4 years ago today, my mother died.  My dear, beautiful, compassionate, wise mother took her last breath.  I still cannot think of her absence without breaking into sobs that hurt my ribs.  My Mom

I suspect Mom is watching us this morning – here on the farm – with her unique perspective built on humor and empathy.  P isn’t feeling great – perhaps a bit run down from chopping up the giant pine tree that snapped and fell into our goat yard yesterday – and I’m sad, of course.

So we should have expected to find both our Great Pyrenees running free in the yard  first thing this morning.  That’s how these things go, right?

P was able to tuck the dogs back in safely, and then, we went to fix the fence that we assumed they were jumping over. . . I can see Mom laughing so hard, her hand to her mouth as she tried to cover her giggles.

As we went to hang the new fence, we saw the pups jogging across the neighbor’s cattle pasture – their lumbering, white bodies joyful.  We called them back and got them into the gate . . . before they broke free again and took off.  I tackled Boone (who weighs almost 150 pounds) and P called in Bella (smaller but quicker.)  As I tried to hold Boone still and bring him back to the pasture, Wilma and Olive, two of our goats slipped out, so now we had two people and four animals to wrangle.

At this point, I expect Mom was tearing up and bouncing as laughter overtook her.

We eventually got everyone back inside and found where the pups were sliding under the fence down by the spring head.  We tried driving new posts, only to find that everything there was solid rock, and while I tried to help P roll a log – note, I’m in my earflap-hat shorts, a t-shirt, and puppy dog slippers – Bella slid back under the fence.

Mom had to have now been absolutely silent from lack of oxygen and laughter. We both used to laugh that way when we tried to play duets on the piano . . . I’m not sure we ever finished a song because of our hysterical laughter.

Eventually, we got logs to plug the fence and threw rocks in place just to be sure all was well.  Jelly Roll, the kitten, climbed a huge walnut and watched all the festivities, and Sabeen, our other kitten, went through the fence to explore the spring head.

Now, P and I are taking a quiet day. I will edit from the couch while he rests and watches National Lampoon’s Vacation.  We will keep an eye on the pups, and I will think of Mom – and cry a lot I expect.

I don’t think you ever get over losing someone you love too soon.  It gets easier, I think, but never easy.  Sometimes, though, the shenanigans of giant white puppies lifts the grief a tiny bit . . . and brings laughter, ours and hers.

I love you, Mama.