All around me, the signs of spring abound. One of my friends, Sarah, has just blogged about her first nettle and root soup of the season - I want to be 'out there' doing stuff, yet I am caged, kept within myself by events beyond my control.
In life, as in nature (because life is nature, is life), there are cycles. Some cycles are perpetual in the sense that summer will follow spring, which follows winter, which follows autumn, which follows summer and so on. Other cycles have a start and an end, and are complete within one cycle, although they are part of bigger cycles that all link up. I am referring to the cycle of life and in particular, to our wonderful canine companion, Albert, who it seems, is approaching the end of his physical days on the earth.
A few days ago, he was diagnosed with degenerative liver disease. He's been put on medication to support his liver, which we are supplementing with some herbal tablets, but the vet's anxiety is that he does not have much good liver left to work with. The vet is understanding, in fact very understanding, and is not recommending further invasive tests on the basis that we would learn little that could benefit Albert.
He might respond the treatment and rally round, or he may not. We'll know in the next 10 days or so where this is heading. I've really been very upset at the prospect of loosing him - he's been woven into the fabric of our lives for the past 7 and half years. He's slept with us on our bed every night, he comes on holiday with us, everything we do, or everywhere we go is centred around Albert not being left alone!
I'm not afraid of death - I understand that it is a part of life, and Albert being 14 or 15 years old has lived the expected life of a dog. But I am afraid of the void, of the loss of company, of the loss of familiarity, the loss of routine that he has brought us. Perhaps these are selfish concerns, but they are the ones I have.
I wish I could explain to him that the tablets he so dislikes taking are for his benefit and will help him. I wish he could tell me how he feels, where his pain is, and perhaps, when he's had enough and wishes to slip away.
Yet, as I focus myself on Albert, the other cycles of life continue, unaffected by my personal crisis. In the grand scheme of what's going on in the world, how small are these events, but depending on where you stand, they can be the biggest thing in the world.