Chumbawamba’s 1997 smash hit Tubthumping perfectly describes the last month of my life. I definitely got knocked down, but I got up again. ‘Cause you are never gonna keep me down.
The month of August has been incredibly challenging. In fact, it’s the worst month I’ve had in many years.
On August 3, our dear Mario had a stroke and had to be put down. Mario has been my best friend and my rock for the past 10 years and he saw me through a lot of hard times. I always knew that the day that we had to say goodbye would be incredibly hard but I never imagined just how hard it would be.
I was with him in his last hours, talking to him and trying my best to comfort him as he struggled. I was quite certain that when our vet arrived, she was going to tell me that he should be put down so I spent those last hours just enjoying our time together.
I cradled him in my arms as he passed; a memory that I relived in my mind for several days after. It was honestly, the hardest goodbye I have ever had to say.
In the days that followed, I was a mess. I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house but I hated being it. It just felt so empty without him.
After a few days, Dave and I decided that getting a rescue cat might help to bring some joy back to our home. On the Sunday we headed out to meet Lynn from Abandoned Cat Rescue who had a cat in mind that fit our criteria; loving and affectionate.
We had only planned to get one cat but ended up with two; Asher who Lynn had suggested as a good fit and our wee Joy who, during our visit, cuddled up in my lap and well, that was that.
The first weeks with the kittens were super stressful for me. They were both in a new environment and trying to figure everything out which led to a lot of fighting. Having never had two cats before, I didn’t really know what to expect, and in my state at the time, I didn’t deal with it well. They’ve now settled down a bit and have brought so much love into our home.
In addition to Mario’s passing, I’ve also been dealing with a sick grandmother. On the day we got the kittens, my sister went down to Chatham to say goodbye to her. I wanted to go but I just couldn’t. I was so fragile at that moment that it would have broken me.
I felt an incredible amount of guilt about not going to say my goodbyes but I have said goodbye in my own way.
On top of all of this, I cancelled my trip to Germany with Opa due to the recent string of violent crime happening over there.
Never before have my head and my heart been at such war. My head said that I should cancel but my heart told me what Opa had reminded me of several times; that it might be our last opportunity to travel together.
After weeks of deliberation, I cancelled. It broke my heart to give up this opportunity to spend time with Opa, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around going to a country that is currently experiencing an increased number or terrorism related incidents.
The combination of these things led to three weeks running on minimal sleep, no appetite and many, many tears. I had taken days off work here and there, simply because I just couldn’t function.
Last Tuesday, I decided that it was time to put my big girl pants on and get my shit together. I emailed my boss, who was on holidays at the time, and let him know that I needed a few more days off.
So last Thursday and Friday, my only obligation was to take care of myself. I went for a relaxing float, had a session with an EAP counsellor and had an amazing reiki session. I watched Netflix, took naps when I needed them, meditated, and had lots of kitten cuddles.
These self-care days ended up extending into Saturday and Sunday and by Monday, I was finally starting to feel like myself again.
I have been through tough times before so I’ve gotten pretty good at recognizing when I need some assistance. More importantly, I’ve come to a point in my life where I’m not afraid to ask for it.
In times of crisis, the most important thing we can do is nourish ourselves. Self-care is so important and despite what many people think, it is one of the least selfish things you can do.
By getting the help we need to be able to properly function again we are better able to fill our many life roles. When I was struggling, I was no good to anyone. Not to Dave, not to the kids, not to my family and friends and certainly not to my employer.
Taking the time that I needed to sort myself proved invaluable and I’m thrilled to say that today is the best day I have had in almost a month.
I decided to write this blog not to get your sympathy, but in hopes that if you’re struggling, sharing my experience may help you to get back up again.