little furry sidekick. We’re together all the time, and when we’re not, she runs to the door and does little pirouettes (which I call ‘tourniquets‘) when I come home. We nap together and she always finds the best place to curl up into (the small of my back, between my feet, along my arm with little head on my shoulder).
She brings me toys and leaves them in a heap at my feet when she wants to play. She will sit opposite me for half an hour straight when she wants food (I’ve never seen such insistence in an animal!).
In other words, I am completely and un-objectively smitten with my dog. And she knows that.
PS: Did I mention her little black nose?
I like them for the following reasons:
- in the first one, you can see my lentil!
- I have an unhealthy obsession with animals’ noses (and feet) so a close-up of an animal’s nose naturally blows my mind and excites me.
- the last one is slightly blurry and even shows the little raspberry I have behind my left ear.
So yes: today is a slow day and I don’t have much of a story to tell, nor do I feel good (crazy irregular heartbeat and palpitations included).
Which is when a large Lightroom catalogue comes in handy :)