When Sister Clayton left on her mission, there were two goodbyes that were the hardest, one of them was to the family dog, a Bouvier des Flandres named Tanda. Our sweet puppy was 13 and had been struggling with arthritis, deafness and general old age for some time. While we were thankful that Tanda survived through the 2010 holidays, and to the day our daughter reported to her mission, we all knew she would not be with us when our missionary returned. But "that day" came sooner than anyone anticipated.
And so, on 15 March - The Ides of March - Sister Clayton received the email that began:
Grab the kleenex, hug the companion.
Tanda Louise Clayton 2 August 1997 - 15 March 2011
There is no way to break that news gently. Let me give you the bare bones and you can tell me how much you want added in.
I don't want to add much more to this particular email. I want to write you
another one in the morning about happier things. But I like a quote from Joe
Garagiola (a baseball catcher who was also an announcer) "I guess you don't
really own a dog, you rent them, and you have to be thankful that you had a long lease."
Put on Jericho, it helps. "He sees every single tear...feels everything you're
feeling...wants to hold you close....no matter what the pain, He cares."
Love you so much
From Sister Clayton:
17 March 2011
Hey. Just wrote C___ about it. Sobbed the whole way. But I'll be alright. We both know that. Just wish the hard moments weren't so hard. Could use a bear to hug just about now. :)
Sister W___ just came over to "borrow" some Advil. Yep. That helped. She's so easy to hug. And now I'm at a Saint Paddy's Day party in the Brit's room. And we're listening to the Prince of Egypt soundtrack. I'm happy. And no one has asked about the puffy red eyes. I'm good. (Sister T___'s the English one, btw. She's from O____. Yep. I'm gonna visit her.)
So I promised you a miracle report. Best one: we were on our way to talk with a guy in a wheelchair and a young-ish man came up to us. He asked if he could stop us for a second....and then handed us a referral! I nearly fainted. We usually have to squeeze the life out of members to get a potential. It was so amazing. And he was really nice. So many miracles every day. Wish I could write them all. One of the greatest is the friendships between the sisters. I love these women.
Party is breaking up. Time to plan, journal and get some sleep. Really early mission meeting tomorrow. Love you. Don't worry too much about me. I'm better than my sisters at home will be (about Tanda).
Going onward, ever onward,