Kids Moved. Dog Died. Enough Said.

There’s a blog I’m posting in called Six Words Saturday. You post something about yourself or your life, or whatever is on your mind using only six words. Not only is this an interesting little concept, but it works out well for me, because I only have time to type about six words.


Saturday. The day you’re supposed to describe your life in Six Words. I can do this, I told myself. It’s been really hard to write about anything lately, but surely I can manage six words.

The thing is, my life has been turned upside-down the past few months. I’m not sure where it goes from here. I find myself, alternately, on the verge of a prayer and on the verge of despair. There are no road maps to go by anymore.

In July, (or was it June?) my oldest son, Kyle, and daughter-in-law/best friend I ever had, Erika, told me they were moving. Across the country, as in, on the other side of the world. With them, they took my precious grandson, Kole, who was just turning into a delightful little boy of almost two.

In August, the three of them boarded a plane that would take them to the opposite coast; Seattle, Washington. My husband and I went with them to the airport. The morning was a blur of putting things into the car, checking behind for last-minute items, taking things out of the car, holding onto Kole’s small hand while Mommy and Daddy got things organized at the airport, and a few brief minutes of standing in line.

A hurried kiss and a hug good-bye. Then, they were gone.

The drive home was precarious, trying to see through my tears. Jeff and I stood in the kitchen afterwards, for what seemed like hours, holding each other, reeling, crying.

Kole is the grandchild that was born on Thanksgiving two years ago. He is the grandchild that came to us just two months after our first grandchild, a beautiful girl, was re-located by her parents to Michigan. Kole, we decided, was a gift from God –  to us. A grand baby that we could pamper and love and teach to play golf and instill in him our love of the sea.

We were still staggering from the pain of this loss when our dog, a rottweiler named Hannah, began staggering herself. Eight years old and a victim of hip dysplasia, her limbs succumbed to years of pain and she stopped. When we saw her fall on her face, trying to take a step towards Jeff, we knew it was time.

And so, in August, we sent our proud, black, four-legged friend and protector to heaven. She was the child we could not have, our reason to get up on some days, always waiting for us with a “smile” and a wagging nub when we got home from working a twelve-hour shift.

On September first, another grandchild was born. A tiny girl with a tiny name; Isa. My middle son’s second child, she is here in the midst of, and in spite of, her parent’s rocky relationship and uncertain future. What should be a joyous event for a grandmother like me, is bittersweet. I am not welcome to call, to visit, to share in the joy. The pregnancy itself was kept secret from our family until my son finally said to me (about a month before she was born) “Mom, sit down. I have something to tell you.”

I do have a couple of minuscule photos of her on my cell phone, and a handful of recent photos of my oldest granddaughter, Freya. I haven’t seen her in a year. I know she has long blond hair and a gorgeous smile. But that’s about it.

I’m trying to take steps to accept these changes. It’s hard. Jeff and I spend a lot of hours at the beach, staring at the waves, wondering “why us?” I’ve booked a five-day trip to Seattle for next month.  I’m going to a counselor. I have seen a psychic. I talk to friends. I pray.

My psychic told me to write. She doesn’t know how hard this is. I don’t think anyone does.

But I’ve managed more than six words, and that’s a start.

9 thoughts on “Kids Moved. Dog Died. Enough Said.

  1. I am so sorry for all this going on in your life; I am sure it was hard to say goodbye to your little grandson and not to get to know your new granddaughter and then to have your dog die (that would be hard enough because I know how dogs can be our children, believe you me). I think you are wise to see a therapist and I think you are wise to pray. (not sure about the psychic, though, but that’s just me. Take care of yourself…..


    • Betty, thanks for you kind words. I wasn’t sure about the psychic either, at first I was very skeptical. But she is a lovely, insightful lady and talking to her made me feel much better – she reminded me that everything happens for a reason and she encouraged me to pray for everyone, and to pray for God’s will.

  2. Ginger, You are not alone. I share your grief. My youngest son with my three oldest grandchildren decided to move to Texas. Since then, I have blogged less, moped more, and have been in a general funk. Yet here we are, still stuck with a life to live. Remember the scene from the movie Moonstruck when Cher hears her boy friend tell her he loves her and she slaps him across the face and shouts “get over it?” Well that’s the way I have felt since my kids left me in June.
    You have suffered a double whammy with the loss of your dog, I can’t even begin to imagine what that feels like.
    Keep staring at the waves, keep praying, keep the faith, and picture yourself on the airplane headed for Seattle for the first visit.

    • Grumpa Joe! So good to hear from you again! How far away is Texas form you? In my case, Texas would be closer than Seattle. At least we could drive there without have to have six days off! Why did your son move? For mine, it was to be closer to my daughter-in-law’s family and also for a job. The job situation down here in NC is not so good right now. So we can thank the economy and the politicians that have ruined it for that one!

      I’m sorry to hear you’re in the same boat. I thought it was tough when my youngest left for college. I was not prepared for the loss of having my grandchildren close by. Unlike “Empty Nest Syndrome”, there is no label for this pain. I was so thrilled when I finally became a grandma. It was going to be my mission in life to be the Best Grandma Ever. I never envisioned this long distance thing. Sigh.

  3. You are definitely not alone. Although we are, blessedly, on good terms with our three children and welcomed any time we want to visit, sometimes they just seem so far away that it hurts. The younger two are in college – one only two hours away, the other, four hours. The oldest and our two grandsons are in New Mexico – a 15 drive or an expensive plane trip from here. We only get to see them a couple times a year, but I try to keep in touch by sending cards and small gifts for every occasion, talking on the phone, etc. I hope that you get to do this with Kole as he grows, and someday with the others as well.

    We, too, had to put a dog/family member down this summer. Joe, a Huskie mix, was diagnosed with diabetes and congestive heart failure so we really had no choice. This was much harder on my husband than me because Joe was certainly a one-man dog. All her affection was for Dave, so I wasn’t as close, but we’ve been through it before and I know how much it hurts. I’m so sorry that you’re dealing with this all at once.

    I encourage you to keep writing – even if just for yourself if you can’t bare to put it out there for the world. I think it’s very freeing. And if you do choose to share on-line, just know that there are many others who have had your same experiences and are here to support you.

    Keep praying. God is listening.

    • Hi Tami. I am trying to learn how to be a great grandma to Kole, long distance. Thank God, his mother is an angel who understands how hard this is on us, and make him available to us through Skpe, phone calls, Facebook, photos and by an open invitation to visit at any time, for as long as we wish.

      But Kole is such a little guy, and they forget so quickly. I know that a phone call is no substitute for staying overnight with “GiGi and Pops.” We had so much fun with him while he was here, and I cherish the memories, but it breaks my heart that they are just that now – memories.

      The decision to have our Hannah put down was excruciating. She was eight years old and the life expectancy for Rottweilers is about nine years. But she was alert, still eating, and still trying her best to please us. She just couldn’t get up to get to her water bowl anymore, or go to outside to relieve herself without falling down. It’s heart breaking to watch a proud breed like a Rottweiler be reduced to falling face first into the ground and then flail around, struggling to regain her footing, trying valiantly to stand.

      Having said that, and even knowing we had no other choice, the moment after she drew her last breath was the hardest moment of my life. Suddenly I was filled with regret, with self-doubt, with guilt. How could we have done such a thing to such a strong, yet trusting, animal?

      I appreciate your empathy. It helps a lot just knowing that we are not the only ones who have these burdens to bear.

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