Sunday, 18 December 2011

Good bye to a member of the festival family.

Some people make an impact on your life even though they only hold a physical presence in it for a few days out of the year.
I have always gone to festivals during the summer, it's my way of taking a holiday. Over the years we have built up a 'festival family'. It's very big this family and includes people of all ages and from all walks of life. Over the years there have been new partners brought into the fold, and marriages along with that. Some of them had children already and some of us have had children as the years have gone by - extending the family again.
Some of us have developed very close friendships and arrange to get together across the winter months, some of us only communicate via the web outside of festy season. It makes no odds which of these it is - when we get together in a field in the summer it's like we were never apart.
Some people have drifted away from this family, it's the nature of life for things to ebb and flow.
Up until now what we haven't dealt with is the permanent loss of one our fold to death. It is one of those things that you just never, ever expect. Not in a million years.
This week it happened. And it has hit us hard.
So, like i say - some people make a big impact on your life even if their physical presence in it is only for a few days. Ade was one of those people. He was big, both physically and in personality. He laughed. He laughed a lot and he laughed loud. At 5am when you are in a tent and trying to sleep because your 5 year old will have you up at 7am no matter what, this gregarious laughter is somewhat annoying. Right now I'd give almost anything to have the chance to get annoyed with that laugh again. Even if you've suffered loss before, each and every time it happens you still have to go through that process of disbelief - of trying to comprehend that you will never see that person again. There will be no more hugs, no more laughter. There will be an empty space. There will be many times when you forget and think 'Ade will love this' or simply expect to see him in that field at Glastonbury because somehow there is something seriously wrong with a reality that does not have a 6ft odd bald man in a halter neck dress, refusing to put a top on when he's cold because 'i haven't got anything that goes with the dress'...
When the news spread among the family we gathered online and just didn't know what to say to each other. Part of this festival family also includes very close blood relatives of Ade. Not only are we dealing with our own grief at losing a friend, we are dealing with grief of two people we also care about very much. And if our hearts are breaking at this loss then it is so hard to think how much harder it must be for them.

It's been a couple of days now since this happened. I'm still so very sad. The raw shock has gone. The grief is still there. The disbelief is fading.

Ade may be gone in a physical sense but he has left his festival family with a myriad of memories. All of them happy ones. The next time we all get together in a field it's going to be different. The dynamic will have changed. But we'll remember Ade. We'll remember his laughter and his phrases and all the little quirks of our individual friendship, the way we interacted with him. We'll fill that Ade shaped hole with laughter. Lots of it.

Friday, 9 December 2011

another sad good bye

Such a sad thing to write about :( On Weds 30th November our lovely Oz-dog just wasn't right. By the afternoon I was sufficiently worried enough to have to make an emergency trip to the vet. We thought that maybe the pain in his joints was making him really uncomfortable so the vet administered a powerful injection of painkillers to see if it would help him overnight, and we hoped for an improvement the next day. It wasn't so. We got up the next morning to a dog who was clearly ready to go over the bridge. It was an awful drive to the vet with him that morning, knowing that in all likelihood we wouldn't be bringing him back. We had a long chat with the vet about our options but we knew that really the only kind thing to do was to let him go. Oz-man sat on the floor with him while the vet administered that last act of kindness. He felt Oz-dog's head get heavy and was holding him when he finally fell asleep for the last time.
I knelt down and kissed his nose and stroked his ears and my tears were falling onto his fur. I felt my heart breaking :(
I can't begin to explain how wonderful this dog was, what a wonderful loving and amusing companion he has been to me for the last four years. He had the biggest personality of any dog I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He enchanted everyone he came into contact with.
Home is an odd place right now. It's the first time I've lived in a home without a pet wandering around. I miss his prescence. I miss tripping over the daft hound every time I move about. I miss retrieving his head from the bin (he frequently got the bin lid stuck on his head!). I miss him coming to greet me when I get in from a trip out. I miss the routine of the morning with him, watching from the kitchen window as he mooches about the garden while I make the morning cuppa. I just miss him being here.
He came into my life (as did his companion Kelly, who I blogged about last year when we lost her) at a very difficult time for me. I was recently separated from Lemmy's dad and for the first time in just over two years getting used to not being with my son every day. Those days when he was with his dad were emotionally draining. If it hadn't been for these dogs I probably would have stayed in bed those days. I certainly would have descended into deep depression. But I had these two furry creatures to look after, and they comforted me during lonely times. Oz-dog more so than Kelly (she was defintely Oz-man's dog). I cried into his fur - he would nudge me to keep fussing him and was a great distraction for me.
He's not had an easy life with many operations and somewhat limited mobility, and yet even up to the ripe old age of 11 he kept his puppy like enthusiasm for life right up until those last two days.
I miss him. I want my stupid, forever hungry, totally clumsy, ever friendly dog back.
My son was right in his statement when told that Oz-dog had gone 'i'll miss him, but I had lots of fun with him and that's the most important thing'
We're very sad at losing him, but very glad that we had the pleasure of him in our lives.