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Dear Ones,

This message comes to us from Jolene, whom you may remember from some of her previous posts in our Loss of a Parent forum. Although she is visually impaired and unable to post messages herself, she is eager to participate in this particular forum, and has asked my help in doing so. We've decided that her postings will be sent to me via e-mail, and in turn I will "cut and paste" the content of her messages into this forum on her behalf. The "talking cursor" on her computer will enable her to read anything that you post in response to her here. I know that each of you will join me in welcoming her back to our GH family.

Hello everyone,

I am not sure exactly how to say what I need to say but I shall do my best to express myself here. It may--or may not--make any logical sense at all. Before I begin, please let me tell you all a little bit about myself. My name's Jolene and I'm a native of the state of Hawaii, specifically the island of Oahu (the third largest island in this island state). I am 39 years old, totally blind, unmarried (but absolutely NOT looking for a mate), childless (with the exception of my precious doggie) and twice widowed. I am a devout born-again Christian who works in ministry online full-time and attend Calvary Chapel/Honolulu (with Pastor Bill Stonebraker); I'm also attending Bible college part-time and am getting ready to graduate soon.

For almost 12 years now, my precious black Pomeranian/Spitz mix named Haiku (pronounced hah-koo) has been my constant companion, mealtime buddy, walking/jogging partner, Bible study partner and best friend. She had a solid-black coat of thick short fur, a curly furball-tipped tail, small ears, a little nose and light-colored eyes; she had weighed an average of about 20 pounds at death--nearly ten pounds lighter than normal. While my two roommates worked at their jobs long hours each day during these past 12 years AND while I worked in minisrry, Haiku's care became my sole responsibility and privelege. I often walked her on a short leash with my left hand WHILE guiding myself with my red-and-white guide cane with my right hand: a challenge that only a visually-impaired person with a guide dog would probably be able to understand and appreciate. During the past four years, as my little pretty furry girl became weaker and arthritic with advancing age AND as she lost more and more of her teeth, I often placed her on my lap while doing my work online, sunbathed with her on the grassy lawns outside for hours while relishing the sounds of the birds singing in the trees and rustling leaves of the palm trees, sat at the table with her to share a light meal with her (I ultimately had to break the food into little bits so that she could gum it before swallowing it), took her out on long walks throughout the neighborhood while running errands, etc; whenever I left home on public transportation to the doctor's office or whatnot, I always made sure that my girl had fresh, cold water in her water bowl and broken-up bits of soft dog food in her food bowl. While my roommates were the ones who bathed Haiku and took her to BOTH the groomer's and the vet's for her monthly appointments, I was the one who bonded with her in a way that a stay-at-home mommy would with her infant daughter. Haiku was my constant routine, constant responsibility--and constant privelege to bond unconditionally and repeatedly with someone who'd never tell me to, "Shut up" if I talked too much or, "Hurry up, get to the point!" whenever I struggled to express myself.

My apologies to you all for making my very first message so long. You see, I had found Haiku dead on my living-room floor at 3:04 PM Hawaii Time/9:04 PM Eastern Time on Monday, April 14, 2008 and I was alone when I found her this way. Of course, since I couldn't see whether she was breathing or not I had automatically assumed that she was either dead OR dying when I found her lying on her left side, stretched straight out like a ruler--and with a little clump of her poopy beside her hind legs. And so when I gently edged my large hands underneath her still-warm body, her body bent forward limply in my arms to almost double its size and then back into its originally straight position once I had her firmly in my embrace. When I slowly backed myself into the kitchen and began heading toards the back door to take her out to potty as I always did, her backbone made a sharp cracking sound as she doubled over limply in my arms. Shaking like a leaf, I straightened her out with my free hand as much as I could--and shuddered as her backbone made another sharp cracking sound.

"Oh, my baby girl!" I cried. "Mommy's here, OK? Wanna go potty, huh? Baby girl, you wanna go..."

Once we were outside in the backyard--our ol' stomping grounds of 12 years--I slammed the back door as hardly and loudly as I could with all of my strength in order to get some kind of jumping reaction from Haiku--even if it was a little twitch of the ball of fur at the end of her tail. Nothing!

"Haiku! Oh, Haiku my baby! I'm so very sorry! I cannot see enough to help you to... Oh, my baby girl! Please make a sound or move or something--anything!--so that I'd know that you are at least half-alive. Please, God, don't let her die in my presence because..."

And so anyway, when I realized that Haiku was either dead OR dying I carefully placed her on the ground, lifted her gently up onto all her legs and encouraged her to "Go" in a soothing motherly voice. When Haiku fell limply onto her left side on the ground, rather than accepting the verdict that she was probably already dead I said to her:

"OK, OK, I understand that you don't wanna go. It's OK, my baby girl. Mommy understands. Let me take you back in so that you can rest and... OK, honey, OK."

I gathered her limp body in my arms and, just before I let myself back into the house (by then I was shaking so hard that I almost dropped her on the floor), I lifted her head from between her front paws, shook it a little in a panicked attempt to enjoy one last response of life from her face or her eyes... and then shouted in a small sobbing voice:


Just then (and I always experience a strange sense of relief whenever I think of this), Haiku lifted her head up weakly from my hand, straightened her neck up and looked at me, as if to say to me:

"Mommy, I'm so tired. I'm tired of feeling tired and weak, tired of struggling to go potty and eat, tired of making you--my mommy--work so hard to take care of me while guiding yourself. Mommy, you loved me so much and worked so hard to make sure I was fed, watered, exercised and, even more importantly, constantly loved. I know that all three of my mommies loved me but you, Mommy Jolene, loved me God's way because you were never too busy to give me your love. But I need to go to Heaven now, Mommy, because I'm too tired to do ANYTHING for myself."

Haiku's head remained in an upward position as she looked weakly in my face in that steady gaze of undying love. It was then that I knew that even as her body was dying, her love for me wasn't... And so as I re-entered the house and placed her back on the floor, I tucked her head slightly between her front paws and carefully placed her curly tail close to her limp and twisted back legs--lovingly positioning her signature ball of tail-fluff inward.

"I'll be right back, Haiku," I forced myself to whisper calmly. "Let me go in and finish up a prayer meeting and then I'll be back out to be with you. OK? Please give me just a few minutes to..."

But it was never meant to be... because when I came back out to check on her WHILE my sister was entering the front door after running a few errands, my little pretty furry girl was already dead. I just couldn't... I'm sorry...



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