“Daddy will I get over this?”

Her words…things that she is having to process at such a young age.  I look up from my ipad to wait and see what he will say.  Knowing that every interaction we have with them during this time will shape how they grieve now and as well as adults.

“You will…it will get easier”

“my eyes can’t cry anymore”

I look her in the eyes and tell her “mine too…” and yet there they are again, running down my face

You are never prepared for loss.  It comes in moments that leave you questioning if it really happened.  You look around at your surroundings and take inventory…nope, it wasn’t a dream.  The waves of sadness come as the pull of anger brings them back out to sea.  The “what if’s”, the dreadful “should have’s”, they have way too much space in your heart and mind.

Yesterday our family had to say good bye to Candy, Ezzy’s therapy dog.

I wondered if I should keep this close, that it wouldn’t really matter to share. Yet I was reminded when we asked people to love and support Ezzy and raise funds to get Candy, all the funds were raised in 2 days and we had to shut down the Go-Fund me page well before we thought we would. So, I share this because many of you shared generously with us. You helped us get the sweetest little pup that fit in my hand when she was a baby.

Friday night I received a text message no parent wants to receive. I was in an important meeting. I immediately called Richard. The news came and I was left in complete shock.

Ezzy, our little warrior who has seen the fragility of life was faced with the unimaginable. Her therapy dog was run over by a car and left in the street with no one to help. The person didn’t stop…we were later told you could hear her dog yelping the next street over…Ezzy had to pick up her hurt dog and was bit 3x times due to the dog being in shock. Her bravery to think quickly and get help still amazes me. She arrived at the vet barefoot and wouldn’t leave her side until they told us, we would have to wait and see what would happen.

We prayed and asked God to help us. We waited. We held her as she sobbed in our arms.

A shattered pelvis, meant surgery…but surgery only done by a grade A orthopedic surgeon and off island, IF they felt they could even do it. Candy was sedated and couldn’t walk, bruises were already forming.

Yesterday we received the call…there was no fixing Candy

I had heard God prepare me on Sunday…she wasn’t going to make it. I went for a hike with our other dog yesterday morning and processed with God. “How do I help them grieve?”. I am fully aware of my brokenness and how I cope…which is not healthy. Isolation and shutting down is not healthy. I wanted to protect them and their little hearts. But God told me “Stop asking them to grieve how you do, you need to help them learn a new way”.

I took them to the beach to squeeze in some distraction, but ended up sitting at the beach crying with them all as we wrestled with the probability that the vet couldn’t fix Candy. I let them ask questions. I let them see me cry. I let them in. I went against the fibers of my brokenness. I saw these moments as sacred. Moments that were and are shaping their soulds.

The call came…its was time to say goodbye… I packed up the kids and headed home.

The vet gave Candy a dose of pain meds and Richard picked her up to bring her home to say goodbye to the kids.

There is nothing more heartbreaking then listening to your children say goodbye to a loved family member. “I am sorry” was uttered more than I want to hear again. “I am going to miss you” … “I love you Candy” …

I sat by them, I didn’t go and tuck away like I wanted too. Pain, my number one thing I run from. But instead, I listened to their hearts. We painted her toe nails and everyone held her one last time.

We placed her under her tree for one final picture…the place that would be her final resting place.

Richard and I held her in our arms and prayed over her and thanked God for the gift she was to our family. She brought so much joy and comfort to Ezzy throughout the last 6 years. I never knew that a family pet could be such a vital part of our story.

As her body was placed in the ground. Each Harney said what they would miss as they put the freshly dug dirt on the box.

The prancing of her little nails on our hardwood floor that Daddy would miss

Late night snuggles on the couch with mamma

hikes with brother

vest time with Ezzy

sock game with Kyre

face licks from boo

playing with bean

So, to answer the question that was asked…we are helping our kids learn that grief doesn’t have an end point. It comes and goes. It will hit us when we don’t expect it too. It will get easier, but it will forever be a part of us now.

As a friend told me, pets help us learn to love.

And Candy dog, Candy corn, sausage, Candy Harney…we are thankful for our time with you and love the thought of you running up in heaven and no longer in pain.

Thankful for the wonderful staff at island to island. Their care for Candy and our family was so compassionate.

Pint Size Boss

“Good morning my sweet sweet mama, huggie?”

Her tiny little voice is so distinct. Did the rest of the Harney 4 yr olds sound like her? They had to have…wait…not boo, she always had such a deep voice.

Her voice is so high pitched, that it reveals her small stature. Her little body barely takes up space in my lap. Small little fingers get engulfed with mine when our hands are entwined. I notice her little toes. Every pair of shoes she has ever worn has been used to the fullest. There were no major growth spurts.

I never have to doubt her thoughts or better yet affection for me. Whether I am in the shower and she comes to find me or is running past the kitchen chasing the dog, I always am told “love you mama”. What brings a smile to my face is when I am in a room with people and I feel eyes watching me, just to scan the room and see her little amber eyes staring right at me with a smile on her face. She always knows where I am.

Though she is tiny, don’t doubt her strength. She is a force to be reckoned with. How a pint-sized tiny human can rule the house is still amazing to me.

On a recent camping trip, Ezzy came back laughing and told the group of adults what she had just overheard.  “Daddy O”, the name Veil calls her dad…soon found out what happens when she is on day 2 of little sleep and he is not marching to the beat of her drum.  She informed him of her desires from inside the tent, while waiting for him to attend to her needs, but this time called him “Ricardo” a name that is reserved only for mama’s use.

I have watched her brother love her with great patience. I love seeing the adventures that they have, how he is always quick to tie a shoelace on a hiking trip, carry her on his back when she is done walking or helping her with her shinguards.

When Ezzy’s love cup is running low, its when I find her pulling Veil into her lap and snuggling her while watching a baby show on the IPAD…there is something about the peace you experience when you are being loved by Veil. She calms anxiety, when you let your breathing match hers. When you breathe in her sweet gentle spirit.

Kyrene, who does not have a nickname from her…the only family member who has not received one from Veil, is always and I mean always called Kyrene. Not Kyre, Ky, Kryrie or Kyre Grace like everyone else calls her. Kyrene has the strength to go toe to toe with the pint size boss that the rest of us don’t. Veil is determined to remind Kyrene who is the boss and does not take it well receiving orders from her.

Boo, Veil’s best friend knows her better than all of us. There is laughter in the early morning when they snuggle in bed together and then late night chats when they snuggle together. They are partners in all they do. Climbing counters to get food, dressing up to match, playing house, laying on the dog, watching shows together, they are inseparable. Veil LETS boo take care of her, when she demands independence from the rest of the siblings.

Somehow our caboose is 5. This year she will be entering into full-time school. No more half days to adjust our work schedule around. No more watching her siblings leave all day, now it is her turn.

I have often heard the youngest of a family say they felt forgotten or that by the time their parents got to them they were so tired, how they felt like they didn’t get all the attention they needed.

I often wonder what she will think. Will she know that her morning hugs settle the restlessness in me that wakes me every morning? Will she know that her daddy tears up when thinks about her love for him? Will she know that her brother’s tenderness will one day amaze his wife and she will need to thank Veil? Will Ezzy tell her how much she misses her snuggles when she is inpatient at the hospital and just needs some peace? Will her and Kyrene argue on the phone when Kyrene is adventuring the world and Veil still wants to remind her who is in charge? Will boo and Veil choose to go to school together or marry siblings so they never will have to be far away from each other?

All I know is that God was so good to give us this tender soul. Her cadence in life is marked with innocent joy. Her smile comes from her love cup that is full because she has let Jesus fill it, she loves to talk to Him at night. Her wit was given to make sure that her brain will make up for what her tiny body might allow people to assume is weak. Her light was meant to shine in dark places. Wow God…what a call you have on Veil Eden Harney. She is such a loved and treasured child of God.

Thanks for giving her to us…

Daddy O, sweet sweet mama, Bubba, Ezzy, Kyrene and boo are forever grateful for our bean