Saturday, October 19, 2019

It’s just reality

At the moment, every bad day has its good parts, and every good day has its bad ones. That’s just reality. Overall, I try to focus on the good bits, and today that was Leo: He was close to me most of the day, either sleeping in my lap—even when I was working at my desk—or else somewhere nearby, usually where he could see me. While this isn’t unusual behaviour for him, it’s also not common, either. I think that maybe he sensed it wasn’t a good day for me today.

Today definitely was not a good day. Three weeks ago today I watched Nigel take his last breath, and that moment has played over and over and over in my head ever since. What I’ve learned along the way is that there’s no escaping such memories, and all I can do is wait them out. Because, they do pass. One day this sort of day will pass entirely without incident, or, at least, the bad parts will become less frequent. I know that, and that right now there’s no point trying to fight against the natural course of this.

Despite all that, I made progress on some stuff I need to get through. It turns out that there’s a surprisingly large number of small things that have to be dealt with when someone dies, and, fortunately, most of them don’t need a lawyer to sort them out. Yesterday and today I made progress on small things, despite everything.

In fact, the only obvious bad thing that resulted from my state today was that I found it difficult to concentrate on work. As it happens, though, I had to stop work, anyway, because of some last-minute changes, so that meant it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

I also knew that work was going to be difficult this week, given what I’m going through, but it’s worse than that. When I worked on this project last month, it was right at the start of Nigel’s decline. I stopped frequently to check on him, to make some food for him, whatever he needed. Sometimes he just wanted me to stay with him for awhile, and I did. On the following Monday, I took Nigel to hospital for the first time. Exactly two weeks later, we were at his funeral.

I happened to be awake this morning at the time that Nigel died three weeks ago. It wasn’t on purpose: I got up early to give the dogs their chew sticks, and went back to bed. But I had trouble falling back to sleep. I glanced at the clock and realised the exact time was nearing. So, I stayed awake, of course—and Leo snuggled up against me a little closer.

This week, and today in particular, was always going to be hard because of the associations I have in my head. That means that today was neither unusual nor unexpected, and this will happen again. The thing about grief is that it’s not linear. There’s no distinct end point: It’s not like having a cold.

Every bad day has its good parts, and every good day has its bad ones. That’s just reality. But I also know that tomorrow will be a better day, at least in parts.

Originally published on my personal Facebook Page on October 11.

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