A decade of living with another now no more, it has been a year since his passing and still memories seem haunted. Perhaps it was the way he lived and then left, perhaps ...
... perhaps the time spent together had been a learning curve and the time spent apart supposedly to catch our breaths from each others destruction.
Was there ever any intent to harm the other? Living as we did, did we live?
The dogs ... my children, each and every one ... having them put down when I could do nothing for Alf except watch and wait for his death seemed only to rub salt in a festering sore and my reality became almost see-through, thin enough to fray at the edges and be torn here and show a tear there.
Dealing with the euthanising of the animals became a war as I watched the state vet recoil from doing his duty with my children ... trusting, loving, hoping, expecting - only to be put down at the hands of a stranger because I could not face their deaths as well as deal with Alf's dying. I miss them and my feet are empty, my hands constantly looking to reassure the spaces they occupied, finding the void their leaving has left I turn to switching off and being external.
Never again my own, never again! Not man nor beast ... alone I am better and the hurt will heal but the closeness will not be part of my reality again.