“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.