It’s been a rough month.
There have been a series of tragedies that have hit my life that I could never have predicted coming. I just can’t hold them in anymore. Because this is my safe place, my comfort and my outlet I’m just going to let it out.
When something terrible happens usually it takes a period of time to deal with and process before you can begin to move on, but that’s just it, you can move on. Time heals, because that time is used to cope with that terrible event. But what happens when one terrible thing is followed almost immediately by another? And another? How do you find that time to heal? How do you overcome the series of emotional and mental obstacles and come out on the other side?
I’m not sure.
So I’m going to do the only thing I know how… write.
For the past 12 months or so my rock, my mum, has been in unbearable pain. She’s been suffering with a degenerative case of fibrosis in her womb. Over this past 12 months her condition reached a point that she could no longer continue on with her normal quality of life. She could no longer work the way she used to, enjoy her passions, spend time with her family or take pride in her home because she just didn’t have the energy for it’s upkeep.
She struggled physically and that was heartbreaking on it’s own to see, but recently her condition worsened to the point the only option was to remove her whole womb in a procedure called a complete hysterectomy. Though she had finished having babies, this was a hard thing for her to grasp as I’m sure it would be for any woman. Her mental resilience had been worn down so far she wasn’t holding herself together as best as she could and I felt so helpless as her daughter and as a medical professional knowing the urgent care she needed was being denied.
This helpless feeling has not only been experienced by me, but all of our family. Things haven’t quite been sticking together like they used to without our mummy, the glue, holding it together. As the oldest child in our family, I’ve always felt a responsibility to step in as “mum” when she can’t do it. With being pregnant, I feel like I haven’t had the strength (or more honestly, energy) to step up to that role. At times I’ve wished I could just go home to the Farm and look after her. To encourage my brother to pull his weight around the house, to get the gardens looking lovely and cook meals so she doesn’t have to after long days on her feet.
I feel guilty that I haven’t done this for her. That I haven’t stepped up to the plate and been a super hero daughter as I should have been. I’m really sorry Mum.
Finally something happened and surgery was scheduled for the 11th of September. Thank God. Though there was a lot of anticipation and nervousness surrounding the surgery. I think it’s fair to say we were just happy she was getting some help and that this would be the start of a healing process for her.
Then, the domino’s started to fall.
The night before she was due to go into hospital the first tragedy struck. My Mum and brother came back to my parents home (I’ll refer to this as “the Farm”) to the sight of a mauled sheep in the shed, bailed up by our two loving house dogs Gig and Bear.
They were covered in blood and it was obvious that the dogs had attacked this sheep. It was a shock as the dogs have both been around livestock since they were puppies and had never shown a sign of having blood lust for the animals on the farm. On closer inspection it seemed that Gig was the only dog with blood on her face and mouth and that Bear just had splashes on him.
In our family we understand that there is a circle of life on the farm. That the animals that live there have a happy and healthy life and then when the time is right they leave us and serve another purpose. Every sheep, every cow, chicken, duck and pig is loved and respected deeply.
Every lamb born in the spring is received with overwhelming joy and every egg collected is appreciated. We cry when animals are lost to the conditions or unforseen circumstances. Every life on the farm is just as important as the other and it’s our role to love and protect them.
This is important to understand when describing how hard it was to process what Gig had done. She wasn’t livestock. She was more than a pet, which is often what pet owners say. She was our family member, for 5 years since we got her as a little puppy. Adored by every one of us, she slept in my 15 year old brothers bed almost every night, she took car rides in my dads truck, she was snuck treats by me and my sister and she was never far away when you were having a hard day.
Gig. Our Giggy Girl.
Her cuddles would melt your heart. Often she didn’t realise her size and she’d stand on your foot and hurt you, or whack her tail into your shin when she’d excitedly wag it upon arrival. How could she have hurt one of our sheep? How could our loving cuddly Gig do something like that?
The timing was horrible, Mum’s surgery the next day, a decision had to be made. Gig could no longer stay on the farm as it’s known once a dog has a taste for blood it’s too risky to have them around other animals again. No one wanted her to be put down, we wanted to re-home her and we hoped my sister could take Gig to her home in the city. But at this point there was no clue what we would do about her.
All we wanted was for time to go backwards. To erase what she had done and go back to life on the Farm as usual. The facts were, we couldn’t. There was no choice for anyone to make. Gig was a purebred American Bulldog, we had hoped we could breed from her one day but she developed arthritis and hip displasia so she couldn’t have babies. She had killed a sheep and there was no way to guarantee she wouldn’t do it again, to a sheep, cat, or child. No choice.
The next day Mum was admitted to hospital and underwent the surgery to remove her womb. The positive part of this story is that the surgery was successful and she is recovering well.
But the heartbreaking part was that Giggy left us the next day.
–I’m sobbing as I write this.
She is gone and it hasn’t sunk in. Pulling into the driveway of the farm now, only one dog awaits to greet you excitedly now. Only one. My heart utterly breaks for my brother, who was only 10 when we first got Gig, who has spent his teenaged years with her as his companion in the loneliness that the farm can sometimes give you at that age, being isolated from friends.
But mostly for my Dad. Giggy was his girl.
As the head of our family, protector of the farm, and the man of the house the ultimate decision fell on his shoulders. I am only now beginning to understand how heavy that burden was to bear. Him and Gig had a connection the rest of us couldn’t compare to. He loved her like she was his baby rather than a dog. His usually staunch demeanor was completely shattered by his adorable coo’s for that dog. The responsibility of taking away Gig’s life was on Dad. The act, I know, has haunted Dad since being committed. I cannot imagine how painful it would have been for him to bury his girl.
I’m sorry you had to do that dad. I’m sorry that responsibility fell to you.
With mum at her weakest point she wasn’t able to support us through our heartache the way she normally would have. Our normally strong family, felt like it had been hit by a tornado.
And it didn’t end there….