Feeling guilty about feeling good

Well it’s been a good day, the sun has been shining and I have got loads of stuff done. I have taken a big tree down, cut both lawns, had several trips to the tip, hoovered the tree out the car, and done washing and ironing.

I am feeling a great sense of satisfaction and a little bit tired, not sure if that’s the busy physical day or the Pimms I have just had on the patio!

I am also feeling guilty about my productive day because I enjoyed it. We cremated Max yesterday yet I feel like maybe I should be sat here in my PJ’s wailing that I miss him and my heart is broken. Well it is, and I do miss him, but I was actually able to do the things I have not been able to do with Max around today.

Gardening was impossible with Max; he would try and follow me around but being blind meant he would crash into everything and I would end up just steering him round the garden so he didn’t hurt himself. Ironing was also a problem; he would pace and crash into the ironing board too.

I  also felt motivated today, something I have not felt for some time. Where has this motivation come from? I think it comes from having three whole nights of full sleep!

There have been days where I have struggled to just cook dinner I have been so exhausted. I have always been super motivated but these last seven months it’s slowly been disappearing. I have felt like someone has taken my batteries out. The running and gym sessions have been infrequent when I am usually up and out three or four times a week. Even emptying the dishwasher felt like a giant task when it only takes five minutes.

The lack of sleep and exhaustion also meant that I became grumpy and snappy with my husband. I forgot things and sometimes I would have to ask him to repeat what he had said because it just didn’t go in. I got angry and frustrated very quickly and my tolerance for things was definitely lower. At the supermarket someone was in my way and I just wanted to shout “For f***k sake they’re just baked beans, hurry up!” as I was trying to get to the ketchup.

Normally I am a chilled relaxed person but I have not been over the last few months. I snapped at Max when I was really tired and he had accidentally left a puddle on the floor. It wasn’t his fault and hubs would come and take over before the tears of exhaustion started.

So it feels a real luxury today to be able to get things done without a blind shepherd following me around on my heels. It is also nice to feel motivated, to be able to concentrate, to remember and want to do things. I have driven the wrong way a few times over the last few months and even forgot where I am supposed to be going and what day it is on really bad days.

I am an annoying morning person and I even felt like a run this morning which I have not really done in months, the batteries are starting to feel recharged and I am starting to feel normal again.

I have felt depressed and tearful over the last few months and I have cancelled on friends because I didn’t have the energy to listen to them waffle on about their lives, because mine was dreadful.

I didn’t want to hear about the fun they were having or their dramas because I was too full up of my own stuff. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to tell them to shut up because I am really not interested in the movie they saw last night or if I wanted to burst into tears and say “My life is shit right now all I do is follow the dog around, clean up poo and clean his nose!” Most of the time I just stayed home instead (sorry friends).

Sleep is so important isn’t it? Without it life just becomes unbearable, if you have had kids you probably know this and to be honest I wasn’t that sympathetic; I didn’t have kids and you chose them so get on with it was kind of my thinking on one level.

I have gained a new empathy now though having lived with out sleep for 7 months, it’s a bit shit isn’t it? While we are on the empathy subject I have also learnt that being a carer isn’t an easy job.

Often people don’t chose to be carers; someone gets sick or situations change and you may become a carer. Some people do it professionally but there are many unpaid and under valued carers working day in and day out without pay to look after their relatives and I have a new found respect for how hard and relentless it can be. Support is so vital but so hard to find at times, exhaustion is inevitable if respite care is not available.

When living with Max any trips out without him were often cut short because we didn’t know if Max would be okay. We came home once to find kettlebells all over the lounge; he had fallen and had a bit of a panic, there was poo again to clean up as he got confused about what was inside and outside and his brain inflammation messed up his thinking.

So today, not having to care for Max and having motivation, felt really good but I also felt guilty for feeling so good and not sitting crying into my tissues in my pyjamas.

There are moments the grief arrives, talking to my neighbour about Max I felt the emotion well up when I said he wasn’t happy and that I couldn’t give him his sight back. A great big lump arrived in my throat, that’s the grief and helplessness I lived with, which got me down. I would have sold my car if it meant Max getting his sight back but there wasn’t anyone who could do that so we had to live with it.

We struggled and now he is gone the struggle is over. There is relief, there is grief, and now the guilt at liking the space, the energy, and the sense of achievement because I got all the jobs done in one day! And guilt again as I type this because I am admitting it is easier without a blind dog who doesn’t eat well and didn’t sleep.

I feel a bit scared writing tonight’s blog, it’s not glossed up, its said as it is. I worry about being judged as heartless because I dare to say I have had a good day, when I think people will think I don’t care about Max because it has been a good day.

I know this is probably my own critic, it’s probably the same for the mother who admits she likes it when her children stay at their friends and she gets some quiet time for a few hours. It doesn’t have to be one or the other; we can love them but also admit that they can be hard work too.

I’m shattered now, but it’s a good shattered, one that comes from being busy working physically all day (though as I said it might also be the Pimms; it was just one but I am a lightweight drinker!)

I enjoyed my dinner on the patio earlier, it was yet another thing we couldn’t do with Max. Just sitting in the garden was stressful because he would crash into the patio furniture and then crash into the gate which he got confused with the back door. Again it would end up with me steering him back into the house but he would just come out again to find us. Repeat, repeat, we gave up and went inside where he would settle on his sofa.

Oh Max I do miss you but it’s a lot easier without you; sorry Big Ears but it’s true.

I hope he is running free at Rainbow Bridge saying the same thing: “Thanks for looking after me Mum buts it’s a damn sight easier being up here at Rainbow Bridge than it was trying to follow you around tripping over the hoover, the ironing board and all the other bloody obstacles that seemed to appear from nowhere. Oh and every time you to put the washing on I would trip over the laundry bag and bang my head on the washing machine door!”

That’s all for tonight, thanks for reading this one is a long one.