Thursday, 6 August 2009


The initial pain is starting to wear off a little, the shock, the devastation, that deep aching void that can never be completely filled.

I can now at least talk to friends and neighbours about Ollie without having a complete melt-down (I wait until I am back in the house on my own {weak grin}). I don't watch any soap-operas but I suspect that some of my screaming, howling, crying sessions would have not been out of place on Eastenders; I didn't know I had grief like that inside me, this is the worst bereavement of my life. It's not just me - Management is hurting every bit as much as I am, and I know that many friends and neighbours have been in tears too - Ollie had that effect on people, he had quite a fan club.

Many of the tears have been triggered by reading cards, letters, emails or blog comments. I never realised before just how much comfort one receives from these little notes of kindness whether it is finely crafted prose or a brief note that just says "sorry". Every single one has helped us and I have learnt that in future I must never be embarrassed about sending condolences, never feel that I don't have the right words - at the most dreadful of dark times, any words are OK.

If you thought that Mr Hairy's demise would mean the end of "puppy pictures" - go and read a different blog. Management and I have already started looking through not only old photo albums, but those boxes full of the packets of pictures which didn't make it to an album - we're surprised how few tears there have been and how much pleasure this has given us.

This must be 11 or 12 years ago - a newly created wildlife pond near our previous home - I think it was the first time Ollie had seen a swan and it took a lot of yelling on my part to dissuade him from swimming over to say 'hello' ! (taken on our first digital camera, and now scanned in, not the image quality I've become used to with the Canon)

Thought for the Day: next time a friend is in trouble, if you are near enough - take food!

I have never really "got" the custom in some parts of America to turn up with a casserole for a bereaved or sick family but now I understand. For part of this week Management and I have just eaten sandwiches and cornflakes (but not at the same time), although the freezer did get a hammering for the bolognaise and ratatouille I made recently. I did not have the energy to fix a proper meal, I just could not be bothered, I didn't care. Having stuff in the freezer that could just be heated and eaten saved us.

A much valued friend of mine, a cancer survivor, once wrote a semi-serious piece for a magazine about how to help folk during chemo treatment. I'll never forget her advice: "The kindest thing you can do is to drop off a meal in a disposable container so that the family can have a good hot meal and not have to worry about "Whose Tupperware is this, anyway???" My poor non-cooking husband was SO happy when people would show up with food! So that's my Big Advice for the day".

So there you are, that's Kim's advice, and she is a Damn Smart Woman and all who know her tend to do as she says (although that might be because we are a teeny weeny bit scared of what she might do if we ignore her)!


  1. I'm glad the pain is starting to ease up a little bit. Don't expect me too soon with the casserole though will you? Due to my general lack of cooking ability and the distance between us, it's not going to happen!

  2. All good advice Bilbo, though I must confess it's taken me 5 years since my mum died to be able to look at a lasagne again :o). Glad to hear you and Management are enjoying the good memories too, and also not starving. I wish I did live closer to bring the casserole. And Sue, what do you mean your lack of cooking ability? I've eaten at your place and thoroughly enjoyed what I had. You don't need to do cordon bleu for everyday meals! I seldom spend more than 20 mins making dinner.

  3. Thank you girls, yesterday was a fairly good day, today is not so good - that is the way it will be for some considerable time.

    Ali - it's 32 years since someone very special died and I STILL cannot be near Lemon Meringue Pie.

    And if you seldom spend more than 20 minuts on dinner - I WANT YOUR COOKBOOK - or you could do all of us a HUGE favour and start a recipe section at the Oak Cotage blog (and I am VERY serious about that request . . . .)

  4. It's good to see you Bilbo - and what a lovely pic!

    It's a shame I'm not nearer as I'm much better at the 'practical' than at the hand-holding (which is why I dropped a pack of nappies off each week for six months when partner-in-grime Jane had her first little one - but didn't do a lot of coo-ing!)

    And I'm with Sewali on the 20minutes making dinner - although I LOVE cooking for the week on a Saturday late afternoon, when you'll find me with a glass of wine and something on the CD whilst wielding a pan or a wooden spoon ... BUT I'm not spending all evening in the kitchen when there's gardening to be enjoyed!

  5. So glad you are bringing out the pictures and able to reminiss (sp?).

    I would have fed you something different every day had we lived closer - I can also do big hugs and cuddles and provide big boxes of tissues......and don't mind a wet shoulder!

    BTW my word verification today is? "omend"! now what do you think of that for an apt word!!

  6. May I please show this post to my children as proof that I am Damn Smart and they should start listening to me?

  7. Kim, do you want me to edit the bit about being scared of you {giggle}. You go right ahead and drag your children to the computer - you don't need my permission!


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