A lot has changed on the farm in the past nine months. It has been really hard on all of us, but it has been especially difficult for mom. The secondary losses have each been so painful as the realty of his death becomes a little more real with each additional loss. All of the cattle are now sold, including the one that was late to come off the range and ran wild, in moms hay field, with her calf all winter. We were blessed to find a man that paid a great price for the cattle and calves last fall. As generous as the buyer was, it was still painful to watch them go.
The farm equimpment is mostly liquidated now. I helped mom list it on KSL this spring. We had offers from the local farm machinery stores so we had an idea of how much to ask, but it was impossible for us to give any details about the miles, the year, the special way to put it together, etc. On the adds I put something like "dad died last fall. As far as we know it ran when he died. We don't know any details." Even with that kind of explanation things have still sold. The day dad's tractor was taken moms heart broke once again. The man who purchased the bailer had heard what a wonderful person my dad was. He was also told about my moms license plate which has always read "C IVAGO." He had a bumper sticker made for the bailer which also read "C IVAGO."
Selling the horses was so painful for my mom and sisters. It simbolized so much more than the sale of a family "pet." It is the end of a way of life. The end of what might have been. My mom has always had horses. She has cried buckets over loosing that part of her life. Even selling the farm equipment, for which there was little personal attachement, simbolized the loss of what I thought my kids would know. Who is going to teach Caleb how to work!! Dad left the barn full of hay which has proven to be a nice savings account. Good hay is worth a small fortune these days. Connie has worked hard this winter and spring listing and selling it load by load.
Now that most things have been sold mom can start thinking about "the rest of her life." She has always said that the farm was dad's thing and that she was only there because he wouldn't go anywhere else. Now we will see what she decides to do. Living on 115 acres in the mountains is more than a place to live - it is a way of life. A way of life that is really difficult and lonely for a single woman. We'd all like her to stay because of our emotional attachment to the location, but we also know that it would be in her best interest to sell. We will see what this summer brings.
Dad's head stone was put in a few weeks ago. It is beautiful. I love that it is bench style.
We stopped by on mothers day. It is nice to pay tribute, but here isn't there. We do love him and miss him!
One source of therapy for me over the past few months has been working on the book pictured below, a tribute to my dad. Cathie's Sister-In-Law, Kristen, suggested we gather quotes and stories at dads funeral. She was so inspired and provided an incredible service to us. She is the saint that put the book together. (While her husband was deployed and her fourth child was a new born.) Cathie and I did spend many hours working on the book as well. I organized and edited all of the text. It was so rewarding for me to read the tributes and stories over and over and to think about how to organize them just right. Cathie labeled pictures and provided additional editing on the text. It was a labor of love for us and we hope that we can preserve some of the great and quirky personality traits of my dad.
Life is an interesting journey. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have that God has a plan and that families are forever. I know that my dads spirit is still living and I find great comfort in knowing that he is a guardian angel for us when we need him. There have been times when I've thought, "its okay. My dad is on the other side and if I need help he will be there." Once this winter I was driving in a terrible snow storm with the entire family in the car. I felt comfort in knowing that if the car spun out of control my dad would take the wheel and that we would be okay. I really do believe that he is in a great place and he can see and be with us. It is fine for him - it is just crappy for us.
Another thing that has changed a lot in the past 9 months is this big guy. He is almost a year and still not crawling. I guess it is genetic. The "backwards crawl"gets him in some tight spots, but he is always adorable and practically perfect in every way!
He doesn't even mind when he is all twisted up in his toy basket. Life is good for John Kirk.