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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Carly Shetland and Autumn

~ Carly Shetland ~
It's been a week or three of remembering to breath; autumn is in the air, temps are falling, humidity is falling, leaves are starting to turn. Yep, autumn is on the way, although, to be sure, there are still plenty of days with heat left to enjoy. The garden isn't  much and that's okay. It's been a year of being overwhelmed with no back-up and many, too many, people have asked, "How long can you hold out?" The answer is, "I don't know." Recently, I read that married people, especially married people with children should try and work things out; they should stay married and not divorce. One of the primary reasons was economics. A divorced woman's standard of living, almost immediately upon signing the divorce papers, drops by fifty percent. People, that's a huge amount and I don't advocate staying in a marriage where one is abused, but I do think a lot of people get divorced for the silliest of reasons. "I just don't love him or her any more." What does that mean? Did you ever? Anyway, as Tina Turner once said, "what's love got to do with it?" Okay, maybe she wasn't talking about marriage but love is a choice. Someone asked Dave if he'd ever been fallen in love and his reply was, "No, but I think I might have stepped in it once or twice." Only one of them laughed. 
Carly Shetland lives in the yard now and is very happy about it. She's so old, north of 15 and probably closer to 17 and she just toddles about on her poor little arthritic legs, waiting for love, pets and treats. She has a voice like a fog horn and isn't above using it! In the background, Sadie and Sam play.
I took a few photos of the American Curly horses; will do a post on them soon. Dave always said we're running an old age farm and he's right. He never liked the sheep in the yard but it doesn't bother me; I figure it's more pasture and less mowing -smile-
~ Sophie Lauren Butterball ~
Actually Sophie has lost a few pounds and is looking fit and trim, for her anyway. They killed a groundhog today...GOOD DOGS!...and are going to bed pleased as punch with themselves. As am I. Anytime they kill a groundhog it's good news to me.
~ Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent ~
"If you were a man, I'd marry you, Sam!" Dave loved this little feller and I think Sam is the one who misses Dave most, next to me, of course. Sam stood sentry as Melvin gave Dave CPR and Sam watched as the EMT's carried Dave's body out of the house, never to return. Sam is a good 'un and I bless the day Dave and I stopped to pick him up, even if it did make us late for church. We all think it was a great reason!
~ Sadie's best side ~
Now Sadie...what can be said about Sadie except, "she ain't nothing but a hound dog!" See the ridge going up her back; she's a Rhodesian Ridgeback from Keniba Kennels and about a hundred pounds of pure puppy. Yes, at three plus years old, she's still puppy! Here, she sits on her favorite lap because The Empress doesn't like getting her fanny wet on dewy grass. I was seated, petting Carly, when Sadie came up to me, turned around and kept putting her back side down until she felt my lap underneath. Then, and only then, she deigned to lower her butkus onto my lap. It never even occurred to her that might not be what I wanted; you know how puppies are...self-centered, self-focused and it's all about me, me, me. I still love her though and I can see see little signs of her growing into a girl to be reckoned with; a girl who protects her own and doesn't like anyone messing with her human! Good Girl, Sadie!
~ view from my window ~
It's been nine months since Dave died and this month was the first time the fifth came and went without me remembering. Does that mean I'm healing, getting dementia, am overwhelmed with everything...yes, to all the above except, hopefully, not getting dementia. Memory loss can occur anytime there's a shock to the system and, God knows, losing Dave was, and is, a shock to the system. I know several women whose husband's have died since and my heart breaks for them; I know some of what they are going through and nothing but God and time can bring healing and, perhaps, restoration. In the meantime, ennui, though not boredom, is a constant battle; one that, sometimes, I'm just as satisfied to lose. Other words that come to mind: apathetic, lassitude...I'm still trying to figure out the right word; none, really, come to mind. 
For the first few months, I was in shock and, like I've said before, March was a constant struggle to stay alive. It would have been so much easier to just lay it...everything...down and stop living. Dave and I cast our lot together; once we married it was never Dave or Sandra, it was always Dave and Sandra; we were a team, a unit, and, generally, that's how people viewed us. Now, it's just me and I'm off kilter, a whirling dervish that spins unsteadily, unevenly and without the prophetic state following.
I'd love to tell you something grand about why I didn't do that, stop living, but, you know what, it was something simple. I kept thinking, "suppose I do make the decision to stop living and at that very last moment, God lets me see what I would have missed and it was wonderful!" 
Bless His name, He knew what it would take for me to stay on my feet, to keep going. That, plus, what kind of "little Christ" would I be if I couldn't handle this part of life? Death is the natural end; we all know it's coming, a lot of us are preparing best we can and yet, no matter how much we think we're prepared, we're not. It still such a HUGE surprise! Especially when death is sudden. Yesterday, a friend was in a terrible auto accident and his car was totaled but he was unscathed...a miracle! God gave that man a miracle, his very life, and I only hope my friend remembers to say, "thank you", again. 
So, my struggle continues, but not as bitter; life goes on, but a lot emptier; tears still come, but I'm crying in a chair and not curled in a tight little ball on the kitchen floor as the dogs gather 'round and lick my face. 
God is still on His throne and all's well with the world. 
Bless His name forever.

Blessings ~ my little family, Carly, Sadie, Sam, Sophie and all the rest ~ a beautiful place to live ~ miracles ~ the love, mercy and grace of God ~


  1. Yep - and I never did the kitchen floor thing - mine seems to be in the shower - figure it doesn't show? oh right nobody here to see anyhoo. A 'hood neither of us wanted, asked for or truly know how to negotiate - but we are doing it aren't we? I smiled at the old age care for animals - after all they gave their best years to us - we need to make their last years as mellow as possible.
    Yes - His Holy Name is blessed.

  2. I love getting to "meet" one of your sheep, finally!

  3. Hello Sandra:
    It is a comfort to us to know that whilst the struggle continues it perhaps rages rather less and is, in your own words, 'less bitter'. As we have said before, Dave will never go from you and that has nothing to do with either remembering or forgetting each month the day on which he died.

    Meanwhile, it has been so good to 'meet' some of the other inhabitants of the farm. You are, believe us, dear Sandra, not only coping but doing an excellent job.

  4. Carley the Sheep is lovely, and you have some wonderful friends in the dogs. Everything has a reason for happining. Life is full of suprises.Sending you a hug Sandy.

  5. Lord, love your heart!

    What a comfort a furry face can be when it belongs to someone who loves you, and never, ever lets you forget it. I always ponder who really ownes who?

  6. Beautifully said, Sandra! Bless you!
    I love your new-to-you sheep. She's nice!

  7. After my husband died, I lost a whole year...literally, I cannot remember much of anything from that first year. But the sun did finally begin to shine again, and I found myself. I like what I found. One day you will step back out into the sunshine, too. (I'm glad I didn't even know about blogs back then, I'd hate to go back and read about those days.)

  8. This was a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing your heart with us...

  9. Hi LindaSue - oh yeah, the shower as well but the kitchen floor meltdown is more memorable. The shower thing was a constant; got so I'd only take 2 showers a week -wry smile-. Fortunately, the 2 showers a week didn't last.

    Michelle - the youngest sheep I have is 7 or 8; most are older than a dozen years and some, like Carly, hover north of 15.

    Dearest Jane and Lance - words fail me at telling you how encouraging you are and always seem to know how to minister to my spirit. You are both dearly loved.

    Yvonne - hope you're continuing to heal, you're still on the prayer list.

    Oh Annie - let me help with that...the dogs own me and the cats allow me to serve them -LOL-!

    Pom Pom - Carly has lived here for more than a dozen years; she was the one who always ran to greet the school children on tours. She knew they had corn to feed her -smile-.

    June - thank you so much for telling me; until one is in this position, it seems crazy from the outside looking in. I've lost a lot of time and yesterday, realized I might have thrown away Dave's and my checkbooks for last year. I can't believe I did that but it's all too possible!

    Amber - grief is a mystery and people do very strange things while grieving. Some of which I can't even remember!

  10. So beautifully written Sandra, As I was reading I was thinking how in awe I am that you can pen these words and they are so beautifully and wonderfully said. I am glad you didn't give up. I am glad you can stand where you are and I hope you can see what I see, how far you have walked in only 9 months. The term of a baby isn't that funny that in that time God has been causing you to grow and it has been so painful yet, you are taking breaths and living life. I am glad you take care of your sheep like that. I imagine she is so much of a pet. I saw a man in the feed store one day who had a ewe that old who lived in his back yard. You could tell now that his wife and kids are gone how much she has become his family. I still think about that.
    Well, my friend, you are so lovely and your words are just incredible, knowing the pain it has been for you to get here. I hope the next nine months are easier. Hugs from me to you,

  11. Sandra,
    This is a beautiful post.
    First, I would applaud the dogs for getting a groundhog. I've had many a bad experience with those critters, but that's a whole 'nother story.
    I am glad you decided to live. I have not been in your shoes, the closest I've been is when my first husband chose divorce. I am so glad you have our faithful and loving God to carry and comfort you.
    Your geriatric sheep is dear!

  12. Precious post. Widowhood happened to me 11 yrs ago. The shadow of grief lingers. I have read that the loss of future "memory" also lingers. I believe God's promises& so I carry on. Love your sheep. If I were younger I would keep them

  13. My mom mentioned to me the other day that she misses missing my dad the way she used to... it's been 7 years since he passed and it's taken that long for her to realize he's not around anymore...

  14. Absolutely love your Sadie in your lap - how funny! Dogs are a hoot and know how to make us laugh most all the time.

  15. As my sweet grandmother always said, "Bless your Heart". Grief is such a hard, wrenching emotion. Just when you think you've got a handle on it, it sneaks up and grabs you around the throat. Nine months is not very long, not when you are missing your dear one. I honestly can hardly remember the first year after my son died. I only kept going for my other 2 sons, I couldn't let them loose their brother and their mother. Truly, Bless your heart! Hang in there.
    P S Love your critters!

  16. Sandra, this was such a wonderful post~ and dare I say that, considering what you've been through, but... somehow your words bring me such comfort, even though I have not walked this road you're on now (and hope I don't for many years, if ever...) but the fact that you, your sweet animals and your Heavenly Father are making this daily journey together now is such a beautiful picture.
    It brings tears to my eyes to think you were so low that you thought of ending it all... for I lost a precious friend by her own hand just a few months ago and it was so heartbreaking... but then God revealed to you that there is much more for you to see! What a blessing those words were to me...

    And PLEASE give Carly a hug for me, will you? She is so sweet that if I were there I would surely do it myself.

  17. Tear filled eyes once again, Sandra. I can only pray that more days of grief will be filled with treasured memories & smiles. You are one precious woman who was blessed with Dave, & he in you. Can not even begin to imagine your loss, nor what I would do, but am sure I would be following in your footsteps of emptiness & pain & lost in the world of grief. I know I would probably lay it all down ...
    I pray every day to be the first to go as I couldn't bear being without my husband. I know the loss of my baby son was devastating & often wonder if I will react the same ...

    You are one magnificent lady, Sandra. Your strength, wisdom & love is beautiful.

    Love the share of your animals.

    Hugs & love,
    TTFN ~

  18. So much to respond to here, but let me just say that I still love you even if you don't like groundhogs. ;)

    Your Punxsutawney-hometown friend, :)


  19. Your writing is so eloquent and heartfelt, Sandra...I have not been through what you are experiencing...but your words help me to understand a little. Your dogs are really wonderful...

  20. Sandra-- I love seeing the photos of your "four legged" family-- especially Carley Shetland-oh I'd love to meet her in person!! I love that she lives in your yard!!! So special--- all of your animal babies are!!

    Time does soften the blow some-- but I know you miss Dave so very much. He would be SO proud of you ----

  21. Lovely. And I know your feeling "God must have a much higher opinion of me than I do".

    Geoffrey is mending day by day. Chemo #2 coming up on Monday.

    Reason you landed on your feet? Because it is normal. I finally decided that the little things that are normal are so important. So He keeps you in critters. Important that is.

  22. I am crying for so many reasons and words fail me...
    Just know I love, respect, honor, and treasure you and your friendship.
    xo, misha

  23. I awoke today to a much needed rain that has not stopped. The world is dark and gloomy here today. I knew today would be the day to catch up on all my blog reading and all the comments I needed to return.

    My mood must be matching the weather because every blog I have visited has had a post with some nugget that touched me and drew a tear.

    When I got to your wonderful post I was transported back to Christmas of 2003 when my first husbands long illness took him from me. You have expressed this better then I ever could. I was very stoic back then and it is only at time like this when caught unaware that I allow the tears to flow.

    I have been blessed and I am now married to a wonderful man who has improved all aspects of my life. I hate to think of what struggles I would have today financially and otherwise if he had not come into my life.

    Yes, God is Good and he will care for us If we believe and care for him.


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