Present Tense

Goodbye Ember

ember blogMy heart is in a million pieces …again.  Loss has attached itself to me like a tick that is hell-bent on teaching me some sort of lesson or sucking out my life’s blood by taking everything that is precious to me.

Yesterday, I lost my feisty, beautiful, bright light of a dog, Ember when she was hit by a delivery truck in our driveway on the farm.  She died immediately and with her, I could feel some of my soul empty out of me and into her, leaving another void that can never be filled. She would have been 3 years old in a few weeks.

The pain I’m feeling as I write this is acute and dizzying.  I feel foggy and dull, other than the stabbing throb in the pit of my stomach.

The Buddhists teach that in the end, we lose everything and everyone that we love.  That is just truth.  This is why they teach so much about loosening our grip; to be wary of becoming attached.  Attached to material goods, ideas, money, status and yes, those we love. And most of us love our pets as much as we love our humans; in my case, even more I think.

One minute, we were out picking asparagus and the next, she is dead.  Just like that.  We’ve all heard the saying that life changes in an instant, but until it’s laying in front of us in our driveway, we don’t always grasp it.

My dad died similarly two years ago.  He went in and had lunch with my mom, went out to do yard work and in an instant, he was dead in the back yard that he loved.  I guess there is some comfort in knowing that neither of them suffered and they were enjoying themselves right up to their final breath.  But I miss them both with an ache that is searing.

I miss my dad in that I can never call and seek his advice.  I am saddened that my mother continues her earthly journey without him by her side.  She misses him desperately.

Ember’s loss is still so new, such a raw, open wound.  I got up this morning to one very somber dog, who also misses his companion.  Making up one dish of food, seeing her empty crate, and her collar on the counter.  No barking and scrambling to be fed and get out the door.  Too calm; too somber.

Yesterday, we were all outside, my husband, two dogs and probably a couple of cats, when I heard the Fedex truck starting to come up the driveway, I knew the dogs would run that way.  I shouted “Fedex” and for some reason began running toward him as well.  I NEVER do that, but I KNEW what was happening. I could feel it before it happened.

We live on 10 acres and so it was some distance for me to cover and I can’t possibly keep up with terriers, but as I ran, I saw a flash of white on the driveway and I knew.  I knew she had been hit and then I knew EXACTLY where to look on the driveway as I approached and I saw her, motionless.

I KNEW she was gone.  As soon as I got to her.  There were no visible signs of trauma. The driver had no idea that he’d hit her.  He knew that we had two dogs, he’s at our house at least once a week.  He said that he saw our other dog, Junior.  Didn’t see Ember.

My husband sent him away angrily.  I feel compassion for him; I know that he suffered with this all day yesterday. Knowing that he killed my dog.  He didn’t mean to, but he was driving too fast and was distracted or something.

I’m doing my best to not second guess and flood my mind with ‘what ifs’ or ‘whys’.  Shit happens.  Good shit, bad shit, life shit.  We never know why. I believe that when my personal Fedex truck comes along and removes me from Earth, all of those questions will be answered.

For now, I grieve.  I know that Ember burned very brightly in her short time on Earth.  She was fiery as they come, and quick and loud and boisterous and demanding and loving and hysterically funny and I loved her with a fierceness that she returned to me.  She crammed a lot in during a short time.  She helped me through some other difficult losses and though I have no idea how we go on after losing her, I trust that we will.

Today, it’s one foot in front of the other.  Making sure our other dog, Junior is loved and cared for, as he is mourning the loss of his second lady friend.  We are resilient, yet so fragile.  That is life.

May 19, 2016 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , ,


  1. Dear Jane – so very very sorry for your loss. I’m glad that writing is somewhat of a cathartic for you…hugs and prayers for you all.

    Comment by Edie Kellogg | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  2. So very sad for your loss, but I want you to know that I miss your voice and personality on the radio daily. You have a resilient spirit and although you will not forget Ember, you will carry on with purpose and direction. Because that is who you are. Judy from Colorado

    Comment by Judy | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  3. Oh my God, Jane. I am SO sorry for your loss. My heart is with you, my prayers surround you and my love enfolds you…and PC…Junior…and Ember.

    Comment by Erica | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  4. So so sorry to hear…*hugs* 😥

    Comment by MariaT | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  5. Thank you for sharing your heart, Jane. Sending you healing thoughts and the hope that you will be able to find comfort in your memories. Be well.

    Comment by Rachel Cole | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  6. Beautiful..your heavy on my heart.. Sending you lots of love my friend..

    Comment by Meghan | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  7. Just so very sorry!

    Comment by S Brooke Chavez | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  8. so sorry Jane.

    Comment by pat | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  9. Dear Jane,
    My heart is breaking for you. I remember when Ember came into your lives + filled your world with utter happiness. I, too, am an animal mom + know the joy they bring+ how unbearably sad it is when they leave us. Keeping you close in my heart, thoughts + prayers.

    Comment by Jeri | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  10. As I journey through life and also suffer losses – both expected and unexpected – I have found myself at times distancing me from those I love. I think that sometimes I do that so it won’t hurt as much when they are gone. Because it hurts so very much to lose a person or an animal in your life. I am trying hard to not distance myself now. I think we are here to experience all of life in every way before we continue our journey. There are lessons to be learned and sometimes those lessons are horrible. As you have said, Jane, life can change in an instant. We have to make the most of the time we have with the ones we love. There are no guarantees. Life is hard and some days I really don’t understand why it has to be that way. Other days I don’t understand why it can be so good and what I did to deserve it. My heart hurts for you. Take care of yourself and give Junior a little extra lovin’. Thanks for writing during this difficult time. It helps us all.

    Comment by Kathy Graybill | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  11. I am so sorry for your heart break.
    I put my girl to rest 3 weeks ago.
    I know the quiet and emptiness.
    The stillness of the air I breathe.

    I am a pet sitter and have a client this happened too. Her dog lived.
    He had surgeries and major care for 2 years. These drivers have to be more careful. I don’t know if your driver gave
    Treats, but that has to stop too.
    I feel for you and yours and the lose of your little puppy girl.
    Love and Peace.
    Debbie Josephs

    Comment by Debra Josephs | May 19, 2016 | Reply

    • Debra
      thank you….we told the drivers never to give them treats for obvious reasons. This guy knew we had dogs. He was at our house about once a week and so I don’t know what he was thinking driving so fast. He said he saw Junior….but there is nothing to change it. I’m sure he’s in pain as well.

      Comment by janelondon | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  12. I am so very sorry, Jane. No words can soothe the pain. 😦 Our golden retriever turned 12 yesterday, it will be her last birthday. She has osteosarcoma and has lasted a month longer than we though when she got the diagnosis 6 weeks ago. Everyday I hug her and have the ‘luxury’ (for lack of a better word) to tell her I love her and spend one more day with her. Anyways, again, I am so sorry, know we are thinking about you and sending some soothing vibes your way.

    Comment by SuzyQ | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  13. Ed
    The pain that your comment gave to me is immeasurable right now. In fact, I’m dumb stuck by your complete lack of compassion in a moment of my profound grief. Please refrain from commenting and in fact, I’d appreciate if you were to just remove yourself from receiving my posts.

    Comment by janelondon | May 19, 2016 | Reply

    • Jane, Ed is an asshole! There are so many of us surrounding you with love and support. My heart aches for you.

      Comment by Pam O'Malley | May 19, 2016 | Reply

    • Jane, this “person” is a narcissist who thrives on your negative attention. His energy is polluted with his own ego. The only way that people who weren’t raised in a loving environment can associate with the rest of the world is from a negative perspective.

      Comment by KandisG | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  14. Jane, I am so sorry for your loss. It is such a horrible, gut wrenching feeling to lose a member of your family. I have lost more than I like to think. I hope you remember al the good times and the happiness and love she brought to your life.

    Comment by Marcia Williams | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  15. her paw prints will remain on your lives forever

    Comment by things and flesh | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  16. I was in the studio (Live Audience Friday) the day Ember went home with you. She was adorable and I could see the match and bond was already set in stone. I am so sorry for you and Junior.

    Comment by Debbie | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  17. So sorry for your loss. Even though it’s a part of life it’s never easy whether it’s a pet or a parent. I lost my father a year ago next week to cancer. He was 70. Two days before his 71 birthday. I miss him terribly and like you, hate seeing my mom go on without him.
    I too miss hearing your voice but appreciate the voice I hear in your writings. Thinking of you , KC, and Junior as you grieve…

    Comment by Teri | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  18. So sorry for your loss, Jane! Been there and it hurts so much. My own guess is that it’s not meant to be easy. When we open our hearts to love, we open them to pain. Package deal. But it’s always worth it.

    Comment by Charles Bevier | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  19. Jane. My heart breaks for you. I’m so sorry for your loss .

    Comment by Nikki | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  20. Ed. You are a dick. To use someone’s loss as your soapbox shows EXACTLY what you think about human life. You care about nothing but your own egotistical thoughts. When a human can’t connect to the pain of another and instead chooses it as a forum to spout their own agenda it becomes obvious that that person needs to assess their own mental state. You are a narcissistic creep and I’m sorry that my good friend has to deal with you. I personally don’t care about your thoughts on abortion because you are not a woman and you think it’s just fine to spew your drivle on those who don’t care what you think.

    Comment by KandisG | May 19, 2016 | Reply

    • Ditto that …and get a Netflix account to waste away your time. What a sad existence Ed has!

      Comment by Melissa | May 20, 2016 | Reply

  21. I’d rather have a dog than be associated with someone like you. Shame on you and I’m shocked that your mother didn’t teach you any manners.

    Comment by KandisG | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  22. Ed. You are a rare person. The majority of pet owners their pets are their family and they love them as such and when we lose them it is heart breaking. I feel for you that you feel the way you do but then have to wonder why just because you feel that way you can’t show compassion for someone who has just has her heart broken. Are you just trying to be an asshole? In the future keep your opinions to yourself

    Comment by Nikki | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  23. I’m so so sorry for your immeasurable grief and loss of Ember. Cyber hugs to you from someone who was a listener in CO (former Michigander), lover of dogs more than people, and who appreciates and “gets” your candor, insight, and compassion for the 4-leggeds, especially the pups. 😦

    Comment by polly | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  24. You know my heart breaks for you. I hope the images of yesterday are slowly replaced with the beautiful memory of sweet Ember playing, happy & the silly eyebrows! I love you my friend and I’m hear if you need anything ❤️

    Comment by Pat R | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  25. How can you be so purposely cruel to another person? You should be ashamed but seeing the type of person you are, you probably take joy in the fact that you hurt my friend. You are pitiful.

    Comment by Pat R | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  26. Beautifully written. I have tears streaming down my face. Deep sigh.

    Comment by EMILY A. | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  27. I wish I had the words to give you true comfort Jane… my heart goes out to you & D & Junior ❤

    Comment by Claudia Knieff Anderson | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  28. Jane, I am so so very sorry to hear about your loss. It made me feel so sad for you. I know from the videos, comments and pics you post, you loved Ember very much. You gave her a wonderful life. Thoughts and prayers for you during this very difficult time.

    Comment by Louise | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  29. Dear Jane and family, I am in tears reading this. I cannot even begin to imagine how you feel. I have seen how much you love your pets by all your posts and always have enjoyed them. I am an animal lover myself, 3 dogs and a rabbit, sometimes wondering why I attach myself so closely to these dear creatures that live such a short life. But as you note, anything and anyone can be gone in an instant. I hurt for you….. and thinking of you.
    Take care!

    Comment by Nancy | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  30. I am so sorry to hear this. I remember when you got her when you were still here in Denver. It hurts like Hell when we lose a pet. Thank God she didn’t suffer. She is now over the Rainbow Bridge with all of the other precious pets!

    Comment by Linda | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  31. I am so sorry

    Comment by Anita | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  32. I am so sorry for your loss, Jane. I do hope that writing is cathartic for you. Losing a beloved fur kid is incredibly difficult! My heart aches for you and yours.

    Comment by Mary McNeely | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  33. I like how, despite your fresh pain and grief, you have already framed this into your life story and have begun to assign some meaning to this sad event, even if that meaning is simply that random bad things happen in life sometimes. Grieve well.

    Comment by Jim Grey | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  34. I’m so sorry for your heartbreaking loss; it is truly special to share such a close bond with a pet. Their love for us is endless and it’s so hard to feel helpless and powerless over things that happen to them. I’m always at a loss for comforting words at times like these, but there are many of us animal lovers that can empathize with your pain. Ember sounded like such a sweet pup; I’m glad you had the time you did.

    Comment by Christine | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  35. Hey, you were a great mom to Ember as you are to all your kids. I know exactly how the experience that you had feels with the impending bad feeling as you ran. You have such talent to describe your experiences that most of us do not have. She will be waiting, and it is ok to eventually move on and invite another into your great home. I grieve with you but I know that for whatever reason, this occurred. You are not at fault because you could not outrun your Olympic athlete of a canine. What happened it sad, but also true. You will see her again.

    Comment by Tim Lankerd | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  36. Ed you clearly cannot feel much for your so-called children if you feel ANY WAY that your comments are helpful. Your fucked up, callous , lame attempt at trying to look empathetic makes you look like the fool that you obviously are. If I was face to face with you right now I would cave in your nose. Believe it our not I have never struck another human our of anger in my life. I feel sorry for anyone who has to live with, or work with you. How deplorable.

    Comment by Tim Lankerd | May 19, 2016 | Reply

  37. Jane and Prince Charming and pets
    So sorry for your loss 🙏🏻

    Comment by Cheryl | May 20, 2016 | Reply

  38. Thank you, sweet Ember for filling us with joy, warming the hearts of your family and overseeing the training of kitty cat existence within the house! We will miss you …and take the heavy hearts of your parents into much prayer. You’ll be in good hands with chili …and we’ll meet again. ❤️

    Comment by Melissa | May 20, 2016 | Reply

  39. Since reading your post yesterday I haven’t stopped thinking of you, PC and your pups. These are more than our pets, they are family, a part of our soul and yes when we lose one a part of our heart breaks and there will always be a scar. All of our dogs we’ve lost at an old age, we see it coming, know it’s inevitable, try and prepare ourselves, but there’s no way to really prepare for the heartache when that day finally comes. I can’t even imagine losing one so young, so suddenly and so unexpectedly. We’ve so enjoyed your tales of all her antics the past few years and could feel the special connection you two had. My heart aches for you, PC and Junior. Holding you all in my heart. ❤

    Comment by Annie Bitsie | May 20, 2016 | Reply

  40. Love is the tail that wags us forever! Peace!

    Comment by Carolyn Nord | May 20, 2016 | Reply

  41. I’m so sorry Jane. Hugs…

    Comment by Vince Soto | May 20, 2016 | Reply

  42. Wish I had words to comfort you…so very sorry.

    Comment by Carol Brust | May 20, 2016 | Reply

  43. Breaks my heart to read what is so raw and right from your broken heart… Your sweet little Ember gone from you side too soon.. I am so very sorry! What an incredibly cute little girl… I can see her big personality in the ready gaze of her eyes and the tilt of her head.. A very special little critter… Glad she had you and you had her.. And yes.. We love our dogs as much and often more than humans.. So then we grieve as much too.. We do miss their good and gentle souls…, Hard to come to terms with.. Hope time brings peace to your heart Jane… Dana

    Comment by Dana Wood | May 20, 2016 | Reply

  44. Jane: I am crying after reading your blog. I am so sorry for your loss. I, too, never had children so my dogs are my children, as I know your dogs are your children. I hope knowing other human beings feel the sadness and ache in your heart will help in some small way. Hold and love Junior as he will help you heal. Peace and comfort, Terrie

    Comment by Terrie | May 21, 2016 | Reply

  45. It’s so hard to lose our beloved companions, especially one one who still had so much life to live. I know it hurts so much. Find comfort in knowing that God’s hands are warm.

    Comment by Joann | May 23, 2016 | Reply

  46. I heard you on the radio this morning, Jane. It was nice to hear your voice again. I am a long time listener and admire that you retired. I also heard the story of Ember, which brought me to your blog. I’m sorry for your loss and happy about your new puppy! My oldest son was born with a hole in his heart that required surgery when he was one year old. He’s now 27 and very healthy! Bless you.

    Comment by Carolyn | September 8, 2016 | Reply

  47. […] Mama. RIP Ember.  Thank you 2016; you have been a […]

    Pingback by 2016: On completion… « Present Tense | January 1, 2017 | Reply

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