Grief is strange, very strange. One moment you feel fine, the next moment you feel like your head will explode from the un-shed tears, the memories. Gracie and Abigail are being hard hit by grief. If we are away for a few hours, upon our return they hurl themselves at us, barking, crying, whimpering, shivering, shaking, running in circles until, almost, unable to control themselves. Repeats of “calm yourself. Hush babies, it’s all right, we’re home” finally get through their overwrought emotions and they begin to, somewhat, quiet themselves. Miss Kitty climbs in my lap and huddles there, eyes wide as she peers up at me. Boscoe, the back porch cat, runs to greet me and will ride my shoulder as we walk up the driveway. Even Hattie Cat is agreeable to being loved on…for a few moments.
Buster Brown, one of the old gentlemen sheep, is so weary but still loves his food, minerals and water and continues to enjoy life. Every day I go to the barn, expecting him to be in his last sleep and every day he amazes me again. Zacheous and Thomas keep him company and Thomas is so toddery and frail, he trembles when he walks. Those two also enjoy their food, minerals and water and as long as they enjoy life I enjoy tending to them.
We bought a heated water bucket and that helps all of us. That’s one less water bucket I have to break ice every day and the sheep will drink much more water. Buster Brown drank one half of a plastic Folgers coffee can tonight and this morning he drank two-thirds. I take his water to him so he doesn’t have to make his way out of the barn and to the heated water bucket.
I don’t mean to harp on our recent losses but Dave and I are so, emotionally, overwhelmed right now. Since mid-November, when his Mother passed away, our calm household has been shaken and through a lot. We’ve lost 50% of our household to death, our computers crashed and mine is still not working, our heating hot water pipes froze, burst, leaked and ruined three rooms, a hallway, furniture, books, magazines, wool rugs and the list goes on. The rooms will have to be torn out to the studs, dried out and then re-built, re-painted, floors sanded/re-finished, etc. Trust me, we’re still blessed well beyond our deserving but our emotions are frazzeled. Yet, the greatest blessing I’ve had is a full night’s sleep almost every night and, without that gift, I’m sure I’d be in terrible shape.
So, I practice four square breathing – breath in to the count of four, hold to the count of four, breath out to the count of four, hold to the count of four. Other things I do to help deal with life – stretching, spending as much time outdoors in the sunshine as possible, take the dogs for walks, work on the fencing and other farm chores, make baby quilts /there are five on the quilting table now ready to be sewn up/, make fleece throws and textile postcards, knit. I try to remember to laugh and know we’re all in this thing called ‘life’ together. The website, Dead or Alive, lets me know whom I’ve outlived and by how long; now that’s something to get excited about!
Tomorrow I want to make loaf bread, shortbread and a pot of homemade soup, perhaps three bean or corn chowder, not sure yet. There’s a big snow storm headed our way and nothing says comfort like homemade food. Time marches on, grief lessens week by week if not day by day, and friends help ease the pain. Frances Bacon said, ““It [friendship] redoubleth joy, and cutteth griefs in halves.” Thank God Dave and I have cultivated friendship and have each other; it makes a frosty world less chilly and there’s someone to share memories and make new memories. One of the things so difficult for his Mother by living to 95+ was there were so few people who remembered.
“The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes. It does not make life easy; rather it tries to make us great enough for life.” Wise words to live by from James L. Christensen. Life, in all its glories, difficulties and hardships, work to produce character and, for Christians, character that will stand the test of eternity. When in the midst of “developing character”, it serves to remember John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Blessings ~ friendship ~ peace ~ memories ~heated water buckets ~ comfort food ~