When the handle comes off the door

You never are ready for the Christmas ‘gifts’ that are the adult version of the surprise you never asked for. The surprise you wish you could return to sender. 

On Christmas Day the handle came off my door literally and not so literally. As I closed the front door the handle came off in my hands with ease as much as the hard to digest news that pulled the stitch on my world. Christmas Day was the day when I came undone. Nothing stops the ravelling that begins within. But when you get a grip on the panic and get really grounded – it’s really amazing how the perceived personal mess moves away like grey clouds in a potential blue sky. The clouds are still there lurking but you have got respite to breathe deeply and fish for a solution rather than feeling thrown overboard. Solutions end most problems after all. 

So my Christmas became my end and my beginning all at once. One part still clinging to the idea of ‘it will be ok’ comforted me. My rescue life has constantly lifted these words like a weight to build up necessary muscle. And during these times we need lots of mental muscle that leads to resilience. 

Time alone does not come up with solutions. You could be waiting forever. And as I continue this post now where I left off, it’s a week into January and rationality, dialogue and lots of YouTube mediations and Ted Talks later – all is OK. Yes, different but OK. You manage the hurt by getting on with life as best you can and loving you and those you love more. 

It’s 3:30am and I’m eating stew. No, not my first choice of food at this ‘should be in bed’ time, but it’s the sudden realisation of the need for self-care to be able to other-care and to give my body nutrients I have literally starved myself of. 

I haven’t slept for more than 3 block hours since December the 22nd. So sugar has replaced my sleep. One of our rescues needs intensive care and my greatest fear is one of our rescues dying alone. It has happened and it’s desperately sad. They survived way too long on their own before getting here, I try so hard to ensure they don’t leave us on their own. So I’m typing this and reading hard to digest medical articles and others about boosting a cat’s immunity, and at the same time being sold cures from the black market. 

Pat, who is the other human who lives at Hilltop Sanctuary has been busy feeding starving horses and pulling some out of rivers. One land owner made it known today that he doesn’t want hungry horses fed on his land. He owns the land but not the horses. He finished the conversation by saying ‘I’m an animal lover!’ Oh, Dear! 

Ireland’s chronic equine crisis is a really ugly truth we are not facing. The suffering is unimaginable. Imagine being a pregnant mare stuck in a river overnight in these freezing temperatures. Imagine she was driven in by thrill seekers on quads. Imagine she was skeletal. I look at our rescue ponies and I am so grateful we got them out of these type of cruel situations. And look at them now…

I try to spend lots of time with the Croga Collies. With them I’m reminded of where bravery takes you: it only takes you forward. So, I’m boosting my bravery again for 2021 by holding on tight to those words of simple solace ‘it will be OK’ and lifting and lifting them up and up, again and again. If I’m not brave, I can’t be brave for the animals that come here. 

As I finish my stew, I’m thinking I’d prefer weetabix with warm milk and there is a time and place for stew. Just like there is a time to worry and a time to take a break from it. I’m going to have a ‘worry o’clock’ in 2021 – when I sit down and face all the worries I had during the day but refused entry to. Worry and stress really should have a time and place. It’s pointless saying ‘don’t worry’ – maybe we should say ‘worry later!’ during its allocated time. Worry is as useful as a chocolate teapot really. 

Covid is testing us but we all know how to do well in tests! Worry is definitely not a technique to use. 

Take care & it will be OK…

2021 will be our lucky number!

Catriona x

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