Conversations with self

25th May 2023

This morning I may have ground my teeth down to nubs.

It’s a really bad habit, grinding your teeth but I am not even conscious of it until sometimes the jaw shouts:

“OY! Stop it!”


It was so bad once, I could barely open my mouth to speak, and eating was too painful. Today it isn’t that bad. Just feels like earache.

My batteries are flat.

When you have no stamina, they run down fast.


Periodically, I find it a good idea to refresh the rugs. Living with so many cats, I am a little neurotic about odours.

It would be better not to have rugs but naked floors are so stark and little cat feet scrabble about on them with no purchase, which would not do.

So, rug refreshing.


All prompted by Willow’s sudden “interest” in a new corner.

My method is simple. A light spray of Clorox water and energetic wiping. This suffices for random vomits.

The good thing about having a lot of cats, is that vomit never actually touches the rug which is covered in a thick layer of hair.

You wouldn’t know, to look at them, but it comes up by the fistful.

Going along in this manner helps to detect more serious deposits and then intensive cleaning is initiated.


It’s really not advisable to go around this house at ground level because inevitably you will come upon something you’ll wish you hadn’t.

Perhaps this morning I had blinders on because I didn’t notice any of the normal finds.

The other day it was mouse bits.


Activity such as this morning’s chore affords an opportunity for Brain to engage:

“Hello! Time for a big think.

Otherwise known as a long conversation with self. Which is mostly about something that is annoying me.

It can be useful, because at times I will find that I have thrashed whatever it was to bits and done with it.


“Still stuck aren’t you?”

Yes I was, and now I got down to why.

It had been implied that people who grieve inappropriately for animals are so stupid, they expect their pets to live forever. So our grief is self-inflicted?

What has been niggling at me is the other implication that people who are childless are incapable of experiencing deep pain.


Losing a child, I fully understand is devastating. I have known many who lost a child and some who lost more than one. My own grandmother lost her youngest daughter in infancy and her eldest son, the bread winner, in a motorbike accident.

There is no loss as awful.

Bereaved parents are a dreadful, exclusive fraternity.


But there are other kinds of pain.

By that, I don’t mean physical pain although I will use that as an analogy.

Two years ago when I woke up after an emergency bowel re-section, I found myself in a room with a woman who had had her gall bladder removed.

She moaned loudly and at length about it being one of the most painful surgeries. From personal experience I knew this was not so and her wailing contributed to my own discomfort.

But I persuaded myself that it didn’t matter what I thought. For that woman the pain was unbearable.

Different, but not less.


To compare the loss of a child with the loss of a pet is thoughtless and insensitive.

The two are incomparable because they are simply not the same.

But being childless does not get us off the hook where grief is concerned. Would that it did.

To dismiss us who grieve our pets is to not understand the painful experiences we have had with humans, which drove us to be so attached to our animals.


Just as I cannot know the pain of losing a child, I do not expect anyone to understand the pain I have felt. But don’t scoff at it.

Everything these days feels like a competition. Why is it necessary to be the best, to have the most, to suffer the worst?

By the time I finished with the rugs my batteries were flat. Whether from the exertion or from the conversation, I couldn’t say.

But I am done with it.

8 thoughts on “Conversations with self

  1. At least, with conversations with yourself, you can be sure of an attentive listener! I’m a teeth grinder, and have a guard to wear at night but I loathe it, and rarely use it.

  2. It should not be a competition. It is all 100%. Personal experience unique to the individual may provide the relativity. Or not.
    I was just speaking with a friend who deeply mourns the loss of his his wife. He visits her gravesite three times a week to talk with her. But the loss of his dog was the the most painful experience he has ever had.

  3. I can only say: I wholeheartedly agree with you πŸ˜”. Oh, and I’m also glad I don’t have rugs, it might become a long conversation with myself! Beautiful flower photos.

  4. We have two washable rugs that Ollie lies on. A good vacuum removes 90% of the fur, then they go in the wash. It always seems a little pointless, as 12 hours later they are probably no better than they were. But it is a psychological need to know we have cleaned them.
    Grief for a pet is still grief, and doesn’t need to be measured against anything else. I’m with you on that, Carolyn.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  5. I agree with you too. There is no competition. It’s possible that I read the blog post you might be thinking of, where those statements were made. If so, I found that point of view to be very judgmental and unempathic. Why even compare one type of love with another, one type of loss with another?

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