The other day, I broke my moratorium on posting to write a few words about a friend I never formerly met. Sometimes it feels like I spend a lot of time writing about death. Death, travel and family probably sum up my posts. One being my least favorite thing, and the other two being my most favorite. This week, we had a lot of interweaving of the three.
Friday went like any other day. Work, racing kids around here and there at night, and me looking forward to crawling into bed to relax. As I bustled around getting the kids ready to head to bed for the night, I began my nightly routine of making sure the animals were all fed. I started downstairs and worked my way upstairs to feed the guinea pigs their nightly veggies. I knew almost immediately something was wrong. They had swapped houses, and one was laying in a strange manner in his little grass house. The other looked unsettled. I gently lifted the house and saw my little piggie laying flat, breathing, but definitely not well. I panicked. I could tell without a doubt he was dying, and not far from it. I mulled over the options. I knew there weren’t many. He didn’t care for being picked up at all, it just wasn’t his thing, and I knew me trying to pick him up would cause him stress. I also knew trying to get him to a vet likely wouldn’t be helpful at this stage, and that the frigid temps would probably shock him into death as well. This wasn’t a case of simply being under the weather. I had to tell my kids the situation, and I explained it all the very best way I could. He was gone not too long after.
Now some people will say “meh, it was just a rodent”. In our home every life matters, no matter how big or small, and a loss is a loss. Our pets are all a part of our family, and we love them all dearly. My daughter and I do the most with the guinea pigs, and we were certainly hit the hardest by the loss. My husband and I cleaned the cage, set up a little coffin for our deceased piggy, and tried to comfort the other piggie the best we could. My daughter had fallen asleep before she knew he had died, camping out on one of her brother’s bunk beds, and was devastated. We held a funeral for our lost pet in our yard, my husband saying a little prayer. Years ago my father in law gifted me a large stone engraved with my mother’s name for my yard so I’d have a place to go and think about her since she’s buried overseas. I asked my daughter if she’d like to move the stone over where her little lost piggie was, and that seemed to really comfort her. It was a somber day.
The same weekend, I got a call my great uncle had passed away. I felt saddened to hear the news, but knew that the past few years had been physically very tough for him, enough so that he was unable to attend his brother’s funeral (my grandfather) which had upset him greatly. I felt relieved he was no longer suffering, but I did get upset when I realized he was the last of that generation for the family. The three siblings and the little boy my great grandparents took in during WW2, all now deceased from cancer or old age. A whole generation of love, stories and memories, all gone. It made me inherently sad.
One of the few truly happy things that came out of my grandfather’s funeral was meeting his cousin, who regaled with me with stories and love for my grandfather. Those two got along famously, and I’d never met her before. I just called her to inform her of the loss of my great uncle. She had heard already, but the two of us had a quick chat. She and I are two peas in a pod really. In the short time I’ve known her I’ve found she’s feisty, silly, and a bit messy, just like me. Our birthdays are a week apart. She’s in her 90’s now and the last one of that group left. I’m hopeful she’s around for a long time, and will go visit her when I get back to England. She’s amazing, and I am sad for not having met her sooner.
One the bright side, this year is shaping up to be pretty awesome so far, and I sure hope it continues. Plans are falling into place. I was able to make some big moves on a personal level which will open up some opportunities for my family. Travel is on the horizon, with at least 5 trips planned this year, possibly more, and I’m hopeful for a big trip next year. Mindsets are being changed. Big plans are coming down the pike. I’m more content than I’ve been in years. I’m freeing myself from anything and anyone that brings me down and it feels AMAZING. I’ll expand more when I can.
In a week, I lost 3. It’s a reminder to focus on the good, and work to fix the bad. While I’m sad for the losses, it’s a reminder, no matter how cliche, to live loud and big. I don’t want to regret not doing things. I want to go places, see things, love people with all my heart, and on my last day, know that I gave it my all.