I have always been pretty good at making the most out of a bad situation. I guess it comes from being raised in a family that refused to never give up. As the one year anniversary of my dad's sudden departure from this life approaches, I can reflect on what happened, and what came out of that situation. There is a lot of good that has come from that day. Yes, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't have a million questions about why it happened, and why he's not here, and what were the reasons for him to make some of the decisions he made that day, and how such a freak accident occurred. As my brother said to me, "Sandi, it was just his time." And it was. I would like to explain - or at least make an attempt to explain how through such a great loss, I have somehow managed to come out the other end of it feeling grateful and richer in life than ever before.... all those little things, little memories, have now been made huge moments that I will never forget....that experience forced me to take the reigns of a situation that removed me from my comfortable little life I created for myself, and take control of how I react to the unknown things ahead.... Because I am still trying to put into words how I feel, I am warning you that this post will probably bounce around all corners of the world before I get to the end...It is how I work through things, so you are just going to have to deal....
I remember that night, just hours after his death, the topic of conversation was his animals. He was gone, his children were still here, and it was up to us to figure it all out. We were all faced with these living creatures that also lost their human. At the same time, we wanted to make a decision that would leave us feeling like we did what daddy would have wanted. At the time ideas were thrown around that Eddie would go to one place, someone knew someone who knew of a place where Rose could go, and the cat had no one offering up ideas for her. The next few days, we would be able to feed, and care for them a little, but had more pressing things to deal with. Luckily my dad had just gotten a load of hay, so the horse was easy.
Less than a week after my dad died, I made the decision to move into the home that he and my little sister shared (she is a teen), and allow her to finish out the school year in an environment that she was comfortable in. My thoughts were that she had already lost her dad - her only constant in the last several years, and the last thing I wanted to do was to take her home from her (it was not paid for and there was no money to keep it), AND take her friends away all at once. Her survivor benefits covered the mortgage until she finished out the school year, and I commuted two hours each way to work. After the school year, she moved in with her other sister (my ex step-sister), who has been able to provide her with such an amazing complete family that my sister never really had. All of her siblings were grown when she was born, so she was raised pretty much as an only child, and then when her mother and my dad divorced, it was always a single parent situation, whether she was visiting her mom, or home with my dad. I am so thankful that she is in a home with two parents, and they also have two children, so I really can't be more excited about her being part of a real family. She is thriving, and doing well in school, and we spend time with each other whenever possible.
Now back to the subject of the animals..... so during this time, I was able to care for all the animals and they got to live at their home for a few more months while I was there.....
After school was finished, it was time to hit the ground running and find a good home for everyone. We had to let the house go unfortunately and CiCi the cat, found a temporary foster at a great home. I was coming to terms with the fact that the only way I could ensure Eddie (a senior old boy) and Rose (my dad's baby) had a good home, was to take them in myself. Eddie and Rose were pasture mates, so I put them both in one of my goat paddocks and let all the goats hang together in one paddock instead of splitting them up. I had no background with horses whatsoever, and my only experience with Rose was just being at my dad's those four months after his death. I was actually not interested in horses at all before the time I spent with Rose at my dad's, but she grew on me and really helped my through that time, as odd as it sounds. Rose has now been here since Father's Day weekend, 2015, and that was planned as a way to give my daddy a gift his first Father's Day in heaven. I hustled to make that happen and it was my first ever experience trailering a horse. All went well and she has been healthy and happy here for almost 7 months, but not without a tremendous amount of support....During that first month of having Rose, I reached out to a Facebook acquaintance (that ran a horse rescue) for advice. She offered to give me handling lessons that would keep me safe and she became a very close friend and confidant in the process.
Eddie has since become an indoor spoiled rotten boy. Complete with toys, sweaters, treats, and lots of cuddling. It has been a real treat for everyone to be able to spoil him and give him a life like he has never known before and in turn it warms my heart to know that my daddy gets to see a side of Eddie that he never saw before - I feel my dad with me a lot, and I get little signs of his approval often.
Cici, was unable to find that perfect forever home while in her temporary foster home, so my awesome mom and stepdad decided to take her in. She too is living a very spoiled life!
All in all, I have learned tons in the year following my dad's passing. I have learned to love things that once scared me - I faced my fears and have grown tremendously in the process. This year has transformed me in ways I will never be able to put into words. I've been broken and put back together again. I got stronger from it all. I have learned about letting go, and moving on. Life goes on for the ones that are left after death. The last year was hard, devastating, packed with anxieties, self reflection, growth, overcoming fears, forgiveness, overwhelming joys, and eventually coming out on top. The realities of life did not sugar coat anything for me, and had no problem giving it to me straight. I was pushed around, deceived, manipulated, and almost emptied of all my bright light, but I came through it all stronger, brighter, and more enlightened. I have a newfound optimism inside me that is burning bright and a creativity that I have not felt in years. It all happened, it was all real, and I had to grow from it. I love my daddy and will always miss him, but I know that it was as my brother says, "just his time". Now it is mine. My time to shine!