Friday, 16 March 2012

Life, the universe...

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.


Comfrey Cottages said...

Oh Martin... I am so sorry to hear this:( You aren't being selfish dear man. You are having all the thoughts and feelings any compassionate person would have for their beloved companion. Sending warm supportive thoughts to you and Albert and healing, supportive energy too. gentle hugs, Leslie

laoi gaul~williams said...

i am new here but so sad to hear about albert...i had the same with my cody in 2009 and it was the most dreadful time.
thinking of you all

Hawthorn said...

Thanks so much for your comments and support. Albert is the first dog we've had, so it's a particularly hard time for us (and him). Heart-wrenching doesn't come close.

Whispering Earth said...

Oh Martin, I am so sorry to hear your sad news. Our animal companions are such a massive part of our lives aren't they, as much as any dear friend. I'll be thinking of you all and sending lots of love and best wishes to Albert. Take good care and remember that grief is also part of a cycle and there is nothing wrong with it at all.

Hawthorn said...

Albert is now at peace. We took the very difficult decision earlier today after he had not responded to the appetite stimulants. The vet said if he doesn't feel like eating, there's little that can be done. The options were to hospitalise him or call it a day. We chose the latter as anything else would have been stressful for him and of no long term benefit. He's come home and we'll bury him tomorrow and try to fill the massive hole in our lives.

Dan said...

Martin, I'm so sorry to hear about Albert. I haven't been reading your blog very long, but I enjoy its thoughtfulness and care for nature. I have two dogs and have loved and said goodbye to four others.
They are amazing friends, the hole they leave is huge and of course it will be, because they are loved so much.

Hawthorn said...

Thanks Dan for your kind comments. People who have had or have dogs will know what we've been going through. Time heals, but we are still finding it hard and keep expecting Albert to be there when we come in or something. It's extra hard because we lost one of our house rabbits 2 weeks earlier. It's been a bad couple of years and you get to the point where you start to wonder if happiness will ever return.
Again thanks to everyone for your wishes.

laoi gaul~williams said...

~run free albert~


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