This has nothing to do with travel, so if you just want to read about my travelling adventures, move on to the next post. It’s also lengthy. And miserable.
I am sad.
My dog (well, the family dog) had to be put to sleep a few days ago because she was very old and in a lot of pain. This didn’t overly faze me until a couple of hours ago. I knew when I left on my trip that I was most likely not going to see her again, so I said my goodbyes the day before my flight. I had also heard from my parents since leaving that she had been suffering more and more over time, so I had pretty much prepared myself and come to terms with it all and therefore I wasn’t shocked when it happened.
A little earlier this evening I went upstairs and met the dog that lives with the friend I’m staying with. She’s the same breed as my dogs were and is incredibly friendly. I knelt down stroking her and suddenly became really very sad because it was an instant reminder of the comfort and affection a pet can provide.
About a month ago I was lying in bed having real trouble getting to sleep. I think I’d accidentally napped earlier in the evening and so I had no hope of falling asleep properly for several hours. Lying in bed in the early hours of the morning with nothing to do but think is not a healthy option for a lot of people, and I can be one of them on occasion.
I was thinking about my dog and that she’d likely not be alive for too much longer and I was very thankful that I got to hug her and say goodbye before I left. I got to thinking that, over all, death doesn’t hugely bother me on an emotional level. The only people I’ve lost in my life have been non-immediate relatives and family friends – no one I have been intimately close to myself. I’m sad when it happens and I feel huge amounts of sorrow for the people directly affected who were close to the person, but I don’t find myself falling into despair or black pits of depression. I’ve always wondered if I was a little off in that respect.
While I was lying in bed (next time I’ll read a bloody book) I started to think about how I would cope if someone truly close to me died, like one of my parents. The answer is that I don’t think I would, at all. I would shut down and be emotionally unable to comprehend the utter change in paradigm.
But what upsets me more than the thought of living without one of my parents is that if that ever happens, I might not have had the chance to say goodbye like I did with the dog, or to tell them all the things that they should be told.
Because frankly, I don’t tell my parents I love them nearly enough. That is to say, at all. I’d feel strange saying “I love you” to either parent, and that’s not because we’re not close, because we are, and it’s not because I have issue expressing emotion or affection, because I don’t. It’d just sound weird coming out of my mouth like that. I show them in other ways and with other things I say and do, and I’m going to go ahead and guess they know regardless. Because they bloody well should.
You see, it’s not even necessarily not getting to tell either one of them that I loved them that’d really cut me up if they were suddenly not there any more. It’s all the other things that wouldn’t have been said.
My sister and I have, without a shade of arrogance or pride, grown up to be fucking awesome people, all things considered. We both work (-ed in my case) for a living, we make and pay our own way, we’re respectful of others and polite and well mannered. Comparatively speaking, we were pretty much troubleless children and teenagers in respect to our behaviour. Neither of us has ever had a problem drinking too much, or with drugs, crime, befriending bad groups of people, or any other such similar. We were by no means perfect, but in the scheme of things, it could have been a lot worse.
There is absolutely no one to thank for this other than my parents. School did not go well for either me or my sister, and I’ve never had teachers to look up to or thank for influencing me whatsoever. My sister had a similarly rough time in school for her own reasons and lacked incredible amounts of support from non-family avenues.
Despite all of this, my parents for some reason think they’re bad parents. Or at least my father definitely does for reasons I have yet to and will never comprehend. There was an incredibly brief amount of time when I was very young when he wasn’t at home and I didn’t see him very often, and later he worked in a job for years which stressed him out and made him sporadically grumpy. My mother works herself too damn hard and consequently got stressed out and bites people (I jest) or shouted a bit. And they think this makes them terrible parents.
I just… don’t understand.
No, the thing that would really hurt if either of them were taken away would be the thought that I never got to tell them or they never knew just how much I appreciate them and everything they have done for me.
Both times I’ve quit my job to be incredibly irresponsible and swan off around the world on a whim they have been nothing but full of support. Whenever I have been having trouble with anything from how to deal with work issues to problems with a girlfriend of the time they have been there to comfort, advise, and in one case provide a lawyer (who has advised me to deny everything and say no more on the matter).
I never understand when people say they have trouble talking to their parents, because I could talk to mine about anything with absolutely no fear of judgement or anything other than acceptance and love.
I could not have asked for better parents or to be brought up in any other way. And if anything ever happened to either of them without them knowing it, and just how thankful I am, it’d haunt me until the day I died.
Note to self: do not watch potentially emotional films when you’ve recently received bad news about a pet. Must go write something more cheery.