Today has been a tough day and it is not even eleven in the morning yet. I didn't sleep last night. Not from 11:30 on. I decided to go ahead and make the morning coffee and take the dog out shortly past seven. It was later than usual, but I was so tired. I went out with Christian and did what I always do. I looked across the yard to the goats. My heart sank as I saw my beloved Jackson lying in the goat yard. I knew instantly he was gone. I screamed and dragged Christian back inside while I called my middle son's name. He came running and we ran out to the barn yard. We both stood there grieving over our dear, dear friend. The does stood supportively while I wailed and choked on my sobs. They understand grief. They haven't experienced it before today...but they instinctively understand it. They were so somber. They knew. I could see it in their faces.
We dug the hole as a family, while Jackson's dearly beloved body lay under the tarp. It was the most respectful thing I could think of. The clay ground was sticky and wet. It clumped and refused to be loosened from the shovels. We worked an hour to dig that hole. We cried. We talked. We shoveled. I wailed. I choked. I dug more. I looked at that tarp and felt my heart was simply gone. Simply gone.
I did take a few snips of his coat. I needed to keep it so I could run my fingers through it again. I needed to put my face to it and smell the sweet scent of my best friend. It was something that made little sense, but I had to do it.
We carefully wrapped my beloved in the a tarp. Carefully we carried him to the graveside. After lifting him into his resting place, we picked daffodils and put them in his hair, behind the horns I so love.
We prayed. We said words we needed to say to him. We stood there, sick, coughing, choking on sobs...and placed the dirt back over his covered body.
I wish I had a good way to end this. Jackson was my best friend. He truly was. It is easy for people to say they think of me every six months. That's easy. Jackson was here every day. He came to see me every day. He listened to me. He loved me. He wanted my kisses. He wanted my hugs. He wanted to be close to me. He wanted to be loved. He accepted me as I was. I accepted him as he was. He was my best friend.
The things he taught me were astounding. I will never be the same. I will never look at a goat the same. He was sent here by God. I know that because the woman who brought him here said God told her to. I don't understand. God knew Jackson would die here. Looking at it I say God wanted to release Jackson from his first mama gently. He had a mission for Jackson. That mission was to teach me. What a large mission packed into a short amount of time.
Every life has deep meaning. Every life has dignity and value. Jackson came here with a mission. He fulfilled that mission. I believe animals with great purpose make it to Heaven. It's ok if you disagree. I believe. I have the hope that's where Jackson is now. My dear beloved Jackson. How can I tell you what he means to me? How can I share my grief? I cry. I feel numb. I feel overwhelmingly broken.
I have trouble looking at these pictures right now. I have trouble looking into the eyes I tried so hard to save. I tried so hard. I tried. I weep as I write this. I don't know. So many doubts now...
I thought about what to do now. Do I quit? Jackson's death left me shaken. I doubt my ability to sort out what to do. But I learned so much. I chose to think differently. I chose to let myself cry. To let myself grieve... but not to give up. If I give up now Jackson's mission will have been in vain. I can't let that happen. Even as I sit here crying and broken I know. I know I will build a new barn. A barn just for angoras. I know I will put it in the back yard. I will make it big enough for them to stay there and be fed there and it will have heaters. It will have space and rest and light. I know I will find angoras. God will send them. I know. I know I will collect books on how to care for them and I will be the better for the drive to be perfect at this. I know. I know I will never love as I love Jackson. He has his own place. But I will love. Just as I felt the bond with the does. They know my pain. Just as Moses tried to figure out what had happened and now he stands all alone. I know.
I also know I will be a voice for these beautiful creatures. God gives us things and people and animals in our lives for a reason. If you are listening He will show you...even in the midst of pain. Even in the midst of wailing. This is why the sacrifice of those dear goats and sheep was such a big deal in the Bible. People saw the depth of those animals. They understood the cost of their sin...even in the life of that dear animal. How much they must of grieved!!!!
Why would God choose an animal to speak of important things? Why does He choose stars or rivers or trees or raindrops? I don't know. I just know He does.
I miss Jackson. My heart aches. I failed him. I failed. I can't fix that. I can work hard to know more and do better with the future. In his memory. To honor who he has been to me.
Save a place for me there Jackson. I love you my dear friend. You will never know how much. You will never know. I know I told you. I know I kissed and hugged you. I know I would have died with you last night had I seen you out there. I would have run to you. I would have run to you and the lightening would have hit me. I know it. That's why I was too sick to go out there late last night. I know it. Oh Jackson.... I miss you