Friday, November 01, 2013

Our Rain.


I often tell people that Erik has had Rain longer than he has had me.  He bought Rain while we were dating, a year before we married.  It is another reason why I do not recognize my life lately.  Rain has always been a part of our married life.  Walking him in front of the house at night, those were our catch up times ~ when we would talk about our day and reconnect after the kids were tucked in, and it was just us again.  Walking him at noon, was my time to breathe midday, to take in a breath of fresh air and be quiet for a moment.  He has been our routine, part of daily rhythm for as long as we have been us.

As our marriage has grown, as our family has grown, as we have moved and breathed and lived in this home that God has made out of the two of us, Rain has been there, growing old alongside us.  A quiet partner, somedays we hardly took notice of him.  Other days his incessant barking, has been the straw that broke this stressed, tired mama's back.  The runs with him at Ridge Ferry Park in Rome, GA when he was a sideways running puppy whose back legs often got ahead of his front legs.  And, then he moved with us to St. Pete, and we ran by the bay where we watched the dolphins jump and play as we put in our daily miles, our little fit family of three ~ Erik, Rain, and me.  Then, we moved him to the country.  7 acres for our dog to run and play on, Canadian geese to chase and aggravate and eventually scare away from our pond.  

And, then we started bringing them home, baby after baby.  We used to laugh and pretend in our best imitation Rain voice, "Not another one! You're killing me!  Enough already!" But, he handled them with grace.  Never, even in his old age, did he get aggressive with them.  We lived day in and day out with Rain moving among us.  We would do school, and he would hide under the schoolroom table when the storms rolled in.  He would walk through the room, and I would pet him without really even being aware of it, so just a part of life.  Those floppy grey ears, the noise they made when he shook his head.  The way I would cringe when anyone knocked on the door because I knew the earth shaking bark that would follow.  He was just such a part of us.

Fifteen and one half years old.  With us from puppy to old dog.  And, now he is gone, and we are learning the new normal of life without our sweet grey friend.  The house in a strange way feels a little empty without him.  I miss my sweet grey vacuum cleaner when Emery dumps her cake on the floor after dinner.  And, there is no one to pass the bad parts of the chicken off to....  At times, I even miss his bark which used to unnerve me completely.  Oh, Boo, we miss you.

Over the last 3 months, we have watched him slowly decline.  But, the last month was a quick downturn.  About a week before he left us, I told the kids that it wouldn't be long.  I tried to prepare them for what was becoming obviously undeniable.  And, they had not known life without him. One day after we finished our morning schoolwork I told them, that we were going to go out and take some pictures with Rain because we didn't know how long we would have him with us.  This was our little photo shoot...

With Jack...


Emery...


Lije...


Eriky...


Josh...


James...


Even one with Zeke...


Just some scattered random shots...


He began to lose the ability to use his back legs.  The last weeks Erik and I had to become his back legs.  We made a bed for him in the foyer where he could just walk out the front door, use the restroom, and then walk back to his bed.  We would hold his hips and walk hovering over him.  He started having accidents more often, and he slowly quit eating, and we knew that our time with him was nearing its end.  I would teach the boys and walk by him periodically throughout the day to make sure he was still with us.  Those last weeks were treasures to me.  The nurse in me loved caring for him.  I got to give him dry shampoo baths and massage his soft grey fur.  It was a joy to be his back legs for him.  I really enjoyed taking care of him, helping him, bringing him water when he barked for it.  We fell into a little routine, and it worked for us, and as long as he wasn't in pain, I was committed to taking care of him as long as he lingered.


I began to pray that we wouldn't have to put him to sleep that he would go on his own here at home.  And, God was so gracious.  He granted me this and so much more.  Not only did he pass here at home, but God allowed me the privilege of being with him while he passed.


His breathing began to change the day he passed, and I was almost certain that it was about time.  It was late Tuesday night, October 22nd.  Erik was leading college Bible study.  Josh was with him and James was home with me.  The younger four were all asleep.  I took him out to do his job on the front lawn.  He lay down out there in front of the house, and I knew he wasn't going to get up.  So, I pet him and watched him slowly fade away, our sweet grey buddy.


We buried him that night under a full moon and a sky full of stars.  I will never forget Erik digging the grave while our oldest two sons held flashlights for him.  We spoke words over him, and we silkied those sweet grey ears one last time, and then we lay our little friend to rest.


The next few days were really hard.  Harder than I ever thought they would be.  But, we have lots of kids and lots of busyness, and that can be a good thing when you have to deal with loss.  Jen and the cousins brought us flowers and homemade cards.  And, one of our sweet neighbors picked flowers from her yard and lay them on Rain's grave.


We live in a dog friendly neighborhood, so the compassion our neighbors showed us made me teary.


I used to think that people who cried silly over pets were a bit off.  I had no idea how much this loss would hurt.  He truly was a member of our family.  We will never forget Rain, and we will never replace him.  He was Erik and my first baby.  His puppy stage helped prepare us for raising children.  He was a part of us, and we will miss him.  James asked me if we would see Rain in heaven.  I said that I didn't know for sure, but knowing God, I think he might just let us silky those grey ears again.

4 comments:

Christi said...

Oh Erin, how I cried when I read this! I used to think "those people" were a bit off, too, until I became one myself. We lost our sweet Carley in 8/12 & I still miss her. Our story was much like yours - we had her 1st & she was here when we brought our boys home. She, too, lost control of her back legs & ability to control going to the bathroom. We went on that way until she & HE decided it was time for her to go.

Not a dog person myself, it was hard for me to believe how much a part of our family she was. So I know how much y'all miss Rain. So sorry for your loss.

Lisa said...

So very, very sorry for your family's loss. How well loved Rain was!

Kelly said...

Oh, I am so sorry. What a beautiful tribute to an obviously loved and loving pet. Our dogs truly become part of the family, and you are so right- they help establish the rhythm of our lives.

dee said...

I am so sorry. Sweet, sweet Rain.

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Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.

 

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