Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Remembering Aprilia

Sometimes we can see changes as time passes. We see leaves change from green to gold as summer fades into fall. We watch as our little boy's favorite Batman suit becomes too short, and too tight, and too faded to wear. Sometimes we see time pass in a moment, like when we see that first toothless smile. Sometimes we see it pass in weeks, like when we finally feel our jeans loosen after giving up ice cream and sweet tea and other fun calories for a while. And sometimes we see it pass in months or years, like when we look back at pictures and realize that we had forgotten that our baby was once a fat baby, whose first word was "gogga" and would giggle as he sat on the large white dog he had just talked about. And sometimes, we change in ways that we can't see, or can't understand, or can't explain.

I've written many posts since my last one that made it to the blog over a year ago, but they are all unfinished. I've written about homeschooling, and loss, and happiness, and remodeling, but they are all in my drafts folder. When I started my blog, I loved the idea that I was only going to write what I wanted and when I wanted-no grades, no deadlines, no pressures-and although I still think this is my overall plan, I've realized that there are some posts that I may not want to write, but that I NEED to write. And there is one post that I need to write that has been keeping me from being able to finish the others.

I have realized that I can't write about what is going on in my family, when I have lost a part of my family. But the trouble is that there are no right words to talk about the loss of family, when that family is a pet. How do you put into words the loss of a relationship that was never built on words? And while Aprilia was never my baby, or my child, and I was never her mama, she was a friend who was a part of my everyday- who depended on me, and loved me, and understood me. And I miss her. And while her death was at a natural time for a dog, at an old age and due to a sickness that could not be treated, and while we were given time to enjoy her last days with her, it was still hard to say good bye. When I told Ryder that we had to take her to the vet because she was no longer able to walk or lie down or eat, I learned that there are times we have to teach our children that it's okay to be sad, and it's okay to cry, and there are hurts that can't be fixed with a  band aid and a kiss.  And I learned there are times, we have to believe those things ourselves, even when we are all grown up.

In December 2012, Cody was at a K9 training class for the week with his drug dog Rico (who we were to lose unexpectedly in January, but that's another story), and Ryder and I said goodbye to Aprilia. Aprilia was part of our family before we even became a family. She was a part of all the big times in our lives, marriage, and moving, and our firsts with Ryder, but more importantly, she was a part of the read a book on the couch, order pizza, and grade papers or rock a baby to sleep every day kind of things. When Cody and I were dating, we would take Aprilia to the pet store to pick out a toy, or to Fall Creek Falls for a hike. After our wedding, we went to our house to take a picture with her before we left for our honeymoon (and that's just because she wasn't actually in the wedding). After we were married, she kept me company many nights while Cody was working midnights in Nashville. She would go with me to the high school on the weekends and eat the gum from under the kids' desks while I worked. We had photo sessions with her for Ryder's baby shower thank you cards, for Christmas cards, for Halloween, and for no special reason at all. She would complain if she didn't have enough room to lay down in the car when we were traveling, or if her food bowl were empty, or if we didn't answer when she rang the bell to go outside. She chewed up Cody's paintballs and tore my (dying) hydrangea out of the ground, and when we talked to her about it, she would sit and turn her head like she was really listening to us. She was patient with a fat little baby that would crawl over her and then turn around to do it again or take her present away that she had unwrapped on Christmas morning. When Ryder learned to walk, we would let him hold her leash, so that he would keep moving ahead and not get distracted. She lived in three different houses with us, and we would bring her to play while we worked on the one we live in now. She never told us a story of her own, but she is a part of so many of ours.

If you've never had a pet that was part of your family, no words can explain the change that happens when that friend is lost. And if you've had a pet that was part of your family, well, you don't need words to explain that change because you know exactly what I'm talking about. I knew our family changed when we lost Aprilia. I could see that change when I had to send a Christmas card without her in it, or when I came home and I didn't hear the clicking of her nails on the floor. But I tried many time to write a post to explain that I had lost a friend, a part of my family, a part of many sweet memories, only to get started and realize I didn't have the right words to finish. Only now am I able to share a part of that loss that is sorrow and joy and peace because I realize that although we shed a few tears over the loss of our friend, we will continue to share many more smiles because of our time with her.
 And I am finally able to give an ending to the story of our pet-who-was-friend-and-family that shared so many stories, so many moments, and so many changes with us.


  1. So sorry to hear that she has passed. I still have many great memories of my times with her! You, Cody, and Ryder are in my prayers. Love you K-Rob!

  2. I love this post-of course, I do not love that Aprilia is gone, but you worded it all so perfectly. She was the most special dog. I am so glad you have the great memories (& pictures) to remember! Love you!

  3. Nicely said. I know exactly the feeling you had. Losing a member of the family is hard.

  4. Thanks, Staci! You were her first baby sitter, back when our pets were our biggest responsibility! You brought me many great animal feeding a baby hedgehog every two hours in between teaching Romeo and Juliet and page deadlines or whatever else was going on in school :) So funny! And thanks, Denise...many of those pictures were because of your awesomeness. I loved having so many favorites to choose from. And thanks to my anonymous friend...I was thinking of many friends who have lost lifelong pet-family-friends as I was writing about our loss of Aprilia.

  5. Love this post. Made my cry because I am a huge animal lover. I ache for your loss but know you will always cherish those memories. =)


Thank you for taking the time to read our blog. I love your comments!