Since July 11th, 2010 -

Today marked 1 yr. since this - the loss of Mopsie.

It was 2010. 4 & 1/2 weeks before my 22nd birthday, my honorary grandfather had died unexpectedly, and I was still reeling and kneeling in grief. My 22nd birthday came and went with some of the sweetest glories and blessings of friends of the whole of 2010 put together. A time of grace in between deep and desperate valleys.

Less than 2 weeks after my 22nd birthday, our dog died in my arms on a Sunday.
Less than 2 weeks, and she was gone.

Everything that had made a little sense when I'd come home in the afternoons and the days from long trips to Orlando and back and everything in between, every little comfort that Home had held, my safe haven from life's storms .... none of it made sense anymore. Because that one little joy that spilled over and filled my life 24-7 with friendship and love was suddenly gone.

It was literally the last straw for me. After huge losses and griefs that this couldn't even touch, that losing a dog couldn't even start to plumb the depths of losing someone else, I was a free heart. That's the only way I can think of it. Nothing could possibly touch me now. That was it. I don't even know how many times I told people that. And I can't even explain it. But I felt free that I didn't have to worry about the horrible happening, because it just had. It was a surreal thing to be feeling .... and I'm not sure it even makes sense. But it was how I felt.

I'm not going to lie - it was almost the hardest day of my life. Probably one of the most traumatic, as I had never had anyone, or anything, die right in front of me. I never pray for memories to erase, but I've said countless prayers to remove those nightmare moments from my mind. They are seared in. I pray to forget.

There is a mental block for me. I will physically shake my head, or blink it away, and just make my brain stop. Stop. Maybe next year it will be less raw. Maybe the year after that. Maybe in 9 years I could blog a memory. Maybe I won't think about it as much, and it will fade.

What I didn't tell or blog at the time, was that Kimberly and I were home alone, my parents were in GA on a Sound Project my dad was doing for a church. Alone, on a Sunday afternoon, with a dog that was very sick and the closest open Vet ER 45 minutes away. In so so many ways, though, I'm so grateful that my Mom wasn't there. Mopsie was her dog, and I'm glad that she doesn't have the nightmare memories that I have. My parents really have no idea. I'm glad they don't. Even sobbing it out on the phone to them doesn't come close to actually being there.

A few days later, my parents came home to a quiet house, and we would bury her.
I would pull the weeds from around the piled up dirt at her grave in panic that it had to be perfect and neat.
The thought of it makes my chest ache so badly.

I spent too many nights in nightmares and terror, even after we had Lucy Mae.
Again, up goes the mental block ....

I don't want to remember. I don't want to think about it.

I missed her for 5 months, and 1 week, and somewhere in there, I started begging God for a dog. All I wanted for Christmas was a dog. I didn't care what she cost, and I didn't care what age she was, I just wanted a baby girl dachshund. I wanted her so so bad. I had spent my grieving days curled up with Buttercup (Laurie's dog), taking naps and cuddling with her, and it made perfect sense to buy the dog I'd always wanted. Mom and Dad didn't know how serious I was. ;)

5 months and 1 week after July 11th, I held that prayer answered in my arms, and named her Lucy Mae. My heart broke in a very real way, and then healed in the moments that I realized she was mine. Right then counted forever. :) Grace, prayer answered in a visual, tangible, real way that I could love and see for years. :) Our little Lucy Mae puppy. :)

Since then, she has continued to heal that scar and fill me with joy!! So much joy.

So, today, on July 11th's honor - a few pictures of what God has given after He took away.

He has been faithful.

I love her so so very much.

Today I came home from time with Becs, desperate to be with my puppy. We took a nap together, curled in the blankets, smelling her sweet dachshund smell, waking up to thunder rumble across the sky, feeling her warm self next to my arm.

We played hide and go seek in the dark house, running around and her pretending to be scared, and me giggling in hilarity .... we rough-housed, and she pounced on her toys and wagged her tail. I taught her how to play peek-a-boo, and she took 5 minutes to finally find me hiding in the shower. She kissed my face dozens of times and I kissed her head dozens of times. :)

and then I made that little sign and she chewed it into a crinkled heart and we took these pictures.

and I felt myself heal again. for the millionth time since I knew she was mine. :D

How faithful and gracious He has been!!! It has been heartbreaking and wonderful to see the ways that God has deepened my valleys and my joys!

It is not so much the not-remembering, the praying away the bad to remember the good,
it is remembering that in those moments when we prayed to just let her go, He said yes.
And she was gone. And He was there. He was there.

One more thing I would love to mention - we were so so supported by our dear friends at that time. Between phone calls, and handling everything and comments on FB, e-mails, and here, on the blog - we were so blessed and prayed for. Thank you again!!! It meant the world to me.

With love, and rejoicing in the gift that God gives when we need comfort most - Himself,
and the littler but also very precious gift of Lucy Mae,
~ Jean Marie ~