After my encounter in the courtroom I decided that the best thing for me to do would be to leave town and start afresh somewhere new. Fortunately for me I was in receipt of a number of offers from Universities across the UK and in the end my decision was made based on which institution was furthest away from where I lived, I believed that if I could get far enough away then I would be able to leave it all behind, unfortunately it really doesn’t work like that.
Before I could leave I had to face up to the worst part of having a pet – saying a final goodbye. My dog was now at quite advanced in age and both my Mum and Step Dad were worried that they would be left with the tough decision of when to call the vet in and so they asked me to consider having her put to sleep before I left as the decision should be mine. I agreed to have her assessed by the Vet and they advised me that she wouldn’t last much longer and that she would pine terribly when I left so I agreed to book her in to be put to sleep the following week. Despite the fact that that my Grandad and the Vet kept telling me that it was for the best as she was clearly in pain I half hoped that she would pass away naturally before the day came and thus save me the horrible duty.
In order to try to distract me from the horrible task awaiting me I decided to arrange a farewell get together for my college friends. I had three friends at College, M, B and S although S had left our course early due to ill health I remained in touch with her outside of college and she had become a very close friend and confident. I met M and B for lunch in town and we had a great time, we were all full of excitement and hope for the next chapter in our lives and promised to keep in touch despite the distance.
I had arranged to see S at her home as she was too ill to make it out for lunch with M and B but unfortunately the day before I was to go and see her I got a call from her husband telling me that she had been moved into a Hospice as her health had declined very suddenly. The news was devastating; we knew that she wasn’t going to recover from her illness but no one had expected her to decline as quickly as she did. S’s husband told me that she was sleeping most of the time and was refusing visitors other then him as she didn’t want people to see her looking as poorly as she did, she preferred it that we all remembered her as she had been when we had last seen her. Whilst I totally understand and respect what she wanted I wish I had been able to see her one last time just to tell her how much she meant to me.
I had my appointment with the Vet a couple of days later. On the day I took my dog for one final walk before getting a bus to the Vet’s, it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined it would be, I was allowed to stay with her right up until the end which was very peaceful and I remained calm throughout; it wasn’t until I came out afterwards that I broke down in tears. I sat around in the park for a good while and then went home. When I got home there was a message on the answer-phone from S’s husband to tell me that she had passed away that morning, although it was only 2pm in the afternoon I went straight to my bed and cried myself to sleep.
S’s funeral took place two days before I left town, I’m pretty sure I was still hungover when I boarded the train that would take me to my new life but I was also full of hope that I would be able to re-invent myself somewhere new where no one knew about me.