This past week has highlighted to me the value of taking stock of good things. It's not that they magically make the pain go away or alter the course of life. But they give me something else to focus on when the challenges feel like too much to bear.
Most of you know that I lost Milo on Thursday. It was a long day and I'm still not used to the silence when I enter my bedroom. He'd been living there for the past year as Eliot was keen to challenge him at every turn. He always greeted me with a quiet little meow. My niece came over and helped me rearrange the bedroom. It's weird. My room has looked like that for seven years. Milo just had his nineteenth birthday. We had a good run together. No matter how badly he wanted to eat Yoda he never did because he knew how much it would upset me. His body quivered with the effort of subduing his natural extent but he did it - for me. One minute he'd be purring and the next moment I would pull back a bloody stump because he'd had enough touching. He chewed his own nails rather than let me cut them. I've been cleaning out drawers and boxes looking for my favourite photo of him. He's sitting beside the pond watching the fish. He often sat out in the garden but only if I was there with him. He wasn't interested in roaming.
Milo was a stray who lived at the shelter for several months. I was in there one Saturday after hours counting money from a charity car wash I'd organized. My neighbour had killed my cat a couple weeks previously and the staff was determined to send someone home with me. I was resistant. I wasn't ready. But Milo had stopped eating and drinking, was curled up at the back of the cage just waiting for the Big Needle he was scheduled to receive on the Monday. When I went to meet him, he ran from the back of the cage and flung himself onto me. Both paws went around my neck. When I went back to get the dog, the two of them fell asleep side by side. All of my objections were pointless. We never looked back.
While the news has been full of sadness, there have been some great moments of people reaching out to each other sharing good memories, funny anecdotes and ensuring their friends are okay. The kids and I have shared our favourite movie clips, belted out the soundtrack from Guardians of the Galaxy and eaten too much popcorn for dinner.
I have no great words of wisdom, no insight or advice. I'm doing my best to focus on the good in my life. That's what works for me. That, and belly rubs with the dogs. If you don't have a dog, I will share my pup. He's wonderful. If you're allergic, find a warm body you adore and engage in full body hugs. It won't fix everything but it sure doesn't hurt.