Monday, 13 August 2012

Through the Fog

I've been away for a while. I'm not at all sure when I put my last post up, even, although I will find out when I upload this to Blogger. I'm not sure, in fact, where the last two months have gone. Only that my life feels very changed, very different, somehow insubstantial, even though I have been busy cleaning and doing a lot of child and animal care.

In June I left my last position on the volunteer board where I had served, we calculated, for the last fifteen years. It was hard, in a way, to let the work go because it has been such a big part of my life for so long. But it was time. I was stale, ready to see the baton bob off down the track in the hands of some of my trusted compatriots. And I was looking forward to having more time for my friends and hobbies.

The transition has been very choppy. My best friend in all the world fell ill and we all put everything on hold to be with her and support her. And she died, and I put everything on hold to help and support her family. And so now I have no more almost-daily phone calls, no invitations to 'run away days', no pick-up Scrabble games. I am bereft of her laughter and her great store of wisdom and fun. And she left me the Hall Minute Book, with all sorts of bits and pieces tucked into it in her own inimitable (and pretty well incomprehensible) shorthand, and there is no phone where I can call her and ask for help. And I can't stop crying.

About the cat. I have spent more time at the vet's office in the last month than in all of my previous life-with-dogs spanning twenty odd years. First wee Callee had to have a check-up and shots, then we took her back to get spayed, then a third time to have her stitches out. I have never seen an animal less impeded by surgery - the day we got her home she jumped three feet in the air to catch a moth and continued lively and busy from then on. She did not much like being a house cat, though, and told us what she thought about being kept inside for a week loudly and often.

For a lot of July we also had the YD's dog, as the YD was paddling the Coppermine River ('easy', she says. !) At one point in her visit, Shammy found a porcupine and ended up with a fine Van Dyke beard of quills. Back to the vet, and the poor thing had to be anaesthetized to get the quills out. We hope she has learned a hard lesson. I took her for a walk when we got her back and she staggered around looking hot and miserable for most of it.

And it was hot. Hot and dry. We are experiencing, as are many parts of North America, the hottest, driestsummer for fifty years. The grass is brown and crunches, small trees and bushes are dead or dying, and does do not seem to have fawns with them. All the streamlets on our property are empty. Luckily the beaver are still maintaining the big marsh at the north-west end of our land. Or, I guess it is lucky as it gave Shammy some nice mud and duck weed in which to immerse herself. She didn't even wince at being hosed down with icy well water, the heat was so intense. Best summer for deer flies in years, though. Shammy did not have a fun visit.

I did have a lovely time with Miss G who was here for almost two weeks in late June while her parents did two back-to-back conferences in Europe. She made herself a dress on my sewing machine and was quite triumphant over her success. This visit will have to last me until the new year, however as Miss G and her parents have now launched themselves toward the west coast where they will stay until Christmas, doing research at UBC. Miss G has acquired her own email address, though, and I am waiting with some impatience to read her take on driving across Canada.

The last straw was my pool. For some years I have had a little swimming pool in the basement - the brand is Endless Pools, and I swim against a current - perfect exercise for someone with arthritis and a tricky knee. We have had trouble with liner leaks, however, and the pool was out of commission for quite a while. JG geared up and got a new liner in and the pool back in working order before Miss G's visit and she loved swimming in it. So did I. Last week it sprang yet another leak, after only five weeks in service, and we had to drain it. We must be doing something wrong when we put it together, we think. Such is my state of mind that I cried about that, too.

I don't have any good ideas about how to finish this off. I think the worst part of grieving is the lack of control you have over yourself. I am not sleeping well, not focusing well, not doing things efficiently. I have a list of projects to do. I have the prospect of a nice vacation coming up late next month. I have a silly cat who loves to sleep in my lap and an equally silly dog who thinks my feet taste great. I am getting daily updates from the travelling family complete with photos. I threw out 22 pounds (just weighed the bag) of useless paper to-day. Wasn't this supposed to be the paperless world? I have laughed and cried with the Olympic athletes this last two weeks.

Now my two week orgy of TV and computer viewing is over for four years. I am telling myself to get on with things. And I will.


  1. Oh Mary, I'm so sorry about your friend. And about the rough time you've had. Grief takes its own time and is just a strange thing. Looks like you have a lot to keep you busy and I agree - you will get on with things. I'll be thinking of you!

  2. Grief is such a difficult companion. I don't have any sage advice for how to survive it beyond enduring and giving yourself a break. It is the most deeply personal of emotions. Please take care of yourself.

  3. In our culture, we tend to try to hide our grief. I think the "process" is much more successful, if you accept it as your companion and invite it along with you. We are here whenever you need.

  4. You were her best friend too. Her life saver. Run away days kept her going. Your strength and understanding made her life better. Your parking abilities (in her ditch/pond out front) however, were something else altogether. So many shared laughs and stories. One day they will come without all the tears. For now, we stocked up on kleenex. Come on over. Thank you for all you've done for all of us.

  5. Sorry for your loss and also the loss of your volunteer job. I know the latter was a decision, but it's still a loss and a change. You've had a busy summer, so give yourself time to just relax. Read a few books or some such.

  6. Thanks guys! Except, perhaps, for the ditch comment. It was slippery, dern it.
    AC, I am reading and doing fun tasks and trying to relax. De, you're right. I've been here before and you are so right.
    Nance, the cat is providing moments of lap shaking purring that are, in spite of the claws, quite endearing.
    Tere, thanks and I'm thinking of you, too. Be well!

  7. oh, mary. i am so sorry that i missed this post.

    and sorrier, of course, about your friend. what a loss.

    hope the fog is lifting a bit more with each day that passes.

    love to you.