Christmas and Cara

Grandad cuddles are the best 
I’ve noticed a reluctance to write about the last week. It’s something about making it more real. We’ve been going day to day enjoying the pleasure of sharing Christmas with our family, including  our grandson,Davie for whom every gift opened was worthy of of a ‘wow’ alongside the distress of seeing our beloved dog, Cara, go through a terrible time.
On thé Monday before Christmas we took Cara to the vet hospital. Our own vet had referred her eventually when they were no longer sure of what the growth on her leg was. They gave us no warning of what was to come. The vet who assessed her told us straight away they thought it was an aggressive cancer and they did a series of tests to get more information. By the end of that day they advised that there was no spread and it was hard to know exactly but they thought it might be a sarcoma that comes from blood vessels. We had to make a quick decision as the time taken for the most accurate diagnosis may allow such a cancer to spread, meaning amputating the leg was no longer an option. We questioned, wept, discussed and processed such a devastating thing for our beautiful long legged lurcher to cope with. The vet listened and answered clearly and kindly. The decision was made and Cara had her back leg removed on Christmas Eve. She didn’t know the timing but we did.
So our wonderful children held us close and we cooried in for a family Christmas. Every wow from Davie with each parcel pulled open was a balm to our aching hearts. We played games, we laughed, we cooked then ate like kings, we opened new books, we read stories, we walked and talked. I will remember it as a very precious time.
the eyes have it 
Cara has been home for three days now and is improving. She’s managing to walk on her three legs cautiously. We’ve coaxed her appetite with salmon and rice. Her last meal was so tasty, the cat tried to share it with her! I’ve shared with her the new white fleece I bought and it’s very well received. It’s softness even got our neutered male cat very excited! She’s sleepy and healing and unlike us she’s not anxious about the cytology results. She is in each moment; sometimes snoozing, sometimes excited to see our daughter or son, sometimes licking her lips, sometimes whimpery and sore. But she doesn’t worry about the future, she will learn to walk comfortably and hopefully run again and won’t lament those lost days of four legs. 
So much of my pain lies in remembering what I can’t do and chewing over worries for the future that may or may not happen. I know from my mindfulness practice that staying in the moment is the best way to get through but times like these can impact on the very practice that would help.
But I also know that like me she will adapt and have fun again. We’ve shed so many tears for her, much more than I’ve ever wept for myself. Don’t ask me to explain that...?
Our Grandson like Cara is in each moment, enjoying the new toys, the different food, Christmas cracker hats torn apart, pulling open parcels with no heed of contents, no judgement, just pleasure all wrapped in a loving family. I heard a discussion about what people remembered most from Christmases in the past. And the norm was never about gifts but about time with family and friends, about games shared, about inappropriate Nana moments ( or maybe that’s just my Mum?!) about sledging when the rare white christmas happened. It was time together and connection, shared memories, rarely about a gift. 
The gift is our time invested in family and friends and for us, it’s our much loved pets too. So it really has been a special time with the whole range of quite raw emotions. It seems in 2020 we face uncertainty but in truth we all do. 

Wishing you and yours health and happiness in 2020.


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