They say, running away from your problems solves nothing. Well, I love to be different!
Sometimes, running away is the only thing that holds your sanity together. Escaping the here and now gives a moment of respite from the onslaught of emotions and torture excreted from a life lesson that feels inescapable, unending and unendurable. My mind slips away from these moments and finds a happy place: my cave, the rock that slides across the entrance-way blocking out light, colour and images that torture me, and I escape.
It’s not forever – I know that. Reality is always waiting patiently outside the rock that separates me from the responsibility of claiming the pain champing at the bit to let me ride. This moment of respite becomes so much sweeter and, in my peripheral vision, I can always make out what I’m avoiding. I can breathe and operate like a normal person for a while without the hurt.
Then, it returns.
The rocks slides away and the storm enters my safe domain. There is no escaping the tears, the burning sensation where my heart should be and memories flooding out the light of day; everything fades but the knowledge of loss, hurt, emptiness.
I look back at what I shared about my mum and how I felt when I lost her and I can pin-point the moments when I took shelter in my cave. It was easier losing her because I drip-fed myself the knowledge that she would be going soon. I spent years prepping myself for her departure from this world and I mourned her while she still breathed. My recent loss was more of a surprise departure that caught me off-guard. I mean, of course I was mourning the eventual loss of Henry (as I do for everyone I know and care about), and I even left work in a panic crying out that he was dying. But, in my heart, I refused to believe it because I had faced this same illness before and beaten it. My brain worked overtime mapping a sure route back for him to survive his illness.
As we raced home in the middle of the night with his limp body lying across my lap, I was still convinced I could save him. He would go back to the vet we knew and trusted in the morning and we would find a solution to the ataxia and make him better. Then he died. I screamed, I raged, I tried to give him CPR which, in dogs, is very difficult! The vet was on the phone handing out instructions on what to do and if you were watching from the side of the road, as those bright stars looked on in the dark sky, you would have seen me unhinged.
The puppy that had inspired others to love their own dogs just a little more; the dog that taught his friend how to walk off the lead and gave his owner confidence in believing that dogs can listen; the dog that respected the aggressive dogs and gave them distance but insisted on loving and playing with the old and young; the dog that found so many ‘best mates’ and even turned those afraid of dogs into friends – was dead. In the three short years of his life, he had managed to gain a reputation of being more than just a dog. He was a companion, a big brother to a little boy who needed someone to understand him, my shadow. He gave more to those around him than most humans give in a life time.
Sharing this loss with you, I wonder, do you have moments where you need your cave just to breathe, just to exist for an instant before facing the onslaught of life again.
Let me know. Share your moment with me.