Olivia knows, so now I can share with you.......
In the midst of teacher trainings, the She Speaks conference, Olivia packing and leaving for a mission trip with her youth group, and trying to get my classroom ready, I've also been helping Evan sort through his "life" as we have been packing up his bedroom. He's planning to move to California to work and go to school, so Maria is going to live with us for the year......
My heart has been so full of emotions as we've placed so much of his life in Rubbermaid containers and then sat them in Nick's room until we put them in storage. I've been vividly reminded that life really is a journey that ends in boxes. What we collect here truly isn't forever. It's the memories we make while we are collecting "stuff" that last forever.
But Thursday afternoon, our week came crashing down and all the things we were doing stopped abruptly when Tim arrived with the UHaul containing Maria's furniture.
I returned home after picking up the key to her storage unit to find Tim standing in the driveway holding Kandi......Olivia's precious dog Kandi that had been such an accidental gift in November.......and Kandi was dead.
Snoopy chases the Kentucky Power truck (and most other vehicles when they go by our house), and Kandi had joined her at the last minute. Tim tried to jump out and stop her but had to jump back so he wouldn't get hit, and Kandi's life was taken.
As I saw Tim standing in our driveway holding her and shaking his head and screaming, "The KY Power truck!" I couldn't even stop. I had a flashback to Tim holding Adrienne in our driveway the morning she died, and I drove to our neighbor's and thankfully she pulled up right behind me and I ran to her car screaming. I couldn't stop screaming. I had left Kandi outside, and I should have put her in, but Kandi loves playing in the yard with Snoopy and Peppy and I knew I'd be right back.
Tim's friend Dean was at the house and together they buried her in our memory garden for Nick and Adrienne.
Olivia is in Indianapolis, and I didn't want her coming home to find Kandi gone. She wasn't home when Nick died, and I couldn't relive watching her hear the news for the first time. Kandi was Olivia's best friend. I rarely saw them apart when Olivia was at home. They cuddled constantly.
I woke up yesterday morning and the reality of Kandi's absence from our home brought back so many memories of waking to remember that Nick was not here. I have cried so much in the past 24 hours......over a dog.....but honestly, she was part of our family and most of all, she healed a huge part of Olivia's heart.
Last night, the youth sponsors told Olivia. They said she was hysterical and thankfully, all the girls were there to comfort her and cry with her.
We had a rough evening of phone calls with her. She kept crying and asking, "What am I going to do? What am I going to do? Kandi always cuddled with me?" She wanted to know where Kandi was. She wanted to know what everyone did when they found out Kandi had died. She wanted to know exactly what happened and why the truck didn't slow down. I sat on the porch and cried as she sat in the hallway in Indianapolis and cried on the other end of the phone.
I told her that God has brought us through some horrible things, and I knew He would be with her through this pain. I told her Kandi was a gift during a time when she was very sick and needed someone to cuddle with her all the time.
I told her Kandi would always be with us.
I told her Evan wants to go find a puppy that needs a home.
What I haven't told her yet is about what I found as I was in the road telling Evan and Maria that Kandi had been killed. They had pulled through the campus of KCU just minutes after I found Tim in the driveway, and I ran to the window of the car and told them. Maria started crying and I looked down on the road and saw this:
I took a picture of it late last night and thought, "This is what Christians are supposed to look like. We shine through our dents. We smile through our tears."
I want to make Olivia a necklace with this penny. I want her to remember that God is with us in our pain. I felt as if the penny had been placed right there in that exact spot by God and Nick so that we would know that in the midst of the chaos on our street where we were crying, neighbors were crying, friends were crying......we were not alone. The spiritual world was very aware of the pain on the earthly world, and I was thankful.
I feel almost silly having such heartache over an animal, but our house feels empty again. I in no way compare this to the loss of a child or spouse or any person we love deeply, but maybe part of it is how this loss has brought back the pain of deeper losses.Kandi's absence from her chair reminds me of Nick's absence from his. The loss of Kandi's joy reminds me of the loss of Nick's smile from our lives....and the list goes on and on.
I think of the horrible tragedies in the world. i think of things like tsunamis, tornadoes, and the Norwegian massacre, and I feel ashamed of all of my tears over Kandi, but love is love and loss is loss. When we risk loving, we risk losing. The gift must come in the loving part.........and in that part I try to say "thank you," because our house needed Kandi for the past 8 months.
My last words to Olivia last night were these, "As you fall to sleep tonight, try to think of ways to say "thank you" to God. Thank Him that Kandi didn't suffer. Thank Him that we got to love Kandi and make so many special memories with her Thank Him that there are other puppies to love."
Please say a prayer for Olivia as she travels home today. She is suppose to arrive at 6 this evening. I am excited to hug her and dreading it at the same time.
I love you all so much and know that you love Olivia, so thank you for lifting her up to the God of compassion.
Dented deeply but trying to keep shining,