Friday, March 20, 2015

A Week of Goodbyes

      Been away from pen and pad this week...An odd feeling for one who writes for a living. I feel as if I've come back from a foreign country. Nothing about this week was routine. Why it unfolded as it did has me reflecting still.
     Some life events demand that you simply in fully in doing less, releasing more. This was a week of those lessons, again and again.
    Goodbyes are tough on a good day. But to have three deeply emotional farewells in one week is rough on anyone...perhaps doubly so for the hopelessly sentimental...for a girl who adds meaning to the most banal of things.
     But nothing about this week was banal. Nothing trivial. Nothing trite. Rather than try to control it, I had no choice but to dance with it and accept it, and am no worse for the wear, though it has made for a lot of soul searching and contemplation about this thing called life. If I didn't know better, I would say that the moral of the story is to be prepared to let go at all times. For truly, anything I thought I must keep, control or otherwise possess, life has taught me this week, releasing is the only way to cope.
     From praying at the bedside of a cancer-ridden friend, to preparing meals for a bed-ridden mother, the first thing I'm grasping is that bodies aren't forever...not theirs, not mine, not any of ours.
Beautiful Lily
     And while it took 3 days, 4 friends and some (literal) blood, sweat and tears, homes aren't forever either. Saying goodbye to my last tie to Nashville was bittersweet, though the freedom it now affords me to focus entirely on farm living is a blessing to replace the sadness as more focused energies slowly replace the scattered ones.
     And then there was Lily.
     For reasons I can only attribute to God's timing, Lily appeared on my scene a week ago when someone reached out saying "This Pyr needs a home." My home was not the forever solution; I knew that going in. And as much as I knew a week of juggling a new pup only to kiss it goodbye would be tough, I chose to do it anyway because something in my heart said I should. While logic said, "This is not a good week." My gut begged otherwise, and so I gave in.
     It all began last Saturday morning when an early morning check of Facebook netted me that all too familiar sad moment when someone you know loses a pet. In this case it was Tina, my producer from Channel 4 days who I'd not seen in 20 years, but thanks to Facebook we had now reconnected.
     Like everyone's puppy grown old (15 1/2 years her golden had made it; speaking volumes to the life and love it lived), the expression in Lacy's eyes said it all.  I knew the pain too well from losses past and ones to come. I added my note of sympathy to the litany of others, promising prayers and lit I paused extra long that morning to hug each of my own.
     It was a busy day here on the farm. Owing to time lost the week before, my workers worked overtime, sewing grass seed and getting things ready for spring. Around 3 o'clock my phone rang.
     "Can you take another Pyr?" another friend I had not seen in years, likewise now FB buddy had  a "teenage" Pyr for a neighbor who was jumping fences to make new friends.
     "I wish I could" I offered. "But it would not be fair to my own. We are just now getting our pecking order in perspective. I think Hix might blow a gasket." (Turns out Hix was not my problem; Rosebud was.) But that the call came on the same day as the morning's loss, I said, "It's a long shot, but let me make a call."
     First off, I know about grieving the loss of a pet. Going from 15 year old dog to new puppy energy is not something I recommend, for I'm a believer we all need that window to grieve our goodbyes. But for reasons more spiritual than logical, I reached out to my friend, now 10 hours away...I had seen just one picture, but something about this dog spoke to me.
     After a bit of catch up on where life finds us now (both farming), I addressed the big question:
     "I know this is soon, yet the fact that this happened today, prompts this call...Do you know much about Pyrs?"
     If nothing else, the conversation was uplifting. Already (site unseen) this angel of a pup had contributed to the healing. An hour and a half later, we left it that Tina would talk with her husband....Take all the time she needed...Make a decision in a week.
     But that didn't solve the Lily problem; for Lily's owner (unbeknownst to me) had likewise adopted Lily, not knowing how much space the breed requires. It was a responsible decision to recognize this was not a sub-division dog, though like everyone who met Lily, the goodbyes would not come easy.
     Rather than risk her going to another miscalculation, ( the size and the needs of a not-quite-grown Pyr are major decisions) I offered to take her. I had hopes for Tina, but I had another friend who (again, same day) had reached out in search of a Pyr to protect the chickens on her farm. While I did not know where Lily would land, I knew she would be loved and I felt I was handed the role for a reason.
     Had someone told me: you're taking on a lively bundle of new-puppy energy mid-move, mid-crises, mid-everything else that transpired this past week, I would've logically agreed, this was not the best timing. But what I didn't know then that I firmly believe now, is that this was this was not about Lily....I think it was more about me. After hospital visits and healthcare decisions for an ailing mom, through tearful evenings and long drives home, this dog just kept looking up at me as if to say "God sent me to you ...said you were running a quart low...thought you might need extra love this week."
     Two days later, I heard from Tina who, overloaded with family matters herself (a husband in chemo and a farm of her own to tend to), perhaps this was not the best time to add in a new addition. I could not disagree. Only the evening I got her message, I was too tired to call back, thus my only reply was "Let's decide this thing tomorrow. I'm calling no shots in this much exhaustion."
     I texted back the next day with a picture of Lily perched perfectly mid move, as if pouring energy into a room whose life force was leaving with each furniture haul... By evening a text "I'm coming for my dog. Please don't let her go."
     The reunion was more than confirmation. Lily not only has a new home, she has a purpose. She has family to love her, and who need her love back; she has donkeys to play with and cats to learn from. What's more she has 7 acres on which to run freely, which for a dog this size is the greatest gift of all.
Love at first sight...A forever moment~
     While I miss her dearly, I will forever marvel at the timing of this 4 footed angel who showed up for a week to sustain me. She made lots of friends (though not Rosebud...not Boo). But most of all she made an impression as I learned once again that life is not about owning or controlling, but instead about living in the moment...accepting the gifts handed to you without clutching... and releasing to the universe all that was never intentioned to stay forever in the first place.

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