Sunday, November 24, 2013

Saying Goodbye

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
~ Kahlil Gibran

(Luke and Dudley, July 2013)
I don't find it a coincidence that for several hours on Saturday morning, this display on the bookshelf in my room was in my main line of vision. A plate with a quote about remembering moments, a statue of a mother holding her child, and a home-made Mother's Day gift from Luke in 2010.
I will always remember the moments of Saturday morning. I will forever remember holding Luke as he sobbed, and I hope Luke will (one day) see the continued fulfillment of his 2010 sentiments to me, "Thank you for everything you do."

On Saturday morning, Luke's beloved goat Dudley died. Unlike the events surrounding Lily's death in January, Mike and I seemed to know very early on that Dudley would not recover. This time we didn't take photos of Luke laying face to face with a goat, thinking it was just a temporary set-back. This time, as Luke lay face-to-face with Dudley on my bedroom floor, Mike and I knew what we were facing. Our hearts were heavy and it was nothing short of heartbreaking when we told Luke, Dudley was unlikely to recover.

I am reminded yet again of the blessing our little family is learning about life and death experiences with animals rather than people, but it is still so, so sad. Unless one really knows Luke, it is hard to understand exactly how much he loves his goats.Two times in less than a year doesn't seem fair, and like Megan sobbed into my shoulder Saturday morning, "He's only 12! How much is he supposed to take?"

As the sign on my shelf reads, ... "We don't remember days, we remember moments" ...There are several moments from today I know I'll never forget.

Luke's cry to me early Saturday morning that told me something was wrong.

Mike stepping out of his truck after he'd received a phone call summoning him home, and me seeing a parents love for a child "written" all over his face.

Luke in the bath tub with Dudley, and Mike lovingly kneeling by the side assisting.

The eye contact Mike and I made frequently with each other throughout the morning that spoke volumes.

Paul and Vickie coming to visit, and Paul lovingly attempting to render aid and then solemnly reminding us of the fragility of life.

Hearing sobs come from Ellie and Joshua when we told them, Dudley was likely to die.

Megan quietly standing looking down at Dudley with tears running down her face.

All seven of us gathered in my bedroom with a dying goat. Six of us crying about the sad situation, and Drew, the lone dry-eyed person in the room, concerned only about the logistics.

Mike, Luke and me alone in the bedroom with Dudley as Mike lovingly told us, "He's gone now."

Mike, with tears streaming down his face kneeling over Dudley as he wrapped him in a green sheet, preparing him for burial.

Seeing absolute devastation on my 12 year old boy's face and wishing with all my mother heart I could take his pain away.

Joshua and Drew's little faces resting on their arms as they peered out the family room window as a funeral procession of sorts passed them by.

Mike kneeling down and tenderly and softly placing Dudley in his final resting spot.

Mike's silent glance at Luke for approval before we began quietly filling dirt in the hole.

Standing next to Mike who was eye-to-eye with Hank propped up on the fence and both of us knowing Hank knew his buddy was gone.

Believing as a little family that somehow, somewhere, there is an animal heaven, and Lily and Dudley are together.

My mother heart is reminded yet again how much these animals mean to my young boy, and I made sure to take the time to remind all of my children that grief and sadness come because there has been an abundance of love.

We are blessed with the ability to love. Even though it means it is difficult to say goodbye.


**I know some will be curious about what happened to Dudley. Friday evening at 7pm when Luke last saw the goats for the night, they were completely normal and fine. Saturday morning, Luke found Dudley lethargic in his shelter with Hank close-by acting protectively worried. Our first thought was some kind of hypothermia and we brought Dudley into a warm tub thinking it would help him. We then laid him nearby on our bedroom floor in hopes he would soon recover. It became somewhat clear that hypothermia was probably not the issue, but Dudley instead experienced some type of respiratory distress.**

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