Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sore Knees, Scary Phonecalls and Sad Goodbyes

We have had ten days of interesting (life here is rarely anything but…).
What has contributed to this interesting?
My Steve hurt his knee playing softball; he hit the ball, turned cockeyed and headed toward first base. In the short jaunt to first base he realized his knee wasn’t right. But he continued in the game, and according to others finished two awesome plays.  
I sat with my grandson in the doctor’s office as they wheeled my Steve back for x-rays of said knee. Elijah’s little face grimaced with worry as they wheeled Gran’pa away. X-rays came back clear, and it has just been a steady daily process toward healing.
Last weekend I received a call while at work that there was an emergency. Everyone is okay; I’m okay she said to me in a shaky voice. I begin to shake too—all my insides suddenly going to jelly. An accident. She assured me she was not hurt. I wasn’t convinced. I wanted to see her for myself. I did. I used every mother sense I have to assess her state of being. She is stiff and sore and stressed. But she is alive. And beautiful. And carless—the vehicle, all crumpled and crunched metal, is immovable in the driveway. The latter can be remedied.
A couple of nights ago in the late of the evening, right before it was time to go to sleep, I slipped out of the bed and tiptoed downstairs.
I knew it was time to say goodbye to a longtime friend. I wanted to be alone in my goodbyes with no one watching or hearing. I wanted to be quiet and solitary in my grief. I eased down beside her, put my face up next to hers and sobbed. Tears, hot and gushing, ran down my face. I ran my fingers across her stout body. And she looked at me with sad knowing eyes and licked my face. I put my head down on her broad chest and wept more.
Zoe has been in our family since she was three and a half weeks old. According to some she was the ugliest dog in a large litter of boxer puppies that the mother abandoned.  The girls and I wanted a puppy to join our Molly. We brought all the puppies to our front porch, put them in the middle of our circle and weaned them out one by one by behavior. We narrowed it down to three puppies, put the others back in the box and began the choosing process. The girls picked Zoe. A white-faced Little Rascals looking dog. My two oldest daughters took turns feeding her through the night, waking every four hours to fill her tiny little tummy. Zoe would curl around their necks, and when she got big enough to tip the box over they crate trained her.
She became our friend. Early on we realized she liked to sneak out of the gate and run through the neighborhood. The girls would run after her furious and scolding and yet scared to death we would not find her. In the course of one of her runs a van clipped her back leg as she skittered across the road. The van’s tire ripped the pad of her paw and her spirit of running. When I broke my ankle and wrist I spent my time divided between a wheelchair and a loveseat. Zoe would come to the loveseat, lift the upper part of her body and lay down beside me. As close as she could get. Back legs still on the floor. She remained in that position for very long periods of time just to be beside me.
She put up with us getting a third dog. Ever so patient with him as he learned his place. There were many fights and blood shed over dog food bowls and rawhide bones. Zoe usually came out of the fight the most wounded. It broke my heart.
In the last six months her health and condition deteriorated rapidly. Zoe can barely walk unaided now, for the last month she has been on her rug rarely moving unless necessity forced her to do so. Even this morning she is curled in a tight ball—and Henry, the third dog, is as close to her as he can possibly get.
On Tuesday I made a very hard call to our vet—a friend of the family who has been taking care of our dogs since their arrivals. Two years ago he helped us say goodbye to our Molly. Today he will help us say goodbye to our Zoe girl.
Years ago before Molly I never understood the grieving. But now I do.
Yesterday someone very wise and kind told me to not be afraid to grieve for my friend—this sentient being who has made me laugh, protected me and comforted me on too many occasions to count. Today when we say goodbye to her I will bless God for twelve years of good friendship. All good gifts come from the Father. ALL good gifts. Zoe’s name means life. And through her God gave my girls and me a great deal of good life. I thank him. I praise him.
Yesterday in the rain My Steve, my Katherine and my David dug her place beside Molly in our backyard. 
Later we will bring this faithful friend back home.
Perhaps you will pray for us?


Elijah and Zoe
Judah, Anna, Elijah and Zoe.




llmac said...

What a precious post. I love you all so much and pray for God to wrap His loving arms around you all on this sad day.

Anna Bryant said...

I hate hard endings, but I am thankful that they marked a special beginning.

Love ya and praying for you! It's never easy losing a friend. Thank you for sharing your heart. *hug*

TARSmith said...

I wouldn't have understood this kind of grief 5 years ago, before we got Lily. My heart is heavy for all of you.

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