Grief–that is the grieving over the loss of a beloved–is an odd thing.
It’s like a blanket of sadness has been thrown over every moment, every activity, every thought, though there are, to be sure, holes or thin patches in the fabric. Moments when one doesn’t think about the missing one, when one is focused on the present good and simple pleasure of living, the beauties of autumn, the first whiff of crisp-apple cold air that sweeps down over the countryside at this time of year, the intricacies of the research one is engaged in…
But then, suddenly, like those rapid-moving showers that Britain seems to specialise in, the ones which sweep across the sky–blotting out the blue with a Cairngorms-worth of layered, towering leaden cloud–soaking one to the skin, to the soul in less than a minute–the raindrops more like slapping water against ones face…it’s like that. And in that instant, one is overwhelmed with a crushing sense of loss, with grief…with an incompleteness that will not be filled.
And these cloudbursts of emptiness, they’re uncontrollable too. They just are.
I lost my dog last week, my elderly Cavalier King Charles.
She was tremendous and I adored her. She was with me all the time, you see, ambling along beside me, or sitting nearby (snoring). She watched over me, stayed with me while the rewrites and edits mounted up (on the floor), beside me always…really, if I’m honest, she mothered me. And if that sounds funny, well, it’s true. (No doubt she was right in thinking I needed someone looking after me.)
And she was the best mother a body could ever have had. She was kindly, devoted, pure in her affections, never cross, never sharp, brave, tolerant, always trusting and utterly lovely.
(The spaniel, Comfit, in Of Honest Fame was inspired and modelled on her.)
She was the very best. And I miss her dreadfully.