Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Our sweet Stella Bella

Our sweet pup went to heaven this week.  She just got sick and died.  We tried to get her help, took her to the vet, got her some tests and meds and even though we did what we knew to do, she still passed away.  The thing is, she passed away while we were gone.  We gave her love and said our good byes to her, but in my heart, it was only a "just in case" and honestly, I thought she would be fine in a few days.  Whatever made her vomit so much blood was going to heal.  I wasn't ready to say good-bye to her.

Back up about 11 years and we had Stella's dad, Satchel, living with us.  He was a bully dog too and lived up to the name-- he was big and fierce and lovable.  We loved him as our own while he lived under our care.  Nate, my brother, was in prison and I had made a promise to him, that whatever it took, I would take care of Satchel.  So, we did.  We wanted to get him fixed because he was a little too high strung, but for whatever reason, we never did.  Once Nate was free, he came and picked up Satchel and took him from our lives-- it was painful because even though we knew he wasn't ever our dog, we loved him.  Nate eventually pulled his life together, met a girl, moved in, and they got another dog.  It's the classic, boy meets girl, girl has a litter of 13 puppies.  As a thank you to us, Nate picked the "best looking" and probably the most high energy pup of the litter and drove up one Christmas, he gave us that sweet pup.  She was always our pup, from the moment she came out, and while the other dogs didn't yet have names, she was already chosen and named.  She was our first child-- our first real fuzzy practice kid.  Stella.

When Nate died a little over 2 year later, and Caleb either worked nights or was gone all together for work, Stella would climb in my lap and I would sob into her coat.  She licked my tears and let me know it was going to be ok.  She was my grief partner.

We didn't intend to have a puppy and a baby at the same time, but that's what happened.  When we got pregnant with Cole, Stella instantly treated me different.  It's like she knew I was carrying her very best friend and she couldn't wait.  I asked our dog trainer if I should be worried about having a bully dog with a baby, and she said to me, "that dog will love your children deeper and protect them better than she will you."  In other words, once the baby was born, Stella would think she was the momma.  And, she did.

She has loved our children deeply, taken them both for her own pups-- alternating sleeping in each room to make sure they're taken care of-- jumping up if there are cries and growling if there is a bump in the night.  Cole and Stella were best friends, with Cole dressing Stella up and playing superhero with her, or throwing the stick for catch.  Amelia loved to climb all over Stella, and she was just so patient, never once snapping or acting as if she didn't like it.  I think Stella felt it was her privilege to help raise our children.  She went to bed at 8 with them, and woke up once they did.  She was every bit the Nana dog from Peter Pan-- I'm sure if she could have told them not to fuss or gotten them a snack, she would have!

I always said that when she died, it would probably feel like I'm loosing my brother all over again, and whether it's because I said it, or because it's true, it does.  The only tangible connection from my brother-- the best and final gift I got from him-- is gone now too.  She really was a fantastic dog, and Nate chose her for our family.  The dog of Cole's childhood was chosen by my brother.  Nate and Cole never met, but their stories have been linked together through different avenues and this is one of them.  It breaks my heart to see this path close now too.

It's hard to keep a firm hand on those we love who have passed away.  It's like holding the wind.  Stella, was my wind for a while, and now she's gone too.  The chasm of time is ever marching forward and Nate is ever staying in the past.  It's almost like Stella was a bridge.

Maybe that sounds silly, but that's how it feels.  I have felt so thankful and so glad Nate gave us Stella.  She has comforted me in many times of sorrow.  I just wish I would have been with her in the end.  I hope she knew how much we loved her.


Sunday, March 8, 2015


Oh, there's just too much to catch up on, so I'm not going to.  I'm going to muse away and not try to have a point at all.  It has been a year.  One whole year.  That's a long time online.

To say that this has been my outlet for grief would be an understatement.  It has been pretty much my only outlet for grief.  I have processed and mourned and been real here.  I guess typing on my computer and getting it out there has been pretty meaningful.  People can read it or not, and I can get it off my chest.  I like that.

I drive past Nate's grave almost every day now.  I live close to it, but now I am working part time at my child's school and so when I drive carpool or go to work, I drive right past him.  I say hi to him, because even though it's his grave, it's also his body way down under all the dirt.  He's there in that hoodie that we buried him in and in the pocket of that sweatshirt is the note I wrote him, the last words I spoke to his body.  It's a weird feeling to know that he's there and not.

Cole and Nate have a mixed up path that has never met.  Nate was here when I went into labor with Cole and chose to leave Boise even though I was having my baby.  He left.  4-6 hours later (I can't remember what time he left-- I was in labor!) I had sweet Cole.  I have a wonderful message Nate left me from that day, and I wouldn't have that if he had stayed...  but I also don't have any pictures of Nate and his nephew.  Fast forward a year and Nate dies, his body is in a casket in the funeral home and little Cole is in my arms.  I can see them both, just like I could feel my baby and hug my bother a year earlier... but this time Nate is the one who is there but not.  Now I take my kidlet to school and Nate is across the street-- all the time, across the street.  It's poetic I think.  It's sad.  It's sweet.

It's March.  It's spring.  I'm sad.  I don't think I'll see spring quite the same ever again.  I know that death is a wound--something you carry with you.  It's odd how it peeks up sometimes and grabs a hold of my heart.  I am sad that Nate doesn't get to be apart of the friendship Colin and I share.  I am happy that through Nate's death, Colin and I became bonded like we hadn't been before.

That's how life is, huh?  It's the good and the bad and the mixed up feelings that go in between.

Have I said, It's March.

I want to write again.  I want to share the good and the bad and have this outlet again.  I need it.

So, musings are done.  It is late and if you haven't heard, there's an awful time change tomorrow.

Good night, sweet friends, good night.