There are events in life that just catch one unawares. And when they happen, we sometimes learn things about ourselves we didn’t expect.
We’re still reeling from one of those events.
They were just a couple of dogs. Family pets. They could be annoying and endearing and entertaining all at the same time. Lily was an older, low-to-the-ground beagle mix and Charlie was a spry, innocent shepherd mix who was still just a pup. They were great pals and partners in crime.
Yesterday, their hunting expedition took them off the farm and into a nearby highway. In the blink of an eye, they were swept from our lives, struck and killed by a vehicle on a curve. A day later, we’re still not sure what hit us.
Calls and texts to our four sons who live hours away were required, and each time it was a tough conversation. These two crazy dogs were part of our family. And today, there’s a gaping hole in our household. We feel incomplete.
The dogs were my husband’s constant companions. He operates a business from our farm and the dogs hung around the barns where he works, greeting our customers and sometimes getting in the way of a tractor or a loader. They let us know any time a vehicle pulled into the barnyard or driveway and kept us awake some nights barking at the coyote howling from the ridge behind our house.
My husband rarely went to bed without checking on the dogs first, and theirs were usually the first faces he saw in the morning.
We’ve lost dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, iguanas, chickens. Death is a cruel reality, especially on a farm. But this loss has been harder than any of the others because, as the others left us, we always had our sons around to share the grief and fill the void. This time, it’s just us.
And now it’s way too quiet around here.
We learned that we need to have something to care about in our daily lives besides ourselves, someone who needs us, who makes demands on our time and attention. Someone who’s loyal and thinks we’re the best thing going on in their lives.
There will be other dogs — we ARE dog people. But there will never be another Lily and Charlie. I can’t wrap my mind around that just yet.
This is not the post I expected to write for Day 29 of Write for 31 Days, but sometimes life just happens and you have to go where it takes you.