Wild Moon Cottage is a small working homestead in the pristine Ozark Mountains. We have dairy goats, poultry, organic herb and vegetable gardens, a start of a tiny fruit orchard, several black walnut trees, wild berries and fields of wildcrafting goodness. We raise our own milk, our own eggs, much of our own medicine and food. I do laundry by hand, make my own vinegar, candles, soap, bread, cheese ........ For a living I am an artist and herbalist. My goal for myself and our homestead is to be as self sufficient and self sustaining as possible.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Loss of Family, The Loss of Family, The Loss of Family

I have spent much of the last 47 years wishing that I could be comfortably numb. I have been close so many times, feeling numb has become second nature to me. I can will myself into a state of numbness just by deciding to. But I have never quite made it to the comfortable part. Laying on the edge of a precipice, staring out into oblivion, but never has there been any real comfort there. Only lack of being which my soul cannot seem to abide.

Yesterday my younger sister contacted me on the computer, at around 6:30 pm I drove up to the highway to call her. I learned that my grandmother had passed away over a week ago, her funeral had been held in Marshfield Mo. last Thursday. I've had the same cell phone number for several years and they all have it. I rarely answer but it has voice mail. They hadn't told my older sister either.

I read a line in someone's signature today that seem to have been written for me ...

"I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world ... wandering awed on a splintered wreck ... whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions" ... (A. Dillard)

I don't know who A. Dillard is or what the line is from but I understand the meaning of the words.

When I was young I was a cutter. I understand that many people who hurt themselves say they do it because they need to feel something. I don't know if there is any rational explanation but I know that I did it because I felt to much.

The rest of the evening is somewhat of a blur. We returned home and I got ready to milk. Nik went about his evening chores and discovered Leader laying out in the field acting sick and breathing hard. He had seemed fine before we left. I left the milking and went to check, he was listless, was having difficulty breathing with signs of severe diarrhea. I made him a mash of echinacea and slippery elm in some watered egg. I got some down him followed by some cool clean water.

I left him, quickly finished milking, made him some switchel to restore his electrolytes and continue rehydrating him, quickly posted online to ask for prayers and jujus for him, went back out and he was dead. His spirit had already completely left his shell body. It just wasn't right at all. I massaged his chest, Nik held his head and I tried to give him breath. But he was gone, just left us, quick as can be.

I knew someone was leaving soon, a black dog had come to my dreams two weeks before. A black dog always visits my dreams before a human passing now. I don't know why and I don't think it was always so but one came just before my Grandfathers passing and it has visited me several times since.

Another odd thing is that shortly after my Mother crossed over last year our Anya died, she was a huge white Saanen goat, sweet and gentle as can be. My Mother and Grandmother were very similar in their coldness and lacking the ability to truly love. My Mother visits me now and does show love and caring but, in life they both generally saw me only as an obstacle. So the two matriarchs of my family, who could not love me, pass away. Each followed by the passing of big white fur people who could and did love me. It is an odd thing.

The real loss of all tho is that they neither had the forethought to know Nik and that is truly their greatest loss. They can know him now but they missed so much by not being a part of his life. Leader and Anya did not miss that, they loved him dearly and he loved them.

I loved and love my Mother and Grandmother, more than they may ever know.

But it is the loss of Leader that hurts my heart so much and feels like my breath has been knocked out again. He was my constant companion when I was outside. He lay nearby when I milked, waited patiently, escorted me everywhere I went. When he was with me I was not afraid of anything. He was like a knight in fuzzy armor. He was my friend and he loved us.

I am angry and so very hurt. I do not feel blessed for the time we had with him. I feel cheated and broken and betrayed. I would have rather not known him at all then to have him ripped away from us so soon.

I am tired. Tonight I will choose to be, almost, comfortably numb.


Kristen said...

I'm so sorry - and those words don't really express much, do they? Just know that somebody you don't know is thinking about you and wishing you healing after the loss of your family members, both distanced and furry.

Missouri Gal said...

The loss of life is a cut itself. And to lose a cherrished pet can be just if hard, as not harder, than a family member. But the family not letting you know would be a terrible pain. You have to be stronger. This is a test for you, for what, I don't know. I'm going to a shaman class this weekend, wish you were closer and I'd have you come. There you would find some answers I can assure you! But be strong! No cutting to stop the pain!

June said...

Juli, so sorry for your losses.

Sandra said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your grandmother and your beloved companion Leader.

I send you peaceful thoughts and healing energies.

Take care...

Suzi Smith said...


Rivenfae said...

I'd like to add my condolences Juli, what happened with your Grandmother sounds like like what my family did when my dad died; or what my boy friend's family did when his dad died...

You know the symptoms you described in Leader sounds like he was poisoned do you think it is possible?

the wild magnolia said...

I am so sorry for your loss! I pray healing will gather around you, and in you.