I think the only way for me to ever be able to put this behind me is to put it all out there. Purge my thoughts and lay them to rest in this very post. All the things I’ve said aloud, and things I haven’t yet been able to. So here it goes. This is the story of how on September 11, 2015, our Dream Home became one of nightmares.
It was a Friday, which is a “weekend” for us. Dave doesn’t work and both kids are home for the entire day (no daycare). These are our productive days. We do errands, groceries, laundry, cleaning, cooking, yard work, etc. We do our best to do as much as possible to get us through another week and that Friday was no different. Although we had seen a heavy amount of rain which had been throwing a major wrench in our “yard work” plans. We were forced inside for a few days as 50+ mm of rain fell.
It was bath night for the kids at the dream home, not to mention bedtime snacks and a bottle for the baby. Things were slowly quieting down for the night and we were all looking forward to good night sleeps before another early Saturday morning was upon us.
Dave put Maddie out for her evening pee, while he folded the last of the laundry. I had a sleeping baby in the living room. I snuck his sister to her room and tucked her in for bed. She asked me to stay and cuddle her but there was too much to be done. I assured her I would come back after. As I exited her room and headed back to our living room Dave was out on the front porch calling for Maddie to come in.
It was so dark and rainy. We could only see about 5 feet from the porch. And living in the country we have no street lights to rely on. We hated not being able to see our own yard. We decided to do something about it and had purchased Solar LED motion sensor lights from Costco. That way, every time the dogs were in the yard, the light would come on and flood the area for them. But with the rain, we had yet to have it installed.
Dave began entering the house, telling me she wasn’t coming when he called. So I stepped out onto the porch as he entered. I called out to her and as I did I noticed a car coming down our street. The car began to slow down, almost as if they were planning on turning into our driveway. But they didn’t turn in, as they approached our house they put there four way lights on. And I immediately thought “Maddie must be up in the road”. I called inside for Dave, telling him a car was slowing and I thought Maddie might be playing in the road. He came to the door right away, and out he went.
I watched him from the porch and it was only when he reached the end of our driveway that I knew something was wrong. He started to run, and yelled for help. It wasn’t what he said, but how he said it. I grabbed my keys and boots and knew that something must have happened. In my mind I thought she must have been hurt. I knew I needed to get her to a doctor, to help her. I jumped in the SUV and drove to the end of the driveway. As I got out of the car I saw Dave walking into the driveway from the road. She was draped over his shoulder and as he laid her in the driveway he just kept repeated “she’s gone”.
Her fur was soaked from the rain. I didn’t believe what Dave was telling me. He was wrong, he had to be. I got to my knees and with a light I examined her myself. Her eyes were open, but there was nothing in them, no life at all. I flashed the light into her eyes and nothing changed. I placed my hand on her chest, and there was no movement. Next, I listened for a heartbeat… there was no sound. All her limbs, bones, flesh, was intact. No blood, or wounds of any kind that we could find. My last bit of hope was her mouth. Maybe I would be able to feel her breath, or hear it. When I opened her mouth I saw blood. And there was no breath at all. Her tongue pooled out the side and I knew she was really gone.
We held her, cried and screamed into the darkness. I know that was pointless as I think of it now, but in the rain, with her in our arms, it seemed like doing so might make a difference. I eventually got up, opened the trunk of the SUV and grabbed her blanket. (We kept it in there as she always laid on it while we were driving). Dave picked her up off the cold, wet, gravel and placed her in her blanket in the trunk. We drove the SUV back to the house where we entered to check on the kids.
Kennedy had gotten out of bed, most likely when she heard me leave in a hurry. Thankfully, she didn’t come outside, or even attempt to watch the scene that unfolded in the driveway. She immediately knew something was wrong. She asked where Maddie was, and as I scooped her into my arms and told her that Maddie had died she cried. The three of us took Kennedy back into her bed where we laid with her, answered her questions, and comforted her until she fell asleep.
Then Dave went outside and got into the SUV. He drove it all the way through our back yard to the bottom of our property. He then got out, and started digging. It was never really discussed, but it didn’t have to be. This was her home, and we were her family and that is where we would want her to rest. She was buried in that blanket, near the ditch filled with water by the field. She swam in that water all the time, and explored our yard and that very field with her neighborhood boyfriend (German shepherd named Jude) almost daily.
There are a few things you need to know. The car that slowed down and put their four ways on did not hit Maddie. They saw her on the shoulder of the road and slowed down. They stayed and waited until Dave was out there with her before leaving. Next, she didn’t suffer, her death was instant. And lastly, I do not blame the driver. We live on a country road, with no streetlights, the speed limit is 80km/h and Maddie was mostly black in color. Factor in the rain, and that Maddie was in the street, and you have an incredibly devastating accident. We are riddled with regret and weighed down with guilt. But we can’t go back, there are no re-do’s in life. We are trying our best to achieve closure, not only for us, but for our kids too. And we are ready to begin moving forward.