Back to our small family, the two dogs, the two cats and oodles of fish we tried to get back on track. Having left, although only for three days, Paul believed that I would go again. Other forces were also working against us. They were starting to worry about me at work as I had stopped eating everything apart from ice cream. After a particularly difficult evening at home, before coming in for a night shift, the night supervisor, realising the fragile state I was in sent me to talk to a nurse in the psych unit. He gave me the best piece of advice I have ever been given in my life. He made me see that whatever happened as a result of my leaving I would not be guilty of anything. That I would not be forcing Paul to do certain actions. He would make that choice himself. I would not be twisting his arm. So if he killed himself that was his choice. This unlocked a door and I could now look at my options clearly.
The end came a few weeks later in a violent, terrifying way. A restraining order in hand did nothing to quench my fear of unexpected contact. That fear stayed with me for years later but despite that life began again.
I left and the animals stayed behind. A solicitor dealt with the property and animal split up. Paul took the two dogs by his choice. I have no idea how they fared in the long run. I took the two cats as these he didn’t want. Kimberly went to my parents. Sammy had died only a short time before and they were missing her company and pleased to be able to take her. Snuffles went to my brother’s in-laws who had taken one of her kittens also. She lived a happy, spoilt life until she was 18 years old. The fish were sold as a bulk lot to the local aquarium for next to nothing.
I had no animals for the next ten years apart from Timmins, a ginger male cat that came with the house that I was minding for a friend who was working in China. Timmins died during the time I was there at the ripe old age of 20. He crawled inside a drain to take his last breath and the only way I could get him was to use the spear fishing gun to hook him up so that I could pull him out .(He was already dead). I wanted to give him a burial rather than leave him to rot in the drain.
My life changed dramatically during this ten years: university, dancing, work, business in Vanuatu, travelling and of course, the new man who I fell in love with.