Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Great Blessing & Great Loss

Over the past week, I've been thinking a lot about how great blessings can often involve great loss.

What got me thinking about loss is the fact that I've been preparing to say goodbye to my sweet Auty girl.

That goodbye happened last night. That goodbye brought on sobbing barely can breath tears for pretty much the entire day at work once I got the email and realized it was happening that evening. I was pretty much useless at work yesterday. I left work at 3 to go get Mihretu so he could go home and say goodbye to her. His Auntie Merrill offered to come get him after he said his goodbyes so I could take her for the surrender by myself and therefore not lose it in front of M. That was a great plan. He said his goodbyes so he wasn't coming home to a house without Auty without prior knowledge - although he still keeps asking where she is. But he had something fun to focus on cause he loves his Auntie. And I got to have some time to grieve at home by myself after she was gone. It felt really weird in our house last night. It felt really weird this morning to not jump right out of bed and let her out. First thing M said when he woke up was "where's Auty?" and I reminded him again that she went to live with a new family who would give her lots of exercise and love. I held it together in front of M for the most part - no sobbing at least. But he definitely saw a few tears. Like last night after he went potty - he looked at me and pointed to the toilet seat to ask if he needed to put it down like usual. I paused and said "Well, I guess it doesn't matter. Auty isn't here to drink out of it so it's ok to leave it open if you want." And I just started to cry. He said "Mommy sad? Mommy crying?" and I said "Yeah buddy, I love Auty and I'm going to miss her. It's ok to be sad and ok to cry. Auty is going to be ok and so will we. But sometimes things still make us sad and that's ok." Sweet boy gave me a hug and wiped a tear off my cheek. He hasn't cried but he told me he's sad that she's gone.

She was my first dog and I had her for 2.5 years and I love her to pieces. I thought she'd be with me for her whole life. She was my first baby, the first member of my little family. I know I drove people nuts with all my facebook posts and zillion pictures of her cuteness. I didn't get it either until I became a dog momma and fell in love with this snuggy, sweet fur baby who shared my same name when I got her. To avoid having 2 Autumn's in the house, I shortened hers to Auty and it has fit her ever since. I'm really really really going to miss Auty. I already miss her. It feels empty and strange in the house. I haven't cried this much in a really long time. If you read my last blog, you'll know that she's been snapping at Mihretu because he makes her anxious and so I made the very hard, emotional decision to surrender her back to the animal rescue organization I got her from. I know it's the best thing for Auty too because it's not fair to her to be in a setting where she's anxious all the time. Plus I wasn't able to give her the same kind of attention I once was. They found her a foster home sooner than I thought. I thought it might be 3 or 4 weeks but it ended up being 1 week. I tried to soak up every moment because I knew a big chunk of my heart would go right along with her - but even so, it still doesn't feel like I had enough time with her. But I know it never would feel like enough because I didn't want to say goodbye to my first baby.

 She has been such a blessing to me. She's taught me about unconditional love. She's licked my tears when I've cried in Mihretu's room during those long months of waiting and not knowing if he would really be coming home or not. She gave me a reason to be home more and it was the perfect transition into the nesting phase and ultimately into being a mom to a precious little boy. She got me in the habit of waking up early:) I can look back at the past 2.5 years since I got her and see how God used her to teach me so many things. I got used to coming straight home after work to let her out. I got used to planning the days and evenings around her and when she would need to eat or be let out. Not the same level of responsibility as parenting Mihretu but certainly more than I had in my home life prior to having her and certainly one step closer to being a mom and helping me prepare. I used to walk her every morning AND every evening as long as it wasn't raining. I used to have her sleep with me. I used to spend pretty much every evening when I was home snuggling with her on the couch. Even before I surrendered Auty back, all of those things had changed. They had to change - I had a dog and a child to be responsible for now and to give my attention to. We still planned our evenings around letting her out and feeding her but she didn't get walks near as much as she used to (thank God we have a huge backyard for her to run) and she certainly didn't get as much attention from me. Not in the same way, anyway. She would get attention from Mihretu who loves her so much but she didn't seem to want that as much as attention from me. Especially since he made her very nervous. It's just been different for awhile now. She didn't get to sleep with me anymore because when she started getting anxious around Mihretu that was one of the first things trainers told me had to stop. I was very sad about that. And I've missed our evenings to snuggle up and watch tv before bed for awhile now since Mihretu won't fall asleep by himself and so I lay down with him and end up falling asleep and then getting up sometime in the night to transition to my own bed. It's been different - a new normal for us. And that was hard but saying goodbye to her is by far one of the hardest things I've had to do in my life. It feels like a death in the family. She was a huge part of my little family and a huge part of my heart and always will be. I'm definitely in a grief stage right now. Writing this is helping me process it a bit. I know it'll take awhile.

If there was a way to be able to do life with Auty exactly like before but also have the wonderful blessing of Mihretu in my life - that would be a perfect world scenario. But the reality is, with the great blessing of one thing came the loss of another thing. Something I really truly loved with all my heart. And that's ok but it is hard. I know Auty will be fine and so will we.

But today... right now, it hurts.

I would not trade being a mom to Mihretu for anything - but I just want to be real about this journey because I know a lot of other moms are going to be able to relate. Maybe it's not a dog but maybe it's some other kind of loss in the midst of great blessing. And maybe somebody reading this is already relating and experiencing some of that right now. If that is you - what I want to say is that God is there in the midst of our tears. He knows it hurts. But He also promises to never leave or forsake us. He has been whispering things to my heart this past week. This is what He said to me and perhaps it will encourage you:

 "My precious daughter - I am holding your heart. I see your tears. I know this is hard for you. It's ok to cry. It's ok to let go. It's ok to surrender Auty to me. I will take care of her. I will take care of you and Mihretu. I brought Auty into your life. You thought it was forever but I never told you that it would be. It was for a season. Look at how she helped prepare you for motherhood. Look at how much she taught you. Let go, my daughter. Release her. Let her be a blessing to another family like she was to you. It's ok. I know you don't want to but it's the right thing. I'm teaching you through this. And I'll teach Mihretu through this too. It's ok. It's ok. It's ok. Trust me with this. I've got this."

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