Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It's A First For Me

Today I'm entering all new territory.  Territory I never have charted before...

not in 33 years as a woman who chose to stay at home to raise her family.

That's a long time to then have your whole world change.


Oh, I've been through major changes before.  Like when my first born

graduated from high school and then went away to college. I was always so

excited for him to enter each new phase in his life.  I just wasn't expecting 

how hard I would take it when it happened. However, I had the responsibility 

of knowing there were two other boys still at home and needing my attention.  

No time to sit back.

Two years later, my middle son joined his brother in Arizona to attend

his first year of college.  I can still see him driving off down the road,

car crammed with everything he would need to start the next chapter in 

his life.  As I waved good-bye with tears in my eyes, I turned and saw my

youngest standing behind me.  One more who needed my attention.  

No time to sit back.

When it was time for the "baby"  to leave for college, my heart broke.  My

career as a full-time, stay-at-home mom had come to an end.  Yes, I had 

filled my life with travel always seeking new interests but I loved being 

there for my boys. 


There I sat, on the stairs that used to resonate with the sound of footsteps

running up and down,  and my tears flowed.  Until I felt the nudge of a cold

nose on my arm.  I turned and saw my four-legged child standing beside me

ready, as always, to comfort me.  

No time to sit back.  I was not alone. 

That's my Annie that you see!  I can't regale you with hilarious stories about

her.  I can't tell you about quirky habits.  That wasn't her.  But perhaps you

might understand her when I tell you how she came to live with us.  Two

years had passed since our last two dogs had died at ripe old ages.  The boys

were missing having a pet in the house and I was finally ready to embark 

on adding to our household once more.  However, there were requirements.

Strict requirements!  

1. English Springer- black and white this time
2. Six months old - not wanting to go through the puppy stage
3. Female - with all that testosterone in the house I needed to bond with 
    another female
4. Not a barker

After looking at breeders in our area and coming up with nothing, I was given

a name of someone in Minnesota.  I called her.  "Yes, I actually have a dog

that meets all those requirements!  Her name is Abbey.  BUT I already have

a couple that wants to come and look at her.  If they don't take her, I will

let you know."  Oh, sure!!!  These people will fall in love and I'm going to 

have to continue my search.  Two nights later, as I was going to run an 

errand, I thought about Abbey.  Hmmmm.... I would definitely have to change

the name if she were mine.  (My husband's ex-girlfriends' name.  The one 

before me!  I think all you ladies out there understand!!)  "Annie"!  I could

call her "Annie"!  Sounds similar and it wouldn't confuse the dog too much.

Wrapped in the darkness of the evening, starring up into the star filled sky, I

shook off the hope that it would come to fruition.  Pulling into the garage on

my return home, my husband greeted me at the door.  "We got a phone call!

She's ours if we want her.  The other couple cancelled their visit!!"

Seriously?  I couldn't believe our luck!  If that isn't God's hand in this, I don't

know what is!   


Such a gentle spirit you would ever meet!  If you looked deep into those

dark eyes you could see the hand of God.  And we were blessed to have been

the family chosen to take care of her!  For me it even went one step further as

we were "attached at the hip".  Any step I made... she followed.  No matter

how many times I went up and down the stairs, she was right there.  Working

in my studio?  She sat in the oversized, comfy chair while I worked away.

Trips in the car?  She would be so excited to go!  And I felt comfort in looking

over my right shoulder and seeing her curled up in the back seat.  I had

back surgery, and she stayed by my side... not demanding a single thing.. the

whole time I recovered.  Such unconditional love and devotion I had never

experienced before! 


She was twelve when her eyesight started to go.  Those eyes that searched for

me when she woke up from a nap and I wasn't there, could no longer find me

with ease.  And she would become disoriented.  Bumping into walls.  Getting

stuck in corners and we would have to rescue her. Guide her back to the safety

of the couch.


She still would get in the car every time we went somewhere.  Still excited

to go with us even though now she needed help getting in.  In October, I 

celebrated my birthday with a roadtrip to go antiquing.  Annie was right there

in the back seat.  My dearest friend and companion. I stopped at a road stop on

the way... one of the prettier ones around... and took this photo to

commemorate our adventure.  

 Just looking at her, you would never know her eyesight was gone or that

her spirit was taking a toll from all the confusion.  That is what made it 

hard for us.  We tried everything we could to make her life improve.  But

bumping into walls was turning into incessant twirling in circles.  Each

completed circle made her even more stressed.  Putting her on the couch,

out of harm's way, didn't ease her discomfort.  And I knew.  I knew as much

as she didn't want to leave me... and I didn't want to leave her (after all, she

was to live forever, right??!) I had to do what was the kindest thing for her.

On December 17th, God received her back.  God's precious angel had 

returned once more to His fold.  I was blessed to have been the one chosen

to take care of her while on earth and will be eternally grateful! 


 The pain at being the one left behind is unbearable at times! I know it will ease

with each passing day.  And I know someday I will want another four-legged

child in my home and in my heart.  But for now my house is empty.  Really 

and truly empty... the first time in 33 years!


 I will have to relearn how to fill my days.  A trip to Starbuck's  for my iced

 tea.... spring cleaning a closet just a bit early ..... going into my studio to see

 if something triggers my creativity.... maybe even learn to like shopping for

clothes!  Baby steps. One day at a time.  And some time in the future it will 

feel right!





39 comments:

  1. Awe Kadee. Such a warm and wonderful story. Our animals become our family, our other set of children, don't they. Big hugs to you. Maybe a trip to visit the boys is in order!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know you understand with two lovely dogs of yours. They add so much to our lives and sometimes we don't even know just how much. Hug your babies for me!

      Delete
  2. What a lovely tribute to Annie and her wonderful life, I read your story and it made me cry. Not from sorrow but from the beautiful gifts our four legged babies are to us and how they bless us with so much love, how lucky we are to have these beautiful creatures in our lives.

    Big hugs!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right... we are lucky to be caregivers to these creatures! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me.

      Delete
  3. I am so sorry!! I am crying for you.... she looked like such a sweet and loving friend.... May God bless and comfort you.

    Amy Jo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amy Jo, I so appreciate your kindness in writing!

      Delete
  4. I am so sorry. I was not blessed with children. My children have always been my fur babies. I have said goodbye to Hannah and to Kodak. When Hannah left us, I felt alone. Hannah was "my" girl and Kodak "papa's boy". I told my husband, I know Kodak loves me, but he is your boy. Hannah is the one who would come in my room and let me know when it was break time, she watched All My Children with me, she was so in tune to my feelings. But Kodak took over and did all those things with me when Hannah left and the day we came home without Hannah, he laid his head on my lap as I cried. We now have Sophie who came to live with us 6 months before Kodak left us. I can't imagine being without a fur child around but I know that that day will come . . . I am crying with you and sending you a big ((HUG))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, how I loved reading your story about your "children"... and that is what they really are! Dogs are one of God's finest creations that sense our every need and will always be there to support us. Someday I will be ready to once again have another one. But for now, I get comfort in seeing others with their pets and stooping to say "hello" to them.

      Delete
  5. I am so sorry for your loss. I am crying for you and completely understand the love you had and will always hold for your Annie. I am so thankful that all my babies (including the furry one) are still at home, but I know I will have a sudden empty nest one of these days - and there will be a lot of tears around here. Thank you for sharing your story and the adorable pictures of Annie. I truly believe that God sent my hound dog to me. Your blog post helped me remember what a healing presence and gift she is each day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved hearing how you feel that God sent you your special four legged child. It's a marvel, isn't it? Thanks so much for your love and support... it means a lot to me!

      Delete
  6. What a beautiful loving tribute. (((((hugs)))))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Jana, for dropping by... I so appreciated your hugs!

      Delete
  7. It's always so hard to lose a pet.They are so apart of your live and your children's too!What a beautiful tribute!I am so sorry for your loss <3
    xx
    Anne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anne, I have been so grateful that we have had sun for the past two days. Chicago's blanket of grey would not helped one little bit in this transition! And I see we have one more day of it! Thanks so much for dropping by. Your words meant a lot to me.

      Delete
  8. I'm so sorry for your loss, Kadee!
    Sending a big HUG!!!
    Diana

    ReplyDelete
  9. Our precious pets are a part of us....our lives.....our everything. I so understand and have had to say that oh so dreaded final "good bye!" You take care and find peace in all of the happy memories you will always hold close to your heart!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have had a lot of good-byes in my life and each time it happens it never gets easier! But it really helps hearing from friends such as you. Thank you so much, Sheryl!

      Delete
  10. Hello Kadee, I am a new follower to your blog, and oh my gosh, I have tears, as I try and type these words out. She was just so beautiful. It's amazing how much our four legged babies can help us through. Good and Bad. So sorry for your loss, as well as happy that you had the pleasure of one another for so many years. Blessings to you. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so grateful for your sharing your comforting words with me! Just from viewing and following your blog, I can see just what a sensitive and loving person you are. How you see the beauty in things and share with others. Thanks so much for taking time to comment.. so appreciated!

      Delete
  11. Oh, Kadee. I am so heart broken for you. You have told your's and Annie's story so well, I felt as if I were in the car with you. My dad had a springer, and the photo of Annie on the couch made me gasp out loud. The face!!!! That was our "Blue". She died with my father in a car crash. Oh, it's just heartbreaking, I tell you!!!!
    Re-learn a bit at a time, it will come.
    much love,
    lynn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Lynn.... your story brought a gasp from me, also! Just yesterday, as I headed to Starbucks, I saw in the distance a woman walking her liver and white springer. Their gait so unique that it's easy to tell what breed it is. I stood there and stared until they were out of sight! My heart goes out to you with the loss of your dad and Blue. Oh, how hard that was for you and what a long healing process that must have been. Thanks so much for sharing... I always love hearing from you!

      Delete
  12. What a lovely post! I enjoyed getting to know you, and Annie is a sweetheart. Animals seem to really understand so much more than we do. I found your through the Grow Your Blog party....so glad I did. Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for leaving a comment here. Being supportive at this time means so much to me and has helped me get over that horrid initial hurt. I really appreciate your kind words!

      Delete
  13. I'm so sorry for your loss. And it's through tears that I sit and write to you as my puppy is at my feet, forever a loyal friend.
    I too have had the pain of seeing my children as they head off to school...I know it's the plan, it's their new adventure, but it hurts so much. I find myself trying new things to keep busy to fill my time. It's still very hard.
    I loved your writing in this post, Annie was a beautiful dog. Perhaps soon you'll find a new one to love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sharlotte, I so loved hearing your understanding comments! And I know it's especially hard to read this when you have a four legged child exhibiting the same traits and is still with you. Give your baby a dear hug from me! And yes, someday I will find another special one to love but I really feel that I need to learn how to be on my own for a bit! Especially as we are going through changes with mother issues and thinking about moving. I want to be able to devote 100% of my attention to that new "person" when I'm ready.

      Delete
  14. Okay, I come over here to visit and now you've got me in tears! What a precious pup Annie was. What joy she gave! A beautifully written, touching, heartfelt post. Blessings, Tammy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I'm so sorry to make you cry! But I guess the good is that I was able to truly convey how much I dearly loved that dog of mine! I want the world to know that it was a better place for having those four legs on earth to show love to everyone who met her. Thanks for dropping on by and for your sweet words. That means a lot to me!

      Delete
  15. oh that made me cry, but it's such a beautiful story. thank you for posting it! I lost my soul-dog a few years back and things haven't been the same, although I do have a new buddy now!

    sandy
    @french laundry 132

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh my goodness this totally made me tear up! So sorry she's gone :( We too had an amazing family dog and he lived to be 14 years old before my parents and us kids made the decision to let him go. It just wast fair to let him live how he was, he too was blind and could barely walk. It was the only time I have EVER seen my Dad cry. Our pets definitely hold a special place in our hearts and they truly are loved like all the other members of our family. Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Kadee, love love love both of your art works here! Found you via My Desert Cottage. I'm sorry for your loss. Take care. Hugs, Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  18. What a sweet Annie. How are you doing? Memories of her are precious for you.

    Thank you for sharing this.
    Kelley~

    ReplyDelete
  19. loved this post. I know it's old, but I'm going through your blog to see all your art work. As I've posted on my blog, my dearest dog died 22 years ago March 20th. I have not been able to adopt another, even after all these years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for landing on this post and honoring my Annie by reading about her! It has meant so much to me to read the kind words about my loss. My husband and I still have our moments where the tears come to our eyes.. as they are now just writing this. She was my soul dog... and I will never be able to replace her. There is a country song out, "I Drive Your Truck", that makes me sob each and every time. The core of it is the pain of missing someone so much that you need to touch the things that they used to touch. For me, it is the mat I made for her and the clump of fur from brushing her that last day. It's the file I have on my desktop filled of the photos I took of her those last few years. And now I read that you have had such a love as mine. I'm so sorry for your loss. Thanks so very much for sharing with me!

      Delete
  20. OMG I am bawling my eyes out.

    I have no words of comfort.

    Just hugs.

    And an invite to come to Columbus so we can spend some time together should you ever wish to do so.

    xxoo

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Kadee, What a beautiful post in tribute of your darling Annie. I can relate to every single word here and understand completely. Annie was a darling girl. I know you had an inseparable friendship as did I with my Miss Beazy Lee. It has taken one year to lessen the pain and still I have days that I cry for my darling girl and the friendship we shared. I wish there were words for you to comfort your heart. What I can say is, God's blessings in our fur babies, leave an ever lasting gift in our heart that will last forever. Annie will always be with you.
    Sending a big hug your way.
    XO Celestina Marie

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm so sorry for the loss of your dear Annie. I had tears in my eyes reading your wonderful tribute. What a beautiful girl. My cocker spaniel Emily was just the same, my kindred spirit best friend, always by my side. So I can totally relate to your sadness and loss. As sad as I get thinking about her, it brings me comfort to think that our fur babies will be waiting for us in heaven one day. I truly believe that. Sending you extra big hugs.

    ReplyDelete