There are a number of things that I am happy that I’ve done in life, one of them is volunteering. Specifically, I learned so much in the short time that I did hospice volunteering while in Charleston. I got to see the affects of long-term care on the caretaker. I got a little training in the psychology and stresses of long-term care and, quite honestly, this helped me in taking care of Hobbs and not having feelings of ‘guilt’ when there were times that I was just tired of doing it.

When I got tired of doing it, I let someone else take the help; I had no respite caregiver; however, I would take a weekend to myself, board him, and take of for some destination, or none at all. This helped to keep my sanity.

Now that he is gone, of course, there is a sense of longing, yet, without feelings of guilt, there is a sense of relief. Relief that he no longer has to fight that struggle. Relief that I no longer have to help him with that struggle. Had I thought that there were a chance that he could have had an improvement in his life, I would have taken it, but, alas, that’s not what I thought, how I felt.

Now, it’s time for me to reshape my life, once again. I can resume those things that his illness made or difficult, or perhaps provided me an excuse not to do, such as my morning walks. Also, it’s been a great while since I’ve had a good round of early morning photography. Before, I’d always have to make sure that I was back home by about 8:00 AM to give him is food and injection. Further, I needed to be back by 4:30 for same. Then, as he was an older gentleman, he couldn’t hold it very long, thus constraining my day a bit further. Leaving him alone for more than 3 or 4 hours was not a good idea, more constraints.

That said, I did all of these things willingly and happily. Hey! That was my buddy. Now, it’s just different. I can take off at the spur of a moment and stay for as long as I like – the responsibility has shifted entirely to me. No excuses.

It was a fantastic, fulfilling, loving experience – now it’s time to explore, unbridled.

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