The Restoration of a Broken Heart

Mabel sleeping

If you read my most recent blog, you know that my officemate and constant companion (my dog, Hailey) was killed in a car accident in October. In the weeks that followed, I found myself thinking, that my heart would never be the same –it certainly felt that way. The heartache was like nothing I’d ever experienced. While I’d had bigger losses, they hadn’t been so unexpected.

Through the aftermath of that painful loss, several things became clearer to me. First, even though I’ve never been a worrier, I had a newfound awareness of the potential for tragic accidents and sadness. I felt more protective of those I love, which led me to pray more intentionally, which is a good thing.

Second, I came to the realization that for me, living wholeheartedly involves having a dog. I had to work through all the logical reasons why (at this stage in my life) it would be so much easier NOT to be a dog owner. So after carefully working through each one, I realized that the joy a dog brings to me, is much greater than the challenges. Maybe that’s not the case for you, which is fine. The important thing is to know what’s necessary FOR YOU to live wholeheartedly.

I’m now happy to share that through a series of incredibly timed events, I’m the proud owner of a mini Goldendoodle puppy. “Mabel” is like a burst of sunshine for my heart. I love when she’s curled up on my lap, or when she snuggles close to my neck, or when she wags her tail to greet me and when she performs her new dog obedience tricks. Simply said, she brings sunshine to my heart.

I’ll never replace Hailey, but as the weeks go by I’m able to remember the great times we had with her, without feeling the accompanying heartache. I’m reminded that even in the midst of extremely sad or challenging times, that God is right here with us. As we draw close to Him, He comforts us and puts salve on our wounds.

This Christmas may you find salve for your wounds, and may the New Year be filled with a more meaningful relationship with God, and all the blessings that ensue.

Merry Christmas! – Alicia (& Mabel)

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Freshly Heartbroken

Hailey Mae on couch

Warning: This is without a doubt, the toughest and most gut-wrenching, heart-felt blog I’ve ever written…

I am saddened beyond belief, feeling truly heartbroken. Tuesday evening, my beloved dog, Hailey, was hit by a car and killed – right in front of my eyes. It happened in a split second and I feel like my heart will never be the same. This hurts – I mean really, REALLY hurts.

“Hailey Mae” was a Cavapoo (King Charles Cavalier mixed with a miniature Poodle). She was not yet 4 years old and still looked and acted very much like a puppy. She was my constant companion and her absence has left a huge hole in my heart. She literally followed me everywhere I went… I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without having her push her way in and sit at my feet.

Hailey had a HUGE, vibrant personality, with a lot of energy and enthusiasm… a lot like me, but there was one big difference. It took me years to appreciate and value my personality (and to drop the belief that being so enthusiastic and energetic was somehow bad). But not Hailey! She was completely okay with her BIG personality. She made no apologies for how she lived life… and she DID live a lot of life in just 4 years.

Every morning when I would shower she would lie under our window seat bench and patiently wait until I was ready for the day. And sometimes when I would return home, I would find her in our master bedroom closet – asleep, with her head on my fuzzy slippers, or, curled up in our master bed with her head literally on our pillows. I understand that originally, King Charles Cavalier’s were bred to be lap dogs for royalty. We used to laugh and say that Hailey certainly embraced that role.

Unlike our previous dog, who would only get up on the couch with a lot of coaxing from us, Hailey sprang right up on any piece of furniture she wanted – she would even get up on the leather couch and shove the 2 throw pillows out of her way onto the floor, so she could nestle in right where she wanted to be. Then she’d look at me with her big brown expressive eyes and her ADORABLE face, as if to say, “AHHHH… this feels good.”

She was without a doubt, the cutest dog we’ve ever had, and she literally filled this house with energy and love… nearly every day I would stop and think about how much joy she brought me.

Hailey was also the best example of unconditional love. I was often mindful of that fact, and would think about how that was probably a drop in the bucket compared to God’s love for each one of us.

Whenever I was sick and resting on the couch, she was right there beside me. Whenever I was sad and cried, she would lick the tears off my face.

When I would get my purse and prepare to leave for a bit, she would flop into her fur-lined dog bed, and then flop her front paws over the front. She’d hang her head low and look at me as if to say “Awwwww… do you have to leave?” Sometimes, she would even go to the door and sit right in front of it, putting on her most adorable face as if to say “I’m going with you, aren’t I?”

The best was when you came in the door after being gone even for a little bit. She welcomed you with such enthusiasm it was as if she was celebrating the arrival of a celebrity or someone famous. I guess she realized her biggest fan had just come back on the scene.  She knew that to me, she was much more than just a pet.  She had become an important member of our family and a huge presence in my daily life.

Everything wasn’t ALWAYS so great with Hailey… like whenever anyone would come to our house. She would jump up and whine and insist they pay attention to her wiggling little body. Or, when she would go ballistic when she was out in our back yard and saw our neighbor’s cat. She would bark – more like screech, as if to warn us “THERE’S A CAT IN OUR YARD!” Or, when she would go to our back door and ring the bells that were hanging there, to indicate she wanted out… then moments later she would bark to be let back in. Then she’d want back out, and back in, and back out.  There were also times like when we had a family dinner and realized Hailey was no longer sitting at my feet… we found her on top of the game table with her head in the bowl of guacamole!

Then there were the times where she would grab the downspout with her teeth and bang it against the house until a squiny would come scurrying out whereupon she would chase it and unfortunately… often times catch it. She was really fast and a MUCH better hunter than our previous Labrador or even our Beagle. Or, when late at night she’d go chase rabbits in our yard and make me wait for what seemed like HOURS, until she was good and ready to come back inside so we could go to bed.

Hailey and I had a very special bond. But in some ways it felt like she was an infant and I was the only one who could truly satisfy her needs… and sometimes that felt like a bit of a burden.

For all of Hailey’s great and not so great qualities, she had one that ultimately led to her demise – sometimes she had a mind of her own. You see she had the tendency to obey when she wanted to, and to disobey if she had something else in mind. – I’m reminded of my own disobedience and the fact that that always means pain and suffering, rather than enjoying God’s best.

So I pray… for God’s peace to return to my heart, and, for confirmation that Hailey is okay. My only solace is the belief that she is in Heaven, cuddled up next to my mom who would most certainly be scratching her belly and kissing her sweet face.

In my devotional this morning, God’s word says: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus so we do not grow weary and lose heart.” I also read that when God’s servant, Elijah, was tired and overwhelmed, God comforted him. So I pray that I can keep my focus on Jesus, and that He will comfort me. It just hurts so darn bad….

P.S. The high school kid who was driving recklessly and therefore killed Hailey, did one thing right… after initially driving off, he returned to the scene of the accident shortly after it happened. He had to face the police, the crowd of neighbors and me and my family. I understand he is a young man who is struggling with life. So more than anything else, I ask you to join me in praying for him – that this might be a wake up call to him… that it would lead him to the love of his heavenly Father, and that he would come to know the incredible man God created in him.

– Alicia