I haven’t written for a while because I have been dealing with loss. Due to that I have felt pretty funky. I have been living with two types of loss and although I know they are mild compared what many other families live with, it has anyway been very hard.
One loss was leaving my older daughters in Sweden and flying back to Australia. The other loss is our dog, Hugo my furry friend, who died while I was away.
After a sweet three weeks of hanging out with our two older daughters who live in Sweden I came home to Australia with so much gratitude for a fantastic time. But I also had an ache in my heart. Every day I had seen them, had coffee with them, hugged them, taken trains, walked around the city, and hung out at older daughters flat or my mother in laws home. Thankfully, all the things we do when apart (which I wrote about in my last blog post) paid off big time as we did not have to waste a lot of time reconnecting. But being close up for three weeks was indescribably good. So leaving them again and flying 22 hours away was hard hard hard.
Then the moment I stepped through our front door back in Australia I was struck by the empty space left by our dog. Metaphorical and literal. While I was away my husband had to take our dear old dog to the vet and we discovered he was seriously ill. Over some days we all talked and made a group decision – over the phone – to let the vet release him from life. Unfortunately I realised that when I had left for the airport on the 30th of December I had actually forgotten to say goodbye to him. I had just rushed out the door with all the suitcases and forgot. Not having said goodbye felt terrible. He had been my very loyal and ever loving furry companion, my little shadow. I would never get to say goodbye. Ever. Yesterday I put flowers on the grave which is under a tree at the back of our block. I was just about to let out all my grief and weep when the man on the nextdoor block appeared near the fence and called out ‘hi’. So I held it in.
When you spend time with your young adult kids it’s like hanging out with close friends. If you’re fortunate, the conflicts of the teenage years have passed. But if they live really far away, spending time with them is not just great but precious. So, as much as I love my husband and other two daughters, coming home was hard. While I was in Sweden one daughter took me for walks to art galleries in Stockholm, she lives in the city and knows it by heart. Our second daughter lives at my mother in laws and we got to have breakfasts together. She made me smoothies and special desserts too. There were sweet moments with both of them. When they were younger and we had all four at home life was crazy busy. Now we are in a different season with the older two. It’s lovely to hang out, chat, shop, cook etc. oh boy… I MISS THEM 😑
So leaving them, and coming home to the loss of our dog was hard.
The first thing I noticed in Hugos absence is that there is no black furry face on the other side of the glass patio door, waiting to come in. Now it is a blank sheet of glass. Empty. And every day I keep finding things that belonged to Hugo our dog. There is quite a void left by him. I think the place of your pet gets bigger when your kids get older, less huggy, or move out. As a mum it can often be only you and the dog at home! Ever since I was a kid, if our dog died, we got another one after a while. As a family we have always had a dog. But this time is different as we have kids far away and need to travel more, so the family decision has been to not get another dog.
I do find myself spending a lot of time thinking about them all. And there’s so much emotion and grief that needs to come out and likely it will in the form of a session of sobbing, probably at some bad moment like when I am at a busy checkout in Kmart or something. It is a time of feeling funky and saying funky things! Grief affects people in pretty weird ways. We need to be so gentle and kind to those who are enduring loss. It is awful. If you are enduring loss too I hope you are hanging in there. Be gentle on yourself.
I am also realising the most helpful thing I can do is focus on the good things and thank God for the great time with my daughters and the special years we got with Hugo.