Monday, March 5, 2012

Sometimes it's just not OUR plan

Labor Day 2011_0055

It's taken me a while to reach the point where I was ready to sit down and write this post. We've been through a lot here in the Chieppa household over the past 3 weeks, and I haven't felt much like writing. But, just as the seasons change, we too must move forward.

In my last post I mentioned that our Lexi girl was recovering well from surgery to remove a 2 pound tumor on her liver. She was at the VRCC in Manakin-Sabot for this procedure under the loving care of Dr. Jenny Lang. On February 13, she had her surgery and came out a "miracle dog." It was truly a miracle that she was able to survive such a serious surgery at 10.5 years old. We thought we were on the road to recovery. We visited our girl every night after work. We gave her love and promised her we'd be back the following day. We did. My parents did visit her as well. We watched her make progress and then somehow we lost her. We made our last visit on Sunday, February 19, in the evening. It was the second visit of the day and we had spoken to the doctor about possibly bringing our girl home the following day.

We hugged her and gave her love and hugs and told her we'd see her tomorrow. Little did we know that it would be the last time we would see our beloved Lexi. We left for home in the blizzard of snow, which took us over 2 hours. Once home we settled in for the night until the dreaded call came at 2:45 a.m. that morning. When the phone rang, I knew exactly what it was. It was Dr. Lang calling to tell us that Lexi was having complications. She suspected it was a blood clot. She told us she'd be in touch. When I hung up the phone, my world came to a hault. We cried and all I could do was pray for God to take her home. To take her away and save her from any pain. She had been through enough. Her body was tired. It was over.

Nearly an hour later the phone rang again. I handed the phone to Jeff and knew what we had to do. Dr. Lang told us they did everything they could to save Lexi, but she believed Lexi had suffered an embolism to the brain. She was breathing, but not responsive. We asked her to please put our girl down. That was the hardest decision to make. But, God had answered our prayer and had taken her in that hour. We later found out that an embolism is not painful, but the after effects are much like strokes. Lexi was no longer the same girl. She was not with us. God needed another angel.

After calling both of our parents, we cried the rest of the night and into the next day not wanting to get up and move on. It was so painful. It was like someone had ripped my heart out of my chest. I had this horrible deep empty feeling in my stomach. We had lost our child. We had never thought there would be a day without our baby. She was the biggest part of our life and our marriage. That dog was something special. She was our marriage counselor, our referee, and our glue.

Everyone who ever met her knew there was something special about her. Even Dr. Lang said she had something unique about her. It was like she truly was a gift from God. She was sent here to be with us. To serve a purpose. And...her job was done.

So, we grieved. We grieved a lot. We are still grieving. It has been the most painful loss. I had heard people say they lost their pets, but never knew what it felt like. As an adult this was my first pet. And, she really wasn't mine to begin with. Let me take you on a little journey...

lexi baby1

Around Halloween of October 2001, Jeff brought the little bundle of joy home with him. He searched high and low for a Boston Terrier. She came into his life 2 years before I did. She gave him company and comfort at a very tough time in his life. She was his buddy. She was his girl. She was with him everywhere. All the time.

lexi baby2

While he tiled the kitchen floor...

lexi baby3

While he dug a trench for his fence...

lexi baby ditch

lexi baby yard

The bond they developed was special. One I don't know about. But, she was his number one. She was and always will be. I'm okay with that.

lexi baby yard2

lexi baby pillow 2

Lexi was full of unconditional love. She would do anything to please us. She was dedicated to us.

lexi baby pillow

In March of 2004, I came into the picture. I wasn't a dog person at the time, but quickly fell in love with Jeff and his cute little dog. She would get so excited to see me that she would tinkle on the floor when I came in. I was honored that she was so thrilled to see me. Quickly, she became the love of my life #1 and Jeff #2. I know it sounds crazy, but believe me when I say she was unlike any other. She talked to me without saying a word. She went everywhere with me. She protected me. She comforted me when I was sick. She comforted me when I cried. There wasn't a time without the love of that beautiful black and white tuxedo wearing 21 pound dog!

jeff lexi honda

She moved with us from Richmond to Hampton Roads. She lived with us in a 950 square foot apartment (which she hated). This is where I totally broke the rules and let her nap on the sofa with me. Well, Jeff too!

rachel lexi napping

jeff lexi napping

Then, we bought a condo in the area. She was there for that first home...

family photo condo

lexi condo living room

lexi window condo

She loved to be sidekick while grilling too...

jeff lexi grill condo

And, when Jeff proposed she was right there too (in the car hearing the proposal right as I did)...

marry me banner

If I could've had her in our wedding I would've. Mom said no!

She loved popsicles (I can't believe I'm posting this pic of myself)...

rachel lexi popsicle

She loved family and going to the farm to see her Grandpa. She knew church was on Sunday and that meant love, farm, and family time.

family photo farm

family photo farm 2

Yes, she is getting washed after a day of being dirty at the farm...

lexi flooring

Lexi was special. She was more than just a dog. She was our fur-child. She was my feet warmer, my cuddler, my constant companion. I couldn't wait to come home to get love from my girl. She was the greeter.

Christmas 2011_0380

She was also the grandchild. She loved her Grandpa. They visited with one another everyday. Without fail Grandpa and Lexi would have marshmallows and take walks. They had a special bond too. My Daddy loved that little dog so much.

In life there are lots of ups and downs. Lots of good and little bad if we're lucky. Sometimes it seems as though the bad times are really really bad. But, you can't stop living because God threw you a curveball. You can't allow the bad times to overwhelm you and make you not want to try to move forward and experience more good. There are lessons in everything. Everything has a purpose. I prayed that God would show me He really was there. And...He did that very day I asked. He continues to show me signs that He loves us and that Lexi is okay with Him in His kingdom. I always wanted to have the faith that some people have, and thanks to Lexi I do.

Labor Day 2011_0049

Lexi got us almost to our 8 year mark as a couple. 5 years married. She taught us everything we needed to know about being married. She taught me how to love unconditionally, to fight fair, to be devoted, to be selfless, to be kind, to be patient, to be gentle, and to be a better person. She had all the qualities most humans dream of having. You know that saying about wanting to be the person my dog thinks I am? Well, I want to be the person my dog was.

Labor Day 2011_0039

And, did I mention how smart she was? Boston Terriers can learn over 200 words and phrases, more than other breeds. We sat down the other day and made a list of all her words! Here they are...


I am truly honored that God chose me to be Lexi's mom. I wasn't worthy of a dog like that. I didn't deserve her. Everyday I thank God for her and for the lessons I have had since her passing. As I watched the love of my life suffer in pain from this great loss, I knew one thing was for sure. My undying love for my husband made me want to take away all the pain he was having. I prayed to God to place all the pain on me and take it away from Jeff. I wanted nothing more than to bear all of his burdens at any cost. To see the one you love with all your heart suffer is the most painful tragic thing in the world. Lexi taught me this hard lesson. God had to take away a good gift in Lexi in order to give me even greater gifts. He gave me the gift of His love. In my heart I know that Lexi is okay. We are just missing our soulmate, our kindred spirit.

In time I know we will heal. Our threesome is no longer, but her memory will be cherished forever. We remember the funny times...the happy times. We are honored and truly humbled by being given the responsibility of being her parents. It was a true gift.

I must mention another blessing from this. The blessing to have found Dr. Jenny Lang. We connected with her. We found comfort in her. We trusted our child to her care. I told her she was a blessing. She was a gift. We were honored to have met her. We thanked her and told her how VERY much we appreciated her dedication to our "kid" (that's what she calls all of them). In the end when God answered my prayer he sent me Dr. Lang. She called. She called to tell me that there was nothing more medically that could have been done for Lexi. She said it was out of her control. At that very moment I knew that it was God's will. It was His plan. Not ours.


Jim Rosen said...

Thanks for sharing. I am sorry for your loss and I appreciate you taking the time to share.

A Woman With A Distinct Purpose said...

Rachel & Jeff, I am sorry for your loss. As I sit here at my desk (you know where) tears spring to my eyes from the beautiful words that you have pinned so well. Even though you may not have intentionally done this, but thank you for the encouraging words about family and life. God Bless you two...You guys are special people!

Peace & Blessings...Alicia