Saturday, December 14, 2013

First and Last

This is Kasha on her first day here at the farm.  So Sweet, So Tiny and SO TIRED....  My heart would beat faster just watching her sleep and when she ran around you could not help but giggle.  Such Joy and Promise in that little body. 

Through the years this sweet girl has grown in size, responsibility and in my heart.  I never thought it could be possible but I have leaned on her strength more times then I could count and I have been there for her as well.  The countless patrols, the vigil in the barn as babies were soon to arrive, late night talks when I felt I could not make it one more day and the joy filled days laying in the tall buffalo grass in the forest as we listen to owls and soak up the warmth of the sun.  All those snow storms that we have weathered and even the fire this year that I thought might have been our ending.  Some of my favorite days has been when NOTHING happened and we just did our work without a fuss..  Most of all I will miss hearing her barks - I knew each one of her different barks and could hear them even if I was fast asleep (back in the day when I slept).  I feel I have gone deaf since she has been silent for more then a week.

For those who have been following my Dear Sweet Kasha who has been on the slow goodbye it has been for all here at the farm the worst, heart wrenching experience.  Each animal has had their time to say goodbye while she still  drew a breath  she is more then a Livestock Guardian Dog,  she isthe heart of the farm.  She has protected each and every one of us and saved many from the predators who would have ended their lives.  The animals here at the farm share a magical connection that has developed over the 17 years and now all that has been shattered.

This morning Kasha and I spoke and it was decided today was the end.  I went to the grave site that I have been preparing since spring. Last night I collected fleeces to line her final resting place   I had Cashmere from Ebony, Mohair from Sugar, Alpaca from Smokey and Llama from Rosebud.  All of these animals where the leaders of their species and friends to Kasha.  All have left the planet before her but will meet up on the other side.  Once the fleeces where lovenly laid into the grave site I returned to the shop.   I took the big sled and lined it with her wool blankets..  I dug deep and found the strength to lift her in and got her settled.   Out the shop door we went and I took the long trek to the forest.  With each step we spoke of the warm sun shine as each one of the billies walked the fence line and talked with her softly.  My heart was breaking to see how these big guys were hurting so for the loss of their protector..

As I reached the site I could not believe that for once Mother Nature did not grace us with wind.   I could not help but burst into hears and I realized how fraile my Kasha had become but still I would have to gather more strength within and lifted her out of the sled and gently onto the soft bed.  I covered her with the wool blankets and then laid down beside her.  We soaked up the warmth from the sun, listened to the birds sing and remembered all the days that we spent together and how some day we will be back working together in another place and time.  At times I felt like I was not going to be able to find the will to breathe just one more breath.  To know that my life will have such a big hole - I just did not see how I was going to be able to get through this loss.

In the silence I kept feeling like we were not alone.  I lifted my head and turned to the right - there laying under the pine next to us - the Large Buck Deer.  He was watching over us and Kasha raised her head just a bit to smell the air since her sight was gone.  I whispered to her that she was grand enough for the royal king to show.  I was not worried about his presence and laid my head back down.  After about a half hour he got up and slowly walked off.  As he departed  I noticed that Kasha had passed.  That Buck must have sensed the end and knew his duty was done.  I kept still holding my breath  hoping that as so many times before she would gasp and slowly her breathing would continue but this time the body remained still.   I took a handful of each fleece and combed out some of Kasha's white fur and tucked them into the basket I had brought out earlier.   I finished what I could of her burial - covering her with a protective container followed by earth and iced with moss rocks.  More rocks to follow but my body just could not move any more. I headed back to the house to place the basket in the shop and then check on everyone else before I was going to go back to Kasha for some quite reflection. 

As  the sun was lowering in the sky and I thought  I better first do the mailbox.   I put on my chore coat and off I went to take that long walk down the driveway.   Echo's from the Owl's saying their goodbyes sent the water works flowing again -  My God how much more can this gal cry??  Nothing worth the walk was in the box but as I turned and headed back towards the house that feeling washed over me - that gray blanket of sadness that makes you invisible to any hope of joy to reach you again.

I remember this feeling and struggled to keep myself here - not to float off into the space where pain swallows you up.  Everything looks distorted and the air is stale.   I  felt this way when I held my father's hand as the life drained out of his fragile body.  I knew at that moment in time that I would never feel that safe place again where just the sound of his voice could make the worst day seem to be right again.  I could smell his Old Spice for just a brief moment as I clunked down the drive as if my feet where encased in concrete instead of my snow boots..  As I took a few more steps I experienced the feelings of the morning when my husband dropped to the floor of our bedroom never to stand up in the world again. I remembered struggling to get him onto the bed as panic struck his face as he realized he was slipping into a coma.  I entered a four day nightmare that still lingers in the shadows if I sit still too long. Learning how horrible my husbands family could be and the lengths people will go who are raised in greed.  There is a part of my heart that has never recovered from those dark days.

 I decided to just go back to Kasha in hopes of shaking this life draining feelings.. As I walked up I could not believe my eyes.  There around her grave was the 9 female deer who reside here.  All sitting quietly and with such peace around Kasha.  I sat down about 50 yards away and we all just gazed into each others eyes and shared the moment.  About an half hour of this and I needed to go inside - temp was dropping fast and this body was to worn down to attempt the cold.  I slowly stood up and walked back to the house thinking "How many times have I had moments like this?"  How could I exisit without this place?  Then I just stopped in my tracks and gave out several silent prayers.

I am drained to say the least.  I know to some they may think - "Get a grip Grace it is only a dog" and to those people I say "I have lost so much through the years and especially in the last year that you have no idea - but I will count my blessings if I can lose you"...  I know, not very nice but Kasha was worth 100 of most folks.

Safe Journey my Dear Kasha - you have given me more then I ever can explain.


Anonymous said...

Oh dear Grace, I had no idea all this time that Kasha was your dog. Once again after reading I'm sorry, I love my dog and losing her I wouldn't want to talk about it, my pain would be too much. Loss I felt when I was young was just that. Since I have learned about God, His plans for mankind I don't feel loss. I feel missing is more the feeling now. It takes alot to gather up the knowledge I have to get me through some of the hardest things. Some days it feels like I'm numb and cannot walk or have no desire to even get out of bed. I have Miss Bling who makes me do this though, she's helped me alot through losing my job I had for almost 10 years and living in this RV. Some days I'm not a happy camper, feel frustrated and want to just run away.
I will keep you in my prayers and I know we will probably never meet in this lifetime but be sure I definately want to visit you and all your animals in the next life! God Bless You Grace {{HUGS}}
Your friend Shondra
and Miss Bling too!

monica said...

My dearest Pea Pod, I have no words, only tears. :(

frannie said...

dearest grace, my farmgirl sister. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of kasha, but once again I am so happy that you would share such a moment with others. I have always loved your writings and they have always made me smile and laugh, but this sharing is the most wonderful writing you have ever done. I will think of kasha this week and hope that she has joined my little cosmo, the great pyrenes who was the heart and soul of our little farm here in north texas. she was ours for 15 years and then she passed as well. I will think of you too grace and hope and pray that somehow your farm and your farm animals will help you get through this difficult time. love, frannie in texas

LLAbbott said...

My words will have to be formed later, for the right ones escape me. For now, I give you all of the tears that are streaming down my face. Rest Peacefully, Dearest Kasha. And know that there are many who will look after your Grace.

Keeper of the Past said...

Grace, my heart breaks for you. It is so hard to lose your best friend. Kasha is resting peacefully more suffering. Please try to get some rest. My dad once told me when you have many friends and family and pets you have many joys but you also have many sorrows but the joys outweigh the sorrows. I remember asking him, but daddy why does it hurt so bad and how can I make the hurting answer just tears.

PattyMara said...

My tears join yours, my heart aches and breaks with yours. This writing is numinous and powerful...the buck and the deer at her grave, the tenderness in lining her grave with the fleece of Kasha's pass on in such Beauty and respect for her big heart and spirit, this last gift you gave to her will last through time and space. Grieve fully, remembering that to grieve is your journey now. Take your time.

Tombstone Livestock said...

So sorry Grace you have lost a trusted and true friend. Some dogs just know how to commuicate with people and be more than just a dog.

Aprons and More said...

What a wonderful life she had at the farm. It seems that she touched the heart of every one she met ~ wild or tame. Hold on to your precious memories that you have of her. She will be with you always!


Ngo Family Farm said...

I am just so overcome with sadness for you and the loss of your dearest companion. And for all that you've had to endure in helping other loved ones pass on. It seems at once your blessing and curse - but it is so amazing the connection you have with the animals, and how very blessed they are to live with you and have you there for them in their time of greatest need. Wishing you continued strength as you journey through your life purpose, and much peace through this time or mourning.
Love, Jaime

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Grace, I shed some tears for Kasha too.

gpfrench said...

My heart goes to you- praying for strength and comfort for you and all on the farm. This is a great loss for you to bear. I wish I could help but know better. When my father died I was comforted by the thought of him joking my Mom and their beloved dogs. Hugs to you,