When the New Year Doesn’t Start Out Happy . . . (updated with a PS)

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I am sitting at our kitchen table, looking out the window toward the mountain. I love that mountain. However, I can’t see it right now, because it’s hidden behind a thick veil of snow.

My husband and I bought this place last March. Although the house is almost forty years old and could use quite a bit of work, we enjoy living here. We were looking forward to ringing in the new year together last night, in our “new” home. Only, it didn’t happen.

Last night, around 6 p.m., my husband had just gotten home after a long day of appointments in the city. We were talking about his day when my cell phone rang. It was his daughter, my precious stepdaughter, whom I have grown to love like my own daughter.

I said “hello” and then I heard sobs. Loud sobs. And somehow I knew it was her beloved chihuahua, Millie.

“Is it Millie?” I asked.

“Mom, she’s dying! She’s dying! I don’t know what to do!”

Millie had gotten old. When my stepdaughter brought her three dogs here for a visit recently, although Millie was running, playing, eating, and drinking with the others, something in my spirit told me that I would not see Millie alive again. I cupped my hands around her then, I told her what a wonderful good girl she is, and I said a prayer for her. But in my heart, I knew that I was saying goodbye. “Please tell my cattle dog, Lady, when you get to heaven, how much I miss her,” I whispered. I knew Millie would remember our sweet Lady.

“Mom, I can’t do this alone. I want to bring Millie in the car and come there, okay?”

At first I automatically said sure, that she was welcome to come here. But then I started thinking: she lives an hour away, it was dark, it was snowing, and the mostly rural roads between here and there are notorious for unexpected herds of deer and pronghorn antelope, not to mention the occasional fox, mountain lion, and black bear. Still, our daughter is a careful driver.

But then I remembered the certainty I had felt in my spirit that I would not see Millie alive again. The thought of her dying while my stepdaughter was driving in the dark, in the snow, in the middle of nowhere — no, that would be too awful.

“Never mind, don’t do it. Just stay where you are please, sit down and hold Millie. I will come to you. But I will stay with you on the phone…”

“No, Mom, I don’t want you driving on these roads in the snow! And I know you are still feeling sick!”

“Honey, listen to me, you have to stay there. I did not want to tell you this, but the last time you brought your dogs here for a visit, I felt like the Lord told me that I would not see Millie alive again. That means she won’t survive the trip. Please, you need to stay there!”

She reluctantly agreed. Then I put her on speaker and we cried together as I hurried to get ready to leave. My husband, her daddy, was talking to her over the speaker while I got my things together.

Suddenly our daughter cried out, “She’s dead! Mom, Dad, she’s dead! Oh God, WHY?”

And then I stopped what I was doing and I wailed with her. As I sobbed, I remembered sweet Millie, the way she was when we first met her in the summer of 2008. I was also remembering how broken I had felt when I was home alone with our two dogs, on March 10, 2015, when our elderly cattle dog keeled over and died in my arms.

What do you say to someone you love so much, when her heart is shattering, and you know exactly how horrible she feels? In my 60 plus years of living, I have only found one way to get through grief, and that’s to FEEL it. Drinking alcohol, or taking any other substance to numb the feelings, the way I did after my dad died in 1988, only prolongs the grieving process and ultimately makes things worse in the long run.

We cried together for a long time over the phone last night. It wasn’t as ideal as grieving together in person, but it was better than crying alone. Then it was decided that her daddy would go and spend the night there instead of me, because she had already cried most of her tears out with a mom, and now she needed the strength of her sweet loving dad. Besides, I was really feeling weak at that point, still not fully recovered from the flu.

And so it happened that I spent New Year’s eve cuddled on the sofa under a comforter with our little 20 pound rescue poodle and our big 70 pound rescue yellow lab German shepherd mystery mix dog. When midnight came and people all over town set off fireworks, even in the freezing snow, I calmed our fur babies’ fears as I thought about Millie the chihuahua, and Lady the cattle dog, and Farley the wonderful otterhound that we rescued in 2005, who died in my arms in 2007.

Then I raised my arms in praise toward the Lord, the great and wonderful Creator who gives and who takes away, and I thanked Him for dogs, I thanked Him for the great gift of life, and I thanked Him for the hope of heaven that I believe we all can have, through the Savior, Jesus the Messiah.

And I thanked God for this New Year, 2019, whatever this year may bring.

God bless you and thank you for stopping by. I love my blog readers. I really do.

PS: If you pray, please say a prayer for my stepdaughter, not only about her grief, but the fact that she works at an essential government job at a nearby special ops military base, and she probably won’t be getting paid until the government gets itself straightened out. The good news is that my husband and I own the mortgage on her house, so she won’t be in danger of losing her home. But things like money for electricity, and gas to drive to and from her department of defense job, and food, and copays for her medical care… whew. It’s going to be tough for awhile, for so many people!

justadog

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28 thoughts on “When the New Year Doesn’t Start Out Happy . . . (updated with a PS)

  1. ibikenyc January 1, 2019 / 4:26 pm

    My condolences to you and your stepdaughter.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. atimetoshare.me January 1, 2019 / 5:37 pm

    Sorry for your loss. I know we’ll have at least a dozen or more pups waiting in heaven for us. They are almost as unconditionally loving as God.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. rubycommenting January 1, 2019 / 11:00 pm

    Beautiful blog post Lady Linda. It was very sad but I loved it. You are lucky to have such a loving family. You have each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Marie Abanga January 2, 2019 / 12:32 am

    That wasn’t ‘just a dog’. I may be so emotional to write any thing. Today is meh for me. I will pray for your daughter. May all our precious pets gone ahead be pain free…we lost Ella on the 02.12.18 and it was daunting..

    Liked by 2 people

      • Marie Abanga January 3, 2019 / 12:30 am

        Today was a meh day but the fog lifted by 4 pm and I was suddenly rushing to catch up with stuffs lol. Oh my please tell your daughter ‘ashia’. It means ‘sorry for your loss’ in our slang. Our pets when they bond is Unconditional. They feel us and an losing them is like you are being ripped especially when you are there watching them struggle and go. I’ve been there. Please tell her she got this long virtual healing hug all the way from Cameroon Africa

        Liked by 1 person

        • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote January 3, 2019 / 4:45 am

          I shall tell her, Marie. “Ashia” and a healing hug all the way from Cameroon. ((HUGS)) back!

          Like

        • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote January 3, 2019 / 9:12 am

          I sent your message, word for word, in a phone text. She got the message this morning as she was about to leave for work. My daughter said “Please tell Marie thank you. Please tell her I said thank you for understanding.” 💘💘

          Like

  5. Denise Hisey January 2, 2019 / 11:44 am

    aaaahhh, heart wrenching to lose a dog. they are never “just a dog”. I hope Millie and Lady are playing with my Lady, Pepper, Ginger, and Nikki too. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. luckyotter January 2, 2019 / 4:09 pm

    I’m so sorry, Linda. It’s so hard to lose a pet. They really are family members. Grieving for a lost pet is perfectly normal. Sending prayers. RIP, sweet Millie!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote January 2, 2019 / 4:31 pm

      Thank you, Lauren. I was just on the phone with my stepdaughter again, she was telling me that the ground is too frozen to bury Millie now, but that her dad told her he will dig a grave after it warms up some. In the meantime, Millie is wrapped in her favorite blankie, in a box in the shed.

      I told my stepdaughter that I want to be there when Millie is buried, to say goodbye. And then we both started crying again.

      On top of everything else, I pray this government shutdown ends SOON. Otherwise, there’s no telling how long my stepdaughter will have to go to work, and not get a paycheck. The livelihood of thousands of government workers and their families is being held hostage — it just isn’t right.

      Liked by 1 person

      • luckyotter January 2, 2019 / 6:05 pm

        No, I hope it ends very soon! It’s terrible that government employees are being forced to work wuthout compensation.
        But not the higher level employees, like trump’s cabinet. I’d be livid!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote January 4, 2019 / 6:22 pm

      Thank you, Wally. We are finally going to bury the little dog tomorrow. The ground has been too frozen, even here in New Mexico. But it got into the upper 50s today and is expected to reach 60s tomorrow.

      I was just on the phone with my stepdaughter again. As a parent, I am sure you know what I mean when I say that I feel so helpless when I hear the pain in her voice, and I can’t fix it.

      I hope that you and your family are doing well. I know you’ve had a lot going on there. God bless.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wally Fry January 4, 2019 / 7:52 pm

        Well the loss of a pet is hard. My Father in Law passed away and we buried him today, so it’s sad but also glad.

        Liked by 1 person

          • Wally Fry January 4, 2019 / 8:40 pm

            Thanks and yes they are mixed. It’s great for them but sucks for us.

            Liked by 1 person

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