Tag Archives: loss


Our beloved brindle pit, Caleb, died suddenly and unexpectedly Friday night. I was already in bed asleep when Rich burst into our bedroom and said, “I think Caleb may have just died.” By the time we both ran downstairs to the den it was clear Caleb was already gone.

I don’t know where to start. Like I said, it was sudden. And unexpected. He behaved normally all Friday, eating, drinking, playing, napping as usual. Rich said that after I went to bed that night Caleb came to get petted and kissed, then went back to playing with Troubadour. They laid down to sleep and just like that Caleb slipped away. It’s some comfort that he went so quickly and without suffering. But what I find more comforting is knowing that he died after doing his favorite thing in the whole world: playing with Troubadour. While Caleb loved his big sister Snoops with all his heart, his relationship with Troubadour was on a whole other level. They literally became inseparable, with Caleb starving himself then quitting drinking water when they were apart for a few days a few years back. We took them for vet checkups on the same day because they couldn’t stand being home alone without each other. When Troubadour got a time-out in his crate, Caleb would kiss you and give you the eyes to get him released. They slept on the same bed together. They drank in tandem. They often peed in tandem. They didn’t even like going out in the backyard without each other. Which is why it’s now so hard to watch Troubadour processing what happened. He spent all Saturday obsessively checking the backyard to see if he’d somehow missed Caleb, even though he’d seen Rich carry Caleb’s body out the door that morning for that final visit to the vet. It was the only time in his life that he’s ever remained completely silent when his brother went out the front door without him.

I can’t express how much we are all going to miss Caleb. How much we already do. How hard it was telling Coraline and hearing her little heart break when she started crying and saying his name over and over. He was loved by everyone in our family and so many of our friends. Throughout his life he changed a lot of people’s minds about pit bulls, showing them what good dogs they inherently are. He loved peanut butter-filled Kongs. He loved chewing/eating/destroying tree branches. He loved kissing our hands and faces. He loved playing with Frisbees, ropes, and Boobah dolls. He loved wrestling with Troubadour, preferably in front of an audience. He loved everyone in our family. He loved our friends. He loved his little brother and his cat, Buster. He loved me. He loved Coraline. But most of all he loved Rich, his favorite person, the one who picked him out of all those puppies all those years ago.

Caleb smiled, but he’d only do it on command for Coraline. I already miss that goofy smile so much. I could write so much more about what I’ll miss about him, but it could easily turn into an endless post. I’ve cried so much since his passing it’s hard to believe I haven’t dehydrated by now.

We are now a family with one dog and one cat. And it’s for Caleb that we’ll take extra-special care of that one dog, the one who was crying tonight as if in physical pain because he can’t find his big brother.

Caleb would have turned 13 years old tomorrow. We are so honored and proud to have been his family since bringing him home as that tiny 13-pound 13-week-old rescue. You were a good boy, Caleb. Such a good boy.

Baby Caleb

I always thought of this as Caleb’s official baby portrait.

New Puppy

Getting comfy in his new daddy’s lap.


Caleb was one hell of a patient big brother.


Sleeping brothers

Caleb frisbee

This is maybe my favorite photo of Caleb. His personality really shines through here.






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Grandma Lee

Song Lyric of the Day:

Somebody saved me from the world you left / If you’re gonna cry my tears / If you’re gonna hold my breath / If you’re gonna let me see the sun you set / Oh, I am lost and found / Oh, I am lost and found

Katie Herzig / “Lost and Found

My grandmother-in-law is being laid to rest this morning in Iowa. Grandma Lee passed away last Thursday after suffering a stroke. And even though she reached the impressive age of 99, I think I took it for granted that she would live forever — she was just so spunky and full of life that it’s hard to imagine that life would ever come to an end.

I first met her back in 1998 when I accompanied Rich to Iowa for the first time. Grandma Lee was a tiny little thing — tiny but mighty. Mighty enough to have raised four kids. Mighty enough to have been a nurse. Mighty enough to beat breast cancer. And lord, was that woman quick with a comeback. Her snappy wit could (and probably did) cause whiplash in those fortunate enough to be witness to it.

The last time I saw her was September 2011. It’s really hitting home for me that the last time I saw her was truly the last time I would ever see her. Which is why I’m writing this through yet more tears. But I was lucky enough that my last visit with her was also the first (and only) time she would meet her great-granddaughter Coraline, which was a wonderful thing to behold. Coraline was almost 1 year old and more interested in running around the nursing home than sitting still, but I still managed to get some nice shots of her with Grandma Lee. While Grandma Lee didn’t quite remember me, she did remember her grandson Rich and knew that Coraline was his daughter.

I wish with all my heart I could be there with our family in Iowa to not only say my final farewell to Grandma Lee, who treated me like one of her own grandkids, but to be there to console my husband and father-in-law and our many other relatives as they lay this sweet, incredibly beloved woman to rest. I may be mourning from afar, but I hope everyone there knows I’m with them in spirit.

After our visit to Iowa, Rich’s Aunt Linda sent Coraline the most amazing birthday present, a hardbound book of photos from our visit with Grandma Lee. And while Coraline will never remember on her own meeting her great-grandma, Rich and I will never forget.

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Filed under family, grandma, grandmas, grandparents, grief, personal


Song Lyric of the Day:

Words don’t come easily / When most I need them / I do not have a key / I am breaking in / There’s people / People going out of their mind / Right into each others’ arms

A Silent Film / “Driven By Their Beating Hearts

Our weekend started out well enough. Fun family time, a movie with my sisters. Everything changed with a phone call from my mother-in-law late in the afternoon. In a panic, I listened as Rich’s voice rose, his mother’s crying audible from several feet away. I let Coraline continue happily watching Olivia even as I burst into tears when Rich repeated the news to me; I didn’t want her to get scared.

A young member of our extended family had died unexpectedly, on his 23rd birthday. I didn’t know him very well, but every time I saw him, he was so happy and so sweet and so fun to be around. I’m trying to process how someone I met when he was only 8 1/2 years old is gone. And his family … my God, I can’t even begin to imagine what his family, especially his parents and siblings are going through. Except that I can. I can imagine it. I’m a parent now, I have siblings.  And I start crying all over again for them, for their loss, for our whole family’s loss. Life can be so unfair. Right now it seems exceptionally cruel that these wonderful people, people who I love, who greeted me with open arms from day one, who have invited me into and hosted me in their home, are going through every parent’s worst nightmare. My heart breaks into another million pieces every time I think of what they and their other children are facing. And it’s all so very unfair.


Filed under family, grief

Another Loss

Christmas Song Lyric of the Day:

Let loving hearts enthrone Him / Raise, raise the song on high

Sarah McLachlan / “What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)

The year that won’t end keeps on going. Our almost brother-in-law (the wedding is early January) lost his father last night. That’s all I have the energy to say at this point. Please pray for our family. Thanks.


Filed under family, grief, loss, personal