Rather than a back and forth drive to my mom's, we suddenly had an Easter snow day in mind; one filled with the nest and a movie marathon. Because of the forecast, we asked if everyone might be able to celebrate a day early? The answer, yes!
Surrounded in everyone we love and want most, we have the perfect get together. I consciously stick myself at the center of all that's going on. The conversations. The smiles. The laughs. The home cooked meal. The razzing of one another. My uncle's bringing of cross buns reminiscent of the ones he and my mom shared as children. All of the things which make life rich and beautiful. Many of the very people who color my life the most. But in their faces I've seen hurt and sadness too. Despite that, today I see happiness.
I grab this magical feeling and bottle it up. I take it with me. I'll need it later. This combination of love and laughter is saved. Uncorked and used when the edges of the multiple tiny holes lose form and all that's left is open space.
I wonder if they know? About their absence? I wonder if they realize how much they help when the missing becomes a little too much?
I hope you had a nice holiday, surrounded in those you love.
A change has been good for each of us. I didn't realize how a house and memories could have such a hold on you. Of course we had many great memories as well, but there, we also had our fair share of difficult times. In many ways and for many reasons, we felt it was time to move forward.
Although we miss our family and friends, overall it has been nice to be in another house and a place which holds different memories.
Tahoe heals, there's no two ways about it.
In Rainey, we could see an immediate change. Overnight, she was a different dog and has never looked back.
We have always said Tahoe is a dog's paradise and it's proving to be. Kama always loved it up here and would cry (me along side her) every time we would leave. Rainey followed suit. Dave always wondered why all the tears. He now understands ; )
I'm not sure if you will notice from the pictures, but Rainey's fur has puffed up from being here.
We laugh because while she had lost a good amount of weight, she looks like a lion in front.
She loves her sunset swims.
I think she looks like she's smiling in this picture.
Running across the ice.
Often times she sits in the front with me.
While in Dave's car, he puts her in the back. When he gets in - she's through the gate and in the backseat.
We call her Raidini.
Many times, we just let her ride where she wants. Why not? She still doesn't like to be in the back though. She cries and bounces off the walls.
Our neighbor Louise, Rainey, and a bunch of her friends.
Rainey and our nephew Ash.
Rainey and her friend Sam sharing a stick.
My dad (the over treater ; ) Rainey loves her walks, especially with his dog Ronda. They go wild through the forest!
This is a beautiful reservoir on one of our walks. Now that it's frozen, Rainey likes to run across.
When she's not out, she likes to watch all the wildlife.
And of course, she makes herself comfortable on all pillows.
A day in the life with Rainey Days Hodder
This day was so windy. There were actually people surfing in the lake. Rainey did some surfing of her own.
Before Aviana died, just like Kama, Rainey would rummage through all the clean laundry. After, she stopped. I'm happy to say, she's back to it.
This is the beach we used to take Kama, Aviana, and Snoozer. We have the best memories of them here. I take Rainey all the time. I feel most at peace there.
Thankfully, it's close to our house.
There are still things she won't do since, and that's okay. We are all changed and won't ever be the same. As long as we're getting better, that's all that matters.
Many times you've asked, and I've tried. My gosh, haveI tried. Each time, I'd start and then stop. I have many unfinished notes. All because midway, I'd up and walk. This went on for days, weeks, months... more than a year.
Now that we're on the other side, I can write. Did you know that dogs not only grieve, but grieve deeply? Well, at least Rainey did.
Aviana is who Rainey spent all her hours with,
and who she loved... Dearly.
Rainey was always there -
And even when Aviana was elsewhere,
Rainey still found a way to be close to her.
Rainey did her best to help with every bit of Aviana's therapy.
When Aviana would cry, that's when Rainey stepped in the most.
We all couldn't stand the floor work most. Our hearts would come undone as Aviana would spit, cry, and fight, until sadly... submission. My heart would bleed because in the name of recovery, we had to leave her. I would repeat, "In the long run it's for her betterment."
But Rainey, she didn't understand. She was confused. I'd try to explain, but no matter, she couldn't stand it. She would pace back and forth, stare, and wonder why I wasn't picking Aviana up (which broke my heart further). Rainey did all she knew to pacify Aviana - to help soothe her. She would lick Aviana's face, spit and tears. Finally, she would lie down next to her - trying her best to calm and comfort.
Rainey would sometimes annoy Aviana too, but that's what siblings do, right?
From the beginning, Rainey sensed something about Aviana. Both Kama and Rainey provided extra protection for Aviana. Sometimes we'd see each of them wedge themselves between certain people and Aviana until they felt the situation was safe for her.
Towards the end, Rainey was solemn, but loving.
And she wouldn't leave her girl's side.
After... Rainey was grieving. Hard.
If it's possible for us to love on her more, we tried.
But in our own grief of losing Aviana, some things fell by the wayside. In December, I found Rainey's Halloween costume on my top closet shelf!
We felt awful.
Right away, we put it on and celebrated her cuteness.
We took her on trips, attempting to pull her from the funk.
Much how grief works though, our efforts would snap her out for a little while, but then she'd soon slide back.
I thought baking for her and her friends was a great idea.
Much the same, she would eat her cookies and soon be back to moping around. Before Aviana, I had never truly seen a dog grieve.
There were too many different things to count, but here are a few of the main ones I noticed -
We had a game we would play when she would get a new toy. I won't go into the details, but in the end, she would go crazy!
That all ended after Aviana died. She still hasn't played the game or with any of her toys since.
If you've been here long enough, you may remember the countless pictures I've posted of Rainey on the hot tub. This was her favorite place to be - up and looking at what was going on all around, and especially over the fence and into her boyfriend Oski's yard.
We never used the hot tub. It became an eyesore because of all the damage to the top from her claws. Because it was her favorite place, her perch, we never got rid of it until the very end though.
After Aviana died, Rainey was visibly missing from her spot. She'd lost her desire. We would see her jump up and peek over during an upswing, but never like before. It broke my heart.
Rainey stopped enjoying the car ride. It seemed once the carseat and especially the stroller were removed from the back - she went wild - pacing back and forth. Crying the entire drive. The ride caused her so much anxiety, we stopped taking her places. She had no idea what to do with all the space, nor did she want to figure it out.
For some reason right after Aviana died, we hardly went into her room. At times, I couldn't find Rainey anywhere. I would search the whole house, only to find her lying in Aviana's room. With tears streaming, I would curl up next to her and together we would stay. I would talk to her. I'd let her know how we miss her too, and together we would carry Aviana with us always.
In a conversation with Amy, she said something which resonated completely. In some cosmic or spiritual way, and through her grief, she felt Rainey was bringing us all together in Aviana's room. I was so happy Amy shared this with me, because I believed this with my whole heart. Aviana died in that room. Her soul was released from her body. I knew from past experience with Rainey just how strong her sense was with other dogs who'd passed, so I was sure Rainey had the same sense for Aviana's room. I needed Amy's help in connecting the two. For some reason I couldn't. From then on, I would follow Rainey. I trusted her and felt she knew what was best.
Sometimes it was really hard seeing Rainey though. One time I found her sitting in the middle of Aviana's bed. I silently climbed up next to her. I watched as she sat, looking around at all the painted walls - the stars and moon, the butterfly, the low crawling turtle, the saying "Starlight, Starbright." She then sat somber, her head bowed. I watched her processing, taking it all in. It was as though she had finally realized. As I looked at her, the pain I felt was excruciating, yet at the very same time I was looking at one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. Rainey finally laid down, and I hugged her close. That day, we stayed in Aviana's room for a very long time. My thoughts drifted to all Amy had said, and I began to feel better. As hard as it was, I knew together we were healing.
After much thought, we had decided to turn Aviana's room into a meditation room. The three of us, (and Amy too on Pie Night) would lie in there together. This may sound strange, but for some reason I always felt peace in lying just below where Aviana died, maybe because she was finally free. Often times I would fall asleep.
Rainey loved this space just as much as we did.
There are many other things, but that's definitely enough.
In the next post, I'd love to share with you how Rainey has healed since moving to Lake Tahoe. It's been nice to see.