Good morning. Last week was a rough week…. lots of sunsets in my world. It began by my trip to east Texas to help my mom pack up and prepare to move back to our home state of Wyoming. Lots of emotions in that task alone…….
My dad died in December 2013, and so this was the final hurrah of going thru his remaining belongings, military honors (USNA graduate 1960), momentos, and decades of pictures that he had saved…. finding homes for items that others would value and appreciate more than just stored interminably in my closet at home. I am a minimalist, but even as one, it’s still hard to just discard items that clearly had value to a man who was a minimalist himself, and one whom I loved dearly. Lots of difficult decisions to make, and yet it had to be done with inner resolve I wasn’t always sure I possessed. Getting mom packed was a mixture of sunset and sundown for me.
Upon my return home to the farm, I found that Kelly, our oldest dog, had taken a significant turn for the worse. We don’t know Kelly’s age…. all of our dogs are rescues… and he is certainly no exception. He was at least 15…. quite old for a 60+ lb dog. Kelly had been suffering from what was most likely bone cancer for several months. Although we try to manage things as naturally as possible around here, there is a time and a place in my world when conventional medicine must step in. When his discomfort and organ failure exceeded that which oils and supplements cannot support, we managed his world with Tramadol and steroids for at least 4 months. Even with ever increasing dosage, it was clear that holding on to him was not the humane thing to do. So, with a heavy heart, I called our vet to come out to our place to peacefully end his life. Our final gift to our animals is to always have the vet come here. I would rather pay for a house call so that our babies are stress free even at the very end. Kelly was a feral dog when he came to us…. completely feral. Untouchable. Ran with the coyotes out here…. THAT kind of feral. He became part of the family about 14 years ago, and was ultimately one of the most gentle souls in canine form that I’ve ever come across. His quiet presence is sorely missed around here, and his sweet self is now resting peacefully in our large animal graveyard, next to his first best friend…an old lab named Radar. Sunset.
My husband and I basically did a high five as we passed each other on the highway as I came home to manage the farm as he headed towards central Texas. He had received a call from his mom Wednesday morning. She was in the hospital, suspected of having had two small strokes. My MIL has since been transferred to a rehab facility, and hopefully will be returning home in the next few weeks…… buying enough time for the family to figure out living arrangements. The time has come that she shouldn’t be living alone anymore…. she is not able manage her medications, eating well, or her health. Losing independence is a rough thing. I watched my dad go thru it and adjust, and I’m hopeful that my MIL will be as graceful with this ‘new normal’ as he was. This part of life is hard emotionally and physically, both for the parent and their kids. Sunset.
My dad had all kinds of ‘sailor-isms’ he used to say. One of them that I know well regarded weather….. “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning, sailors take warning”.
This was one of the roughest emotionally charged weeks we’ve had in a long while. It has required both of us to put ‘regular life’ on hold…work, gardening, farm, chores/errands….. and just dogpaddle…. keeping one emotional nostril above water.
The sunsets have been tough, I am seek comfort in knowing that every sunset is followed by a sunrise. Life goes on, and the uncomfortable, the ugly, and the just plain sad simply serve to remind me to embrace all that is good in life, and know that without the bad, we might simply take the good for granted. I thank God for that, and for giving me the ability to see the sunsets not as the precursor to darkness, but holding on to a piece of the sail….and remember the sailor’s delight that is to come at dawn.