2015 was a bittersweet year and a year I will never forget - a definite milestone marker. The year started out great and quickly took an unexpected turn for the worst when I got the call that my dad had passed suddenly in a car accident. I was faced with things that at the time I thought would break me and in that difficulty, I realized a strength in me that I didn't know I had. I made new friends, realized how monumental acquaintances can be, overcame fears, and grew into the life that 2015 handed me.
I went through all the emotions, moved into to my dad's home, two hours away to get my sister through the school year. I had to leave Christian, Baby, and my home behind for four months. During that time, I was able to do some soul searching. Some self-reflection. I learned a lot about myself. I was able to slowly pack up my dad's things and clean out his home and say goodbye. I slept in his bed every night and sat in 'his' chair every evening. His sneakers sat by the couch just as he had left them until the day I emptied everything out from the house and said goodbye. His change of clothes that he had laid out that day, remained on the bed and I slept next to them for four months. I stayed stuck in a period of limbo for those four months and refused to really start the healing. I was commuting two hours to and from work every day during this time, so all that windshield time was most of my 'therapy'. Listening to daddy's songs. Thinking of the last texts we sent, trying to wrap my head around the fact that his story was over. There would be no more new memories of him.
I would come home on the weekends and see Christian, Baby, and the animals. Christian took on the role as farm keeper while I was away and Baby's time (she had been battling a brain tumor since last July) came when I was home one weekend in March. Another devastation that I thought would break me.
My dad had a horse and an old golden retriever. A tree swing was in their pasture and I would swing and speak to the animals every evening. I was alone out there aside from the animals pretty much. My sister had her friends from school, she was dealing with things her own way, and I had the animals and the tree swing.
In June, I was able to come home after the school year and after my sister finished up the 10th grade. She went to live with her other sister, who has other children and could provide more of a 'family' environment for her. I started settling back into my life, feeling very thankful to have had Christian's support during this difficult time, and grateful beyond words that my mom, brother, sister-in-law, and stepdad were such a tight-knit family. I started to really be able to see my fortune. To be able to really appreciate and be thankful for certain things, like the fact that I had the acreage to be able to take in daddy's horse. That even though I was fearful of the giant Rose, I could at least try to see what daddy loved so much about her. I had no proper place for Rose, so I had to leave Eddie and Rose at my dad's for a few weeks after I moved back into my home and drive down to feed them.
On Father's Day weekend, I was able to move Rose and Eddie. This was my gift to my dad. To know that I was able to keep all his animals safe (he also had a cat that my dear mother took in). Eddie had never known a life outside of the pasture, so he lived in the field with Rose. Rose was not in her permanent place yet, but in part of the goat's field until I could afford to fence in the 'big field' for her.
I had no experience with horses aside from the few months I was living at my dad's and cared for her the best way I could - just throwing some hay out, and calling the farrier a few times for a hoof trimming, and then a vet visit before the move. In July, I asked a Facebook friend if she would be able to give me a few 'hands on' pointers to keep myself safe, and she was happy to help, out of that act of generosity, a wonderful friendship formed. I was and still am very thankful to have the support of someone so knowledgeable about horses. Being able to build trust with Rose and work with her, has helped with the grieving process as well, and that first lesson on handling actually was the real beginning of my breakthrough in healing. I get why horses are used in PTSD therapy and I look forward to spending time with Rose every single day. I may never ride her, but we 'get' each other now.
Eddie had a slow transition to becoming and indoor dog and in mid-October, he became a full-time house dog! This has been good for both Christian and myself. Losing Baby was hard, and no dog will ever replace her, but having Eddie and being able to show him the 'good life', sleeping in the bed, toys, and leashed walks (he is a bolter - takes off if hes not fenced in or on a leash, silly boy!) has been a treat for all of us!
Christmas was good, despite my worries that it may be sad being the first year without my dad and Baby, but it was really great after all. Christian and I ate at my mom's house with my brother, his wife, my mom and stepdad. After Christmas lunch, we opened presents. I must admit that I got some killer gifts! My brother got me some awesome car mats since the farm life can be so damaging to vehicle interiors. My mom got me a hula hoop - custom made! I got some new blades for my reciprocating saw from Eddie, and a ton of other really fun and useful gifts - a good mixture this year!! Eddie seemed to really love Christmas and I'm certain he loves his toys! Christmas night, we went to a friend's home for delicious Christmas cocktails!
So to close out the 2015, I am happy to say that it began rough, but it ended on a good note! I have almost finished Rose's big field complete with shelter from bad weather, Eddie is living the good life, I've been spending more time with my sister, and I do feel like 2016 will be a good one for us.
Here are a few year end pics - see y'all next year!
The December rain has been BRUTAL. If this keeps up, I may be getting a truckload of gravel just to get in and out of the driveway!
Check out my custom car mats from my bro! I am LOVING these!!!!! So happy!
Rose in her big field..... half has been fenced with electrical rope, and before next summer the other half will be fenced as well so that she can rotate pastures and always have grass!
The goats had post Christmas visitors..... fully loaded with kisses.
The mud sparked me to use those stepping stones I pulled up from the front yard in the Fall... I had to buy six more, but we now have a clean little path from the driveway to the back door!
This is the back of Rose's shelter/ garden shed. This little area is what I was clearing right before my dad passed. This will be a project once again in the new year, so that my garden can be ready to go when the temps rise again!
...the entry of the shed for Rose.... I completely tore out everything and rebuilt using the wood and pallets to close in the poles that are sturdy in the ground...
Amping up the hoof cleaning in these rainy days.... good thing the farrier is scheduled to come soon!
Eddie's first Christmas..... so sweet..
Fun girly gifts from my sister-in-law!
I am so very happy to have this fella in my life! He was a big part in the year ending on a high note! <3
Gifts, gifts, and more gifts! Ha! Alaskan Bush People.... Who is your fave? Mine is the sweet, kind-hearted Gabe. Awwwwww, such a sweetie!
Thanks for the blades, Eddie!
My custom hula hoop from mom!