|Grandma Marylou, Liam, Rowan & Ben the Horse, June 2013|
One last horse back ride for Liam and Rowan, on Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista AZ before we leave for Germany. Daniel took the two oldest, Teddy and Patrick out to San Diego with Pop for the weekend to drop off our Suburban for shipment to Germany. Rowan, Liam and I stayed in Sierra Vista with Grandma and Nana. The boys attended a pro baseball game with cousins Avery, Griffin, Everett, Aunt Rochelle and Uncle Jarrod. They also included one last trip to the beach.
It was bitter sweet to see our home all packed up and empty as we prepare for our trip to Germany. We have so many wonderful things and people in our lives here in Arizona. This is our home. We have said our "see you laters" to a number of friends and family, including Grandma and Pop.
We said goodbye to our dear friend and family member, Bella. Daniel and I got her when we first got married. Bella was very well traveled. She had made 2 cross country trips. She has been as far West as California, and as far East as New York. She has seen the Pacific Ocean and tromped in the snows of the Great North Woods. About a year ago Bella really started to go downhill. She was having trouble standing up. The past few months there were days where she would only get up once a day to go to the bathroom and eat. She would sometimes fall down and have trouble getting back up. Her back legs would just give out. She sometimes would not get up until Daniel got home from work. She had severe muscle atrophy. Her once 130 pound physique had deteriorated to a mere 89 pounds.
It is never easy to prepare ourselves, and even more so, prepare young children for the death of a beloved pet and family member. I still remember the day we brought Teddy home from the hospital and we introduced him to Bella and Murphy. We explained to the kids that dogs just don't live as long as people do. We shared all the stories of the wonderful adventures Bella had been on. When they asked if she would ever "wake up" once the vet puts here "to sleep," we explained the circle of life. We are all placed on this Earth with a duty to take care of each other and our environment. When animals and people get old, we live on in another way. We go back to the Earth. When we go back to the Earth we help other plants and animals thrive. We live on in a whole new way. When Murphy, our other Great Pyrenees died, we had him cremated and planted a mesquite tree over his ashes. Today that tree thrives in our back yard. It has grown considerably, and will one day be the home for birds and other wildlife. This tree will provide a home, nourishment, and oxygen for other living things. Murphy is continuing on in the circle of life. We have also had Bella cremated and she will also continue on in the circle of life. Teddy says we can plant the trees next to each other and one day they can "hold hands." She is still living and is still with us in so many ways. Even though we cannot hug her and pet her like we used to, she is going through another whole stage of life.
It is the first time in our married life that we do not have a great big white dog laying by the back door. It is the first time there is no white face to greet us when we come in the front door.
We were all broken hearted to have to say goodbye to her. She lived a life rich in friendship, love, and experience. After packing up our home I look at all the empty rooms. I realize this is the first move we have made without our big white companions. We will have a home rich in love and memories to return to. And the two mesquite trees planted neatly in the back yard will forever be a tribute to Murphy and Bella, symbolizing the journeys of love, relationships, friendships, and experiences of the past, present, and all we have to look forward to in the future.