Last Christmas

December 31st, 2013

Life can change in a moment. This was dramatically demonstrated to our family this Christmas.

We woke to a christmas morning full of anticipation and expectation for the wonderful family day ahead. My eldest son, Dan, was first up to start the prep for the fantastic meal he had planned. The christmas jumpers (which I was slightly worried about) went down well and Santa had also done well.

We had breakfast of croissants and buck fizz. As my parents were due at around 1pm my husband Steve and I took our beloved dog Jaffa for a walk around “pig house field”. Not my choice of route, but Jaffa did enjoy it and have a bit of a run around.

Back home I was playing around with my camera and taking silly pictures of us all in our new christmas jumpers and Jaffa in his Christmas hat.

I was upstairs when my parents arrived and heard my mum come in with their dog Sammy. The next thing I heard was my son Alex shouting that Jaffa had been hit by a car. I of course realised immediately that something was wrong but had no idea how bad. I rushed down stairs and outside where Jaffa was lying on the roadside beside the driver of the car and my Dad. Jaffa was not quite gone but there was nothing anyone could do and he slipped away very quickly.

It was all bit unreal from then on; Christmas day was not the family celebration we had  hoped for and we were all really just going through the motions. We carried Jaffa through the house all in a state of shock and disbelief.  His best friend Sammy seemed as confused and as upset as everyone else.

Dinner was well on the way to being ready and canapés nearly done. Dan who was. in charge of all the food preparations asked if he should turn everything off, to which I said no. I am not sure why but at the time it seemed as though the best thing to do was to try and carry on as best we could.

With my husband (who was distraught), we picked the best spot in the garden and proceeded to bury Jaffa next to the plum tree, planted in memory of my father-in-law. It was all done very quickly but is definitely the perfect plot.

The pain of the loss is still very real and raw. The house seems so quiet and empty without Jaffa and the absence of needing to feed him, let him out and take him for walks has left a big gap. So too is the absence of him getting under your feet in the kitchen, getting into the rubbish in the garage at every opportunity and making his way upstairs to jump on the bed first thing in the morning once he was let out from his sleeping place in the conservatory. I still expect him to welcome us when we come into the house; he was so much a part of our family and to lose him in this way when he was only 3 and a half is very difficult to come to terms with.

Whilst it seems difficult at the moment, life of course goes on and I am trying to draw some positives and lessons from our rather dramatic Christmas day.

  • Live life to the full and cherish the time with those you love. Enjoy every moment with those that you love and make the most of it; you never know what is around the corner.
  • As hard as it might be at the moment, we cannot regret anything and it does no good to keep thinking “if only”. We can’t change what happened, it was simply a horrible coincidence of things all happening at the same time and it was no ones fault.
  • Remember the good times and be thankful for what you have got. I am trying to think of all the good times we had with Jaffa and the pleasure he gave to everyone around him; he will live on in our memories.
  • As horrible as it has been, this experience has been shared by us as a family. We have been there for each other and sharing the loss and pain has helped and brought us closer together.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of the support from your friends. The support and kindness from our friends has been fantastic and of great help.

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