Charlie woke me up this morning while tendrils of dreams were still dangling just enough for me to recall them. Bits and pieces of what was conjured up during the night slowly crept back into that place where dreams go.
When I hear him attempting to walk down the bigger doggy steps from the bed, I have trained myself to wake up to make sure he doesn’t fall. The vet has cautioned me about this and I try my best not to let him stumble.
I get up and let him out, then go to the floor with my yoga mat and stretch the kinks out so I don’t feel so stiff.
Next I clean the kitty litter box, take medication, make the bed and feed the pets. I put Charlie’s meds in pill pockets he sometimes wolfs down. Other times, like today, he is nonchalant about them. He doesn’t want them right away.
I have learned to back off and not try to force him to eat the treats. But I really need to make sure he takes his heart medication. It is a difficult balancing act. If I try too hard to get him to eat the treat, the more he will back away.
After the pets have been tended to I fix my own breakfast and a cup of coffee.
And then after that, I settle down here with my laptop.
A person could certainly set their watch by my routines, for they are pretty much the same every day. Some days I go out, some days I don’t.
By five or six p.m. later in the day I am back to my yoga mat on the floor, stretching out the tension of the day. I prepare the pets’ supper and then my own. Give Charlie his evening meds.
Then I take a shower and head to the bedroom for the evening. I watch Netflix or read my Kindle.
Most people would probably feel constrained by this stringent routine, but it is a comfort to me.
I’ve lived a life where many times I never knew what was going to happen from minute to minute. As a child my life was shrouded in mystery and I wasn’t sure of anything. So now that I’m older, I cling to my routines like a lifeline.
On the day of the week that I clean my apartment I treat myself to supper in afterward. I sit at the table next to the patio door and savor my meal, watching the birds or the wind lifting the leaves in a mock wave of greeting.
For someone who really has no schedule to speak of, this strict of a routine might seem odd.
With Charlie’s complex medical problems, tending to his needs always come first. My routine must be woven in around them.
I see it is raining again. I can’t hear it, but the concrete is wet.
The light from the salt lamp is an orange reflection in one of the French door panes. I hear a clock ticking ever so softly. The tree limbs slow dancing are the only movement I see outside.
Charlie is tucked in beside me in my chair as I write. His warm body touches mine.
Since Friday I have been thinking about Abi a lot. She’s been gone now 16 months. When I think of her it’s like someone squeezes my heart. I keep thinking: if only I could see her and hold her one more time.
But then I’d want more. Of course I would.
My unwavering grief is like a jolt at first, like the prick of a needle in my arm, which takes me back, back, to the days when she was slowly fading right in front of my eyes.
Still I took her to the vet each day for sustenance, hoping against hope that she would get better.
And when she didn’t, there was that unbearable and excruciating sight of that light in her eyes slowly receding until she was gone.
Abi was the light of my life, and in that place there is darkness because nothing could possibly replace her.
I live with the loss as one does with any loss. One day at a time. One foot in front of the other.
But never will I stop missing her. That bundle of energy that brought me such laughter and delight.
I wonder if Charlie remembers Abi? If he misses her?
I don’t let him see the tears. There is no point in upsetting him. I force myself to rein the grief in because I must focus on his needs now.