It’s been awhile since I have written a blog post or properly caught up on people’s posts, so I hope my regular readers are doing ok. Life has changed completely since our new puppy Daola became part of our family. Looking after a pup and getting through each working day with 2 shifts (morning and evening) has been very different to what it was before. A lot of adjustments have been made and I must admit the first 3 months have been tough. It’s been similar to looking after a baby, even though I don’t have kids. This is what most people have been telling me, anyway. Daola has needed constant entertaining, training and up to 8 trips outside for pee pees. Luckily now, things have started settling down a little. She doesn’t need as many toilet trips outside and her walks have been reduced to 4 a day, including her very brief toilet outing at 5:30 am before work.
We have been very lucky to have chosen a pup that is affectionate, cuddly, playful, loyal and always extremely happy to see us, after brief times apart. As a previous cat person, I have completely fallen in love with being a dog mum for the first time. Its been lovely seeing her learn from us as quickly as she has and she seems to be quite intelligent as well. Stubborness and of course selective listening are quite common traits of Daschunds, so at times I have felt very frustrated.
In early December we had a brief holiday and we took Daola with us to Greece for 3 nights, as it had been 10 months since I had last flown home. The last time we were in Athens, we had to empty the flat that we had used for almost 5 years. This was an important decision as it still connected me to my father, which I was already estranged from.
Luckily, our trip to Greece in December wasn’t as challenging as we were worried it would be. We booked a quiet pet friendly hotel in a nice quiet area and Daola luckily slept a lot and was generally very good during the flights. Although the journey was around 7 hours in total, including trains, taxis etc..she did great for a 5 month old pup.
Staying in the hotel we chose, actually had a lot of pros if I were to compare it to the flat we had been staying in over the last years. We had breakfast made for us, we had very good WIFI (which we never had in the flat), there were no cockroaches or outdated toilet drainage systems and I didn’t need to clean anything, as I did upon arrival every previous time. The only cons of going to Greece now is that I no longer have a home there and I no longer have a father or half brother I am able to visit. Due to the toxicity of my father’s way of life, it is just impossible. This always makes me sad understandably and as it is my father’s birthday today, I am feeling even more vulnerable.
My brother unfortunately always tells me about the fact that he is sending my father his birthday gift. He also still talks about him in such an innocent manner. He just doesn’t have the capacity to understand the complexity of why it is too painful for me to talk about him. He also hasn’t seen my father act narcissistically or maybe is just not able to accept that both his parents are narcissistic. I have allowed my brother to continue living in his little bubble of my father being the non narcissist but once again I feel like I have to swallow my frustration and true feelings due my brother’s special needs.
As so many of you know, I always feel very lonely at this time of year, when I realise how much I have lost. I still miss my Dad and always seem to drift into imaginary fantasies of what it could have been like if he had made healthy choices. I imagine how it could have been if he had chosen a healthy wife and had a healthy lifestyle. How we would all spend Christmas together and I would teach my half brother all sorts of important things. There was once a time, where my brother, my half brother, my Dad, his wife and I would all spend Christmas together. Although it never felt comfortable, it still meant that we had our Dad in our life. Now that is no longer the case. He is too sick to think of us affectionately. He is too addicted to his wife and current life situation. We don’t matter anymore. We used to matter much more to him, when we were still a family and he was still married to our mum.
On a more positive note, I just wanted to write that despite the underlying sadness I feel on my Dad’s birthday today and generally this time of year, I am so incredibly grateful to have my hubby to cuddle up to and to have Daola in our life for our first Christmas together. We may not have our parents or other family but we do have a lot of love in our own home. I never want to take what I have for granted, as I know how tough life has been at other points in my life. I value each and every moment of relaxation, calmness and joy.
So for all of you out there who are also struggling with grief at this time of year just remember to notice the beauty that surrounds you. Remember to notice the little things that may otherwise go unnoticed. Remember to value those passing moments of love and joy and capture them in a blog, in a poem or in a photograph. Capturing these happy moments in my life is so important for my mental health. We all need something to hold onto when things get tough.
Today, I will hold onto to some of these happy memories.Photographs have always been my most treasured possession so I will always dig them out and remember.
Love Athina ♥♥