"The world, as we live in it, is like a shop window in which some mischievous person has got in overnight and shifted all the price labels round,
so that the cheap things have the high-price labels on them
and the really precious things are priced low."
Archbishop Temple to students of Oxford University
One week ago today I last posted that our dear 15-year-old dachshund Penelope was undergoing four days of IV fluids as we had just learned that the reason for her illness was advanced kidney failure. We hoped the fluids would let her stay with us through Christmas at least, and until then I would be focusing on her. We were able to bring her home Monday night and she was so happy to be home with us and to be in her own bed, my bed, that night. Coaxing her to eat was a struggle but we managed by fixing every imaginable recipe for her condition. R.H. and I had three really precious days and nights with her where she was happy and alert. Then on Thursday evening she had what the vet said was probably a stroke and seemed totally blind, unable to walk without falling over, and would not eat. I held her all night long to sooth her into sleeping and most of yesterday until we took her to her doctor for the last time.
We had 15 wonderful years with Penelope and our hurt is tremendous but somehow magnified by knowing that she left this earth on the same day that these precious innocent children were senselessly murdered in cold blood. While we cannot imagine a Christmas without Penelope, we cannot even begin to comprehend what those families face forever. As we buried Penelope this morning with the corgis, in the stout, tight wood coffin that R.H. and Gurn built for her, I felt so hurt but humbled that she shared Friday's date with these precious, precious ones.
We've had many sweet texts and calls from our children all day but one from Zack blessed me so much. He said that last night he pictured Penelope there in heaven playing with all those little children. [I don't want to hear anyone's viewpoint on our Penelope not being in heaven with those children, please.]
Below are a few more pictures of Penelope at Cape San Blas with Katie. Katie, a Katrina refugee, was not in love with the ocean and was content to stay in the dry sand. Penelope was head over heels in love with the beach and ocean. We had to watch to be sure she didn't float out into the Gulf. She chased balls, she chased the badminton birdie, and she fetched sticks. Cleaning the sand from her was almost impossible for the plump wriggling little long-haired red girl. She just wanted to go back again.
Here is her final picture on Thursday afternoon, shortly before she suffered the stroke, in one of their many nests spread throughout the house, with Katie.
After today I am going to try to spend this last week before Christmas letting the beauty of the season comfort me. I will listen to my quieter Christmas music, enjoy the Christmas tree that Penelope got to see, even try to bake the cookies that our children love, and wait for next weekend when a new granddaughter comes to visit Mimi and Pawpaw for the first time. I will blog and visit the beauty of Christmas at my blog friends houses. I will remember Penelope the rest of my life. And I will not forget schoolchildren everywhere.
I will try to put the right value on the right things and find comfort from them.