Sleep, Baby, Sleep

“A lot has happened. It’s time to write about it.”

You’re right, WordPress email, a lot has happened. Lots and lots. Ups and downs. Clouds and sunshine. And something that has significantly altered life as I know it.

When I started this blog I’d thought to keep it related to my creative life. Stuff I create, stuff that inspires me, trials and errors and arguments with paint and what-not.
But what about when ‘other life’ and creativity collide? Would I go ahead and share personal stuff with the world? (That’s being optimistically broad, isn’t it? Ok, sharing personal stuff with you, wonderful readers I’ve never met.)

Well, I’ve arrived at that bridge, so here we cross…

Two weeks ago I had to say goodbye to my best friend: my four-legged best friend who actually picked me that day at the pound, just before Christmas, more than 15 years ago.
She was a skinny mutt with tiger stripes and a massive smile. It was love at first kiss (where kiss = a flappy-tongued assault on my face)

Fast forward through dog training years, learning to play fetch, destroying backyard plants, tearing up bean bags, and many a car ride with her big staffy head out the window.

Fast forward through injuries and recoveries, illnesses and health, walks in rain, storm & shine, and getting her own special ‘sparkle jumper’ for the winter months.

Time is both long and short; the living and the remembering. And time changes everything.

Last October we lost her ‘pound sister’, Kara, to a stroke, on a day of such magic – incredible synchronicities and happenings – you’d swear she knew her time was up and orchestrated the most amazing last day for herself.

Love for my girl, Tahni, doubled after that. But time, we knew, was getting shorter for her too.

Walks became shorter, dinners smaller. My active girl was wearing out. Well, her body was wearing out; her mind was determined as ever.

I knew I had to call it when she could no longer walk easily. The change came so quick. One week to the next. One day to the next. Legs that were weakening. Legs that couldn’t support her. One leg that became 3 times its normal size through fluid retention.

Neither of us wanted to let go.
But I know that both of us chose this lesson to learn, coming into our lives as we did. We chose to learn that letting go is really about allowing ‘mortal’ love to become ‘immortal’. Yet even this awareness needed a little extra nudge at the time.

One of the difficulties with this kind of decision is feeling it’s ‘right’. Right thing, right time. It was certainly the right thing to do. Love can endure incredible hardship, but I didn’t want that for my little girl, as much as she was determined. (She’d rarely let on if she was ever struggling, and didn’t like the fuss if you did find out! Must’ve been the 80% staffy!)

Right time? This one plays with your head a little more. The ups and downs of that last week provided both doubt and confirmation. But I guess sometimes we just want some other sign. Something beyond ourselves.

That sign came on Tahni’s last morning, on the special temporary lawn built just for her use.

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Some people believe that feathers are signs from angels. I don’t know where I stand on that exactly, but over the years I’ve experienced different fae magic so for me this came as a message of comfort and relief. (The way it sat up, we couldn’t miss it.)
It was the right time. All would be well.

A few hours later our wonderful vet arrived.
On her own bed, in my arms, I don’t think Tahn and I have ever held each other so close as in that last minute. Then she slipped into sleep and beyond, letting go of a body that, we learned, was more worn out than we knew.

This was my first big experience with grief, with having someone so close, then having to let them go. (Kara was close, but Tahni was closer for me.)
I’d expected the tears but not the extreme lightheadedness & cold symptoms as my body reacted physically to loss.

Time again became strange, detached. The world continued while my own stopped. Trapped in the circle of last moments, and thoughts and feelings that were unknown and raw.

How I found myself dealing with it though, was creatively.

I found solace in working with photos: editing, adjusting, arranging, and filtering. Another outlet was writing in the ‘Elvish’ language, Quenya. Call it engaging with the ‘magic’, or simply escaping into something both academic and creative at the same time (I’ve studied it intermittently since 2002). For me it felt like the right way to express my thoughts.

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‘Farewell my beautiful friend, you are my treasure and I’ll always love you. May you shine upon my path until our next life.’

Who knows what impels us to do things in certain ways? Who knows what frequencies we tap into at times of great emotion? And how the unseen things of the universe arrange themselves to comfort, teach and inspire through different channels?

The first 3 days were the hardest.
Even now I’m still adjusting. I’ve realised just how much my world revolved around her – for more than half my own life. It’s the physical loss mostly. I have enough of a psychic streak to have shared moments of connection since, so I know she’s fine. But the little things catch you at least once a day – the impulse to go and pat her, see her, even wave as I walk past where her bed was.

What can I say? She was a massive part of my life. Always will be.

So after these days and weeks of recovering, adjusting and redefining (I’ve never been without animals at home), I think I’m ready to get back into the swing of it. Creating n stuff.
We’ll see what mess I can make with my art supplies this week 🙂

Thanks for reading.

“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet.
Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

The title for this blog comes from this beautiful song by NZ band, Broods. For me, it says it all.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. crawcraftsbeasties
    Mar 29, 2014 @ 19:10:44

    I was so choked up reading this that I hardly know what to say. But I really admire your ability to take your grief and transform it into something positive. Thanks for sharing your story, and for introducing me to Tahni. She sounds amazing 🙂

    Reply

    • streycreative
      Mar 30, 2014 @ 22:25:35

      It was a hard one to write – and I still get teared up! But the whole thing has brought me to a new & more open place, I think, which is ultimately a good thing. Thanks for your support 🙂 🙂

      Reply

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