May 8, 2011

House Lamb Gets A Name


House Lamb's name is Baxter.

We don't name most of our sheep.  Generally, the wooly creatures do not live their full lives on our small amount of land and naming them makes the process of letting go horribly difficult. I'd say we avoid naming lambs for the kids' sake, but really that protective barrier is as much (or more) for me.

All the same, even without a name, we've been attached to this almost-didn't-make-it lamb and we've alternated between calling him House Lamb and Little Guy.

Sometimes we have to prepare ourselves for loss, as best we can, using whatever means we think will work. This last week reminded me, however, that we never really prepare ourselves for loss, no matter how we try.

Last week, my sister-in-law, Penny, my brother's beloved wife, died of leukemia.

I knew she wasn't doing well. I knew it was coming.  I'd kind-of, sort-of even prepared myself for it.

But really, preparing ourselves for loss is crap.  We love.  We grieve.  It hurts.

So this week, despite my will to accept the vagaries of life, I take whatever measure of control is mine.  House lamb has a name and a home.

I'd say we're keeping him for the kids, but you all know better.

15 comments:

  1. So sorry to hear about your sister-in-law. You're right that we are never truly prepared for the loss of someone we love. We might know intellectually that their time is near, and even feel a kind of relief when their suffering ends, but that does not mean we are prepared for their absence. You have my sympathy.

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  2. Thank you, Angela. You make a great distinction here between death and absence. So true.

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  3. My Sympathy Johanna...Your closeness to one who leaves us is always there...Keep her close in your heart...

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  4. Thank you, Susan. You are right. I was editing a picture of her today and I could hear her comments at my shoulder.

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  5. Johanna, my prayers are with you and your family on this terrible loss. I know how you feel. My husband's sister passed away last year, aged fifty, from a melanoma, and it was the most horrible thing. For the longest time, we could not grasp it. We knew what was coming, we watched her suffer and step away from life every day a little more, and yet, when she was gone, we could not let her go. She was younger than my hubby and me. It feels as if life has torn open a gap where it should not be, as if the chain has been broken. Even now I find myself wanting to pick up the phone and give her a call, chat about the garden and the kids.
    Your sister-in-law will always be a part of your life. As long as you remember her, she is not completely gone. Hugs, my dear.

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  6. Thank you, Mariam. Your words resonate with me. I think it's like Angela said earlier too. We may prepare ourselves for the death, but not for the absence. My heart goes out to you too.

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  7. Love the act of naming...so powerful. And thinking of you and your lovely family as you begin this stage of your lives aching. {hugs to you all}

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  8. Thanks, Kristina. Your support and love means so much to us.

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  9. We each find our own ways through grief, even those of us who seem to get caught up along the way. Your family shows its great capacity for love by banding together through this. Thank you for the example you give for dealing with loss and grief while maintaining grace. It's amazing what we humans can do... for our kids. [ahem]

    Take care,
    Jess

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  10. Sorry for the loss of your sister-in-law. I lost my dad to cancer. Along with the grief there is also a sense of relief that they are no longer in pain. Making House Lamb a member of the family by giving it a name makes sense. Love the lamb. Remember your sister-in-law.

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  11. Thanks, Jess. I've been around so many people who are finding their way through grief this week. I'm amazed and humbled by the capacity of the human soul.

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  12. So true. My brother calls it a sad relief. My heart goes out to you too.

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  13. That's a brave and admirable stance to take on Baxter. I'm sorry about your Sister in Law. I know it's hard.

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  14. Oh, Johanna, I'm so sorry to hear about your sister-in-law. And yes, preparing ourselves for loss sounds great, but never really seems that effective in the event. (Baxter, however, is just lovely.) xoxo

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  15. I'm so sorry for your loss. :(

    What makes it so hard for me to let go is this: I'm glad my loved one is free from pain, misery, the indignities of old age, whatever, but the ill person I'm glad to see relieved also takes the well person he/she used to be along.

    I don't mind the pain of absence, myself; it means the person I love is still alive in my heart.

    HUGS

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