Wednesday 26 August 2020

Our last Goodbye

Last week passed in a blur of visits to the vet, visits to the out of hours vet at all hours of the night, emergency surgery on Saturday and finally the phone call on Sunday that had us racing across Cornwall to say our last goodbye. Grief is a language that I learnt nine years ago. It comes back far too easily: the agonising pangs that take my breath away. The troughs and peaks, the hollow in my chest, where someone has ripped out my girl and left a raw gaping hole, with exposed nerve endings jagged to the too bright light. At other times, this fades to a constant ache in the gut. You learn to carry on, try and eat, drink, go about your everyday business, acknowledging that this pain is a part of having enjoyed a great love. There’s no quick fix, I remember now. No way to ease the fact that Moll just isn’t there. As I said to the Tooth Fairy (now the Moll Fairy for the amazing care and support he’s provided during the last week), tackling grief is, I find, best done head on. Like surfing. Imagine you’re down on the beach, see waves that are bigger than you had bargained for. You can’t turn back and run, or the waves will simply break over you, drag you under, spit you out god knows where. The best way is to take a deep breath and dive underneath them. Face them head on. You can then swim until you come up the other side. It won’t be easy but it’s a better option than the first one. The chances of survival are better. It doesn’t last quite as long. But my flat isn’t home without her. It’s a silent, empty shell waiting for her to bounce up the steps, bringing life, joy and warmth. To make it feel home again. Now the flat is characterless, a dark sterile place I want to avoid. There’s no warm body at the foot of my bed, making my feet too hot, growling at me in the night when I get up to go to the loo. When I come home, there’s no one to greet me joyously - no one at all. I’ve had to put her bowls and toys away so I don’t see them. Give her food and treats away, while her lead hangs forlornly by the front door. I can’t hide that. Mornings are too quiet without the happy panting excitement of the day ahead, while she bounced off the bed, running along the corridor in a never ending hope for more food. I miss the impatient pattering of her paws as she followed me from room to room to see when and where I would settle. If there was a treat involved. Walking is a pleasureless pastime compared to the walks with Moll. I used to say, “Where shall we go today, Pop Pop?” and she would bounce off the bed, panting in happy anticipation. We’d get into the van, head off, spend a happy hour meandering around. She’s no longer waiting outside the door when I have a shower. There’s no Moll in her bed in the van when I drive along. She doesn’t sit by my side when I eat. I stumble round the flat like a visitor trapped in the wrong place. That first night, lying in bed, the flat felt cold, hostile and frightening, and I really wondered whether I could carry on living here without her. Despite being surrounded by the most wonderful, loving friends, with my dear best friend round the corner, I have never felt more alone. It is the first time in 40 years without a pet, let alone without a Moll. I’ve always had a furry creature to love and cuddle. It struck me forcibly, when I had a walk with a friend yesterday, that I’m the odd one out now. I no longer am a member of that wonderful Dog Owners Club (albeit temporarily) and that is really hard. She was my last link with Pip. She connected him and the Tooth Fairy, latterly the Moll Fairy. She saw me through so much and for that I am profoundly grateful and honoured. Looking at the many, many messages I have received, I realise what an extraordinary dog she was - and how incredibly privileged I was to have those 15 years with her. I am also so relieved that this didn’t happen in the early months of lockdown. Trying to deal with this alone, and those endless trips to the vet last week, to the out of hours vet 5 times, including picking up a very stressed Moll on Friday night at 11pm. Whereas C just said, “Of course,” getting his car keys. “Let’s go and get her.” So I feel incredibly grateful for the love and support I have. My friends are wonderful, and let me cry all over them. I take one hour at a time, cry over my computer, cry over my friends, cry in bed, on the phone, watching telly, reading. But someday, before too long I hope, I really look forward to having my next dog. (C is already looking up puppies despite me saying NO Pups). So if anyone hears of someone needing to rehome a Moll sized dog (I only have a small back yard, not a proper garden), at some point in the future, please let me know. No one could ever replace Moll but I would love to have another four legged friend to complete my life, to love and share walks with again. In the meantime, bear with me if I’m blotchy faced and red eyed for the foreseeable future. It’s nothing personal. And if anyone in Falmouth needs a dog walker or dog sitter, just let me know….

Thursday 13 August 2020

New Nashers

Blogger has gone all strange on me, and there's supposed to be an icon to add images but I can't see one, so this will be a boring post while I try and figure out how the hell to do this. It's like supermarkets changing the layout, so just when you get used to the bread being in a certain place, and the fruit and veg in another, they change it so everyone wanders round looking confused. I often have a strop, and walk out, which somewhat defeats the purpose of the trip, but there you go. Anyway, I now have my teeth. Thanks to a dedicated trio of men - my dentist who is an incredible fellow, very good with nervous people, very calm, explains everything going on, and does a brilliant job. Secondly, my fabulous neighbour who runs the dental design lab I talked about last week with his business partner. He has dedicated so many hours to my teeth and then, when they needed a bit of a tweak yesterday, spent nearly three hours getting them absolutely perfect. To him, too. And for his amazing generosity which has really blown me away. And lastly to The Tooth Fairy, who made it all possible financially. A bit like the Unholy Trinity - at least, I can't speak for the other two, but I know the Tooth Fairy isn't religious. So I now have a smile that we are all proud of: Donal and James professionally, and the Tooth Fairy personally. As he said, "I am pleased to be a part of you." So next time I need some professional pics done, I won't have to smile with my mouth shut... I am the least vain person - the only time I ever look in a mirror is to put my contact lenses in, but these really will make such a difference. So here's a big thank you to my Trio. And I believe that good things are paid forward. So I hope I will be able to do for others what these guys have done for me. And next week I hope to have some pictures!

Wednesday 5 August 2020

My Mum and The Lab

This might not appear to have much to do with this post, but I saw my mum last weekend for the first time since December. I was due to go up in March but Mum said no, don't, as it was just before lockdown and she thought it would be too dangerous. So that was an emotional visit as you can imagine.

We went to Dartington Gardens on Saturday morning and saw this wonderful Henry Moore sculpture which I really love for its solidity, and its wonderful rounded shapes - you almost want to stroke it. The gardens are also stunning and almost better for being a bit wilder.

And it made me think that sculptures require a lot of technical as well as artistic expertise, which is exactly what, I have discovered, dental technicians need.

Yesterday the Tooth Fairy and I went to visit my neighbour James at The Lab Dental Design Studio in Penryn where his partner took some pictures of my teeth and he explained the whole process of how implants, dentures and crowns etc are made. It is incredibly complex and requires a hell of a lot of expensive, highly advanced equipment, as well as a lot of dexterity and experience.

We were both incredibly impressed, then he took us upstairs to meet the others working there, including his wife who designed my teeth on this amazing 3D programme. I had never really considered what goes into making teeth but having seen it, it is completely understandable why it's so expensive.

To be honest, a lot of the technical stuff went over my head, but the Tooth Fairy has done a lot of casting and moulding so he understood a lot more. But we thought, well, what a talented lot of people we have as neighbours! It's like keeping it all in the family. So I'm going back to see James on Monday just to check that I'm happy with my teeth, then they will be fitted next Wednesday.

All my friends that have seen them have said what an incredible difference they've made, and I must say I feel so much better. They felt comfortable straight away and I've been walking, swimming ("don't get them wet!" cried the Tooth Fairy) and generally doing everything as normal. Though I haven't bitten into an apple with them yet.

Just think - this time next week I will have my proper new gnashers.

And here's another one of some amazing tree trunks at Dartington...