I’m realizing that without Pacha in my life, a lot of the infrastructure of my days has disappeared. She would know the moment my breathing changed from sleeping to waking. I would awaken to her gazing into my eyes, lovingly. (Same way my daughter does when I wake her. There is something very exquisite about the waking gaze of affection.) She would need to go out for pee. She would patiently wait for me to do so, first.
From the, every logistic of my day was infused with her. Feeding her before I made meals for Zuna and myself, so that she wouldn’t be at my heels the entire time. Walks. Her expected life span was 12-14 years, at most. She was diagnosed with cancer when she had just turned 14. She lived another 31 months. So, for those last 2.5 years, I was tending an elderly dog. This meant she wasn’t able to wait 8 hours or more between bathroom breaks. If I needed to leave the house, I had to plan 20 minutes ahead of time to get her out to relieve herself. Then I had to plan returning in time for her. We got out in the middle of the night, at least once. In the last 6-8 months, it was at least two sleep interruptions.
Getting to sleep has been the biggest surprise. Pacha had a bed on the floor next to mine. Many years ago, she got a chicken bone splinter lodged in her throat (cooked chicken bones are deadly for dogs! Don’t dump your KFC remainders on the ground, please.) When it became infected, her throat swelled up and she couldn’t breathe. She had to have a tracheotomy. This left scar tissue in her throat and gave her louder than normal breathing. Only when she really relaxed and was sleeping did her breathing become quiet. At bedtime, she would lay down in her bed and I would lay in mine. The lights would go off and I could hear her breathing. I would fall asleep as her breathing quieted. I didn’t realize how much my sleep pattern had become regulated by that. I’m having trouble falling asleep, now.
It’s all different, now. I don’t have any specific need to get up at a particular time in the morning. I don’t have the built in exercise director. It doesn’t matter when we eat, as Pacha the Poacher does not need to be distracted with her own meal.
I need to reinvent structure in my life. I will function better with structure. Without an externally imposed structure from a job or a school, I have nothing other than my own sense of what would be good for me to compel me to establish any routines.
Additionally, I have health issues which limit my ability to stay organized and manage tasking. This has been an issue for years. Pacha acted as a kind of reminder system for some of the more mundane aspects of managing a daily life. With her gone, I need to find tools to help me. I need to think about considering all the activities of a day and of my interests and callings and set up a detailed schedule and reminder system.
Basically, I need a project management system for my life. I’m going to try using Smartsheet. I’ll make lists for everything. This will be good. I’m going to see if I can schedule a life with exercise, singing, knitting, writing, social time, etc. Things will be broken into subcategories. That is there will be personal writing, writing about knitting, socio-political writing, etc. Everything I’ve wanted to do will get a time commitment. Let’s see how that works.