to my sleeping mat yesterday. I had a headache. It was perhaps not quite a migraine. There were no flashing lights or the need for a darkened room and absolute silence but I was desperately in need of a horizontal rather than a vertical position. Thankfully I feel almost normal today but yesterday I was capable of doing very little.
Of course this worried the Senior Cat. I do not, according to him, get ill. Well of course I do. I am not totally immune to illness but I have been fortunate so far, especially when I compare myself with many others.
While I was curled up feeling rather annoyed with myself because there were things I should have been doing I wondered how the dog around the corner was. He is old. He is owned by the family who recently lost their mother. On Wednesday his senior owner was walking him around to the vet.
"It's not too far. He'll enjoy the walk but I am worried about a lump on his back."
It doesn't sound good actually. I noticed it the other day when the dog came over to greet me. He's old, very old, for a dog.
And then this morning a friend on the other side of the world posted a message to say their much loved dog had died. I had never met her but I had heard a good deal about her and she was obviously loved by a great many people. There are a good many messages for her owners.
I have no doubt that those messages are genuinely meant too. I hope they help a bit but I know that there is nothing anyone can say or do which will fill the empty space which is peculiarly "pet" space.
We know we can't fill the space left by people. We have funerals to "say goodbye", "to celebrate life" and to try and "adjust" - at least a little. Nobody thinks you are odd or strange or foolish for mourning the loss of a human. It's not about filling the space but adjusting to it.
We are not expected to react in the same way to the loss of an animal. Why not?
One of our local shopkeepers sees things differently. One of his staff lost their dog last year. They came into work as usual but he could see that she was struggling to remain bright and cheerful for the customers. He phoned his mother. She came in and, with his support took the staff member off to have coffee and a weep on her shoulder. It is something that his staff member has not forgotten.
I still miss our last cat. It's not a constant, everyday thing any more but he is still "there" sometimes. I turn the corner and I am conscious he is not there waiting in the usual place. We would love to have another cat but we also don't want one. It's too much of a responsibility now. We could not get it to and from the vet. The Senior Cat could trip and fall on a cat. Chasing after it to bring it in at night would be a problem and, unfortunately, there would be the constant worry of the idiots who use our short street as a sort of race track. We have the pleasure of the neighbour's cat without the responsibility but we also worry about him too - and we will miss him when he goes.
I am not suggesting we should have funerals for other animals but we should be allowed to mourn their loss. It's part of life and, if we can't mourn them, then our lives are all the poorer for it.