(Just a few of the animals we love that live here or have been a part of life here at the ranch.)
My sweet little Foxy girl, cuddles her old sore bones and fluffy wild blond doggy curls next to me. She’s a good girl, she’s trying so hard to still fight on, to still do her job of being my loyal pup. But her eyes tell a different story tonight, one of weariness, and surrender; her body weak from no appetite. I cuddle her close, as I mentally prepared for this day to come and yet I don’t feel ready to say good bye at all. So I bring her to my side of the bed, my eyes puffy from the well-known tears of loss, and I will fall asleep tonight with her next to me for at least one more night.
A little snapshot on loss lately…
It was 4 months ago I took the last picture of my playful barn cat. Just as quick as the picture snapped, capturing his curious face that brought me smiles and joy, a week later he was gone. Found hit on our road, leaving his brother lonely, and my sad heart with one more scar.
3 months ago, my beloved peahen (after loosing a clutch of unhatched eggs), wandered across the road to the baby chicks she heard peeping. She wanted to be a momma. Unfortunately, on her third trip over to check on the neighbor’s baby chickens, she was hit full force, and the suv continued to speed down the road, leaving us in a puddle of feathers and tears holding our dead bird.
2 months ago, the day of my birthday, we found ourselves sitting in a hospital room 5 hours from home, holding Matt’s grandma’s hand for the last couple days of her life. We cried, sang and played music for her, talked about heaven, and the important things that most people shy away from discussing because they are “too busy living life.” But sitting in the same room where life was passing to death, where one could feel the angels’ presence and see her transition from this life to the next was difficult; yet a sacred experience.
1 month ago, a week after Matt’s Grandma’s beautiful celebration of life service, we lost our sweet Kiya, our Alaskan Husky dog to a seven week battle with cancer. 12 year old Kiya was our sweet matriarch dog who felt more understanding and loving than almost any human I’ve met.
And, a mere 4 days after Kiya passed, I lost my sweet Hope, the tiny baby I had been carrying for seven weeks. In pain physically, my heart and brain went numb emotionally, as I went about a day filled with a photography shoot for the local paper, and teaching a class. My mind drifted in the quiet moments to my miscarried baby whom I lost a few hours before.
I never know how to answer people who mean well and ask the question, “Do you have children?” Or “Are you going to have kids?” I want to answer, “Yes, I do have children, although I’ve never gotten to hold them in my arms, for heaven holds them now.” And the answer to the second question, “ I’d love to have to opportunity to be a mom here on earth. We will see if that is in God’s plan. For now, I love my babies in Heaven with a true momma’s heart.”
The day after I miscarried Hope, we brought home a puppy. We needed some joy. Our sweet Koa, is an Alaskan Malamute. She is my first puppy I have ever owned, as I always had adopted adult dogs. She is truly a gift from God, a blessing in the midst of incredible loss and storms.
And so that brings me to tonight. I have learned much about how to carry on, despite what battles one may face. In the past 6 years, I have lost friends, marriages, babies, pets, family members, homes, a business and just plain things. But the one I have found through it ALL is God. When life aches to much to bear, and you must go on despite all of your heart wanting peace, God provides the peace in the midst of the heavy, hard storms. (There is a reason Jesus calmed storms in the Bible) It’s not cliche, or cheesy. When you are face to face with death itself, (and I have seen death 6 times in the past 4 months), you begin to realize that the most important thing of all is our life-giver, our Lord Jesus.
So tonight, I think of the ones who will read this and say, “Wow, Jen must have done something to deserve all this, better steer clear of her, don’t want to catch any of that in my life.”
There will be others that say, “Too uncomfortable for me! Give me a glass of wine and a paint instructor that doesn’t make me think or feel!”
And yet, others will say, “I’ve been there- I get it. And I see that God is there through it all, bc you know what? Though my losses, He’s been there too.”
The truth is, we all have loss. We all face life and we all face death. You would have never known what I walked through the last 4 months with my full studio schedule, joy-filled classes, and vibrant art shows the last few months. I wanted to share the hard stuff too however, as we are all on a journey, and our journey through experiencing life and death and everything in between is the framework of what challenges us, strengthens us, molds us and makes us.
By the way, our new puppy Koa, is a Hawaiian name meaning “brave warrior”.
Matt and I have been facing a battle it seems; our hearts still aching from the last loss, before we can mend, another one seems to come. We looked in one another’s tearful eyes tonight as we pet our dog Foxy, wondering why so much loss in so little time. There must be something God is showing us through it all. We will fight on for loving all we hold dear, and loving still even when we face loss. Because in the end, love covers all. Life, death and everything in between. And just in case no one has told you today, God loves you more than you’ll ever know. Now go hug someone you love my friends, and tell them how much they mean to you. Because that’s what really matters. ❤️