I woke up this morning to another grey day and realised how much we need sunlight in our lives. The great greyness seems to seep into our very bones, our hearts and our minds and if, like us, you are experiencing a low point in life it is hard to fight off this enveloping yet invisible shroud. But fight it we must.
My lovely Goddaughter sent us a video of our little Minnow that she had taken almost 12 years ago and although watching it brought tears to our eyes it also made us smile. It also made me think of the importance of humour and light in our lives.
I remember all those corny old songs from decades ago such as ‘You are the sunshine of my life’, sung by Stevie Wonder,’I’ll follow the sun’ from the Beatles, ‘Follow the sun from Keep Searching’ by Del Shannon, (my age is showing here), ‘The warmth of the sun’ by the Beach Boys and how could I almost forget the Walker Brothers ‘The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore’. I am sure there are hundreds more and they all illustrate the importance of a ray of sunshine in life and how it can lift the spirits. It is all too easy to sink into a well of sadness and self pity which becomes all encompassing.
Humour is a form of sunshine and we certainly need to get that back in our lives. We have no control over the weather but we can do something positive about how we deal with our situation. The AP continues to sail onwards getting dottier by the day but at least this is a more acceptable side of her nature than the alter ego that pops out every now and then like a grey monster and snarls at us for no apparent reason. Mind you I won’t hold my breath, the nasty side of her nature is never far from the surface.
Twelve years ago almost to the day we took on a small, boney and awkward but adorable Jack Russell Terrier who had not had the best start in life having been rejected by her mother. The LSO called her Minnow. I can remember being quite horrified as I had only just retired three months earlier, the LSO was still at work and our daughter was getting married the following month. We also had a Jack Russell Border Terrier cross called Rufus who loved people and children but hated ALL animals.
I had been rejoicing in my new found freedom after thirty five years of work. Well that state of euphoria certainly came to an abrupt end as we tried to find a way to make these two dogs accepting of each other. The house was like a battleground but after many months of special training for dysfunctional dogs for Rufus with The Walkabout Group we succeeded. From that point on the two dogs became inseparable until Rufus died at the ripe old age of seventeen and a half. Almost six years ago we re-homed a five year old Jack Russell called Barney whom Minnow wasn’t hugely keen on to begin with but in a short time our sweet little angular Minnow and the rather stocky but benign Barney became partners in crime.
Sadly, today, that partnership came to an end. Dear little Minnow had developed several invasive cancers, the quality of her life was utterly compromised, nothing could be done and we had to make the unbearable decision to let her gently slip away.
Minnow had filled a huge space in our lives, the lives of our children and also the AP’s, she too is upset at the loss. Minnow had been our constant companion for twelve years and the LSO worked out that he had covered more than seventeen thousand miles walking her every day. She had never been ill until the very end.
The LSO and I are feeling a bit lost without her and the tears keep flowing. She was a lovely, special little dog and will be remembered with love and affection. Yet, I know we will have another dog despite knowing the pain of losing them. The upside is the unconditional love, the fierce loyalty and the companionship they give you during their short lives.
But sadly the AP continues to sail onwards and the old ways and attitudes are still as prevalent now as they were last year. Someone asked during our New Year’s Day lunch if I had made any resolutions for the new year and my response was a most definite and resounding ‘no’.
There can be no point in any because nothing will change until we are no longer burdened with the task of looking after the AP and that despite her advanced years does not look imminent. It’s a really depressing thought but sadly the truth.
We decided two years ago that if we had to be trapped in our home at least we can make it a lovely place to live in so rather than save money we have planned a series of renovations. First off it was the complete and much needed redesigning and renewing of the kitchen, then we redecorated four of the bedrooms followed by the living room, that completed we are more than half way through the refit of the utility room. All is looking good and in April, when the AP goes to Scotland to stay with my cousin and his wife for a month, we are putting in a boiler house complete with new oil boiler, a water tank and a pump to have the pleasure of some water pressure and a decent shower. The month of May will bring the redecoration of the hall, landing and stairs although the carpet replacement will have to wait a while. All this is costing a great deal but it will be worth it.
The AP is somewhat bemused by our activity but doesn’t really want to know because she fears it may cost her some money. Although on the other hand, she is curious enough to want to know just how much we are spending on everything. We don’t feel it’s any of her business and equally we prefer not to have her financial input as we are then beholden and reminded, when it suits her, about any small amount she has given us. Once again the problem lies with how many times we are expected to say thank you, a word that has disappeared from her vocabulary. We decided some time ago that the best way to deal with her attitude is to remain fiercely independent and to do our own thing as much as we possibly can.
On that final note and despite my opening paragraph we WILL be going out on the odd evening or two and on our own so I guess I have made one resolution for this year.